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CHICAGO TYPOGRAPHICAL UNION NO. 16 v. CHICAGO SUN-

September 10, 1990

CHICAGO TYPOGRAPHICAL UNION NO. 16, Plaintiff,
v.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, INC., Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ASPEN

 MARVIN E. ASPEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

 The Chicago Typographical Union No. 16 ("Union") filed this action against the Chicago Sun-Times, Inc. ("Sun-Times") to compel arbitration of certain aspects of the Sun-Times' "final offer" for a new collective bargaining agreement. Both parties now move for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the Union's motion is denied, and the Sun-Times' motion is granted.

 FACTUAL BACKGROUND

 The Union and the Sun-Times are currently bound by the provisions of an existing collective bargaining agreement (the "Main Agreement"). Although originally scheduled to expire on January 14, 1989, the parties agreed in early January 1989 to extend the terms of the Main Agreement indefinitely, subject to cancellation by either side upon forty-eight hours notice. No such cancellation notice has thus far been given.

 Any "disagreement" relating to the "interpretation or enforcement of the terms of th[e Main] Agreement" is remedied by utilizing the steps set forth in the "Code of Procedures" section of the Main Agreement. Main Agreement §§ 23-29, at 27-29 (Union's complaint, appendix A). *fn1"

 The parties are also bound by the terms of a Supplemental Agreement, executed in 1975. The terms of the Supplemental Agreement are incorporated into the Main Agreement; indeed, those terms are to be incorporated into all future collective bargaining agreements as well. Main Agreement at 89.

 The Main Agreement represents the first (and as yet only) collective bargaining agreement negotiated and finalized by the Union and the Sun-Times. Formerly, the Union dealt with the Chicago Newspaper Publishers' Association (CNPA), which represented both the Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune ("Tribune"), the larger of Chicago's two major newspapers. Separate negotiations began in 1985, one result of a Union strike that year against the Tribune.

 The Main Agreement contains what is commonly referred to as a "most favored nations" clause. *fn2" Essentially, this provision enables the Sun-Times to reap the benefits of whatever concessions its larger competitor, the Tribune, can get from the Union during the course of its own separate negotiations.

 The present litigation arises, at least in part, out of the Sun-Times' reaction to one such Union-Tribune negotiation. The Union and the Tribune entered into a collective bargaining agreement on January 3, 1989, nearly three years after the Union went back to work at the Tribune following its strike. The Sun-Times reviewed that agreement and an accompanying modified agreement for consent decree and identified several significant concessions it believed had been won by the Tribune. At the newspaper's request, Union representatives met informally with Sun-Times officials to determine what course of action the Sun-Times might take in light of those perceived concessions.

 Unable to reach a consensus with Union representatives, the Sun-Times went ahead and, pursuant to the most favored nations clause, implemented certain changes regarding wages, hours, and working conditions on July 9, 1989. These changes included limiting the Union's work jurisdiction to manual paste make-up work, instituting a management rights clause which encompassed the right to transfer employees, and eliminating the right of an employee to hire a substitute without the supervisor's prior consent.

 On January 10, 1990, the Union filed suit to reverse Arbitrator Witney's decision with respect to the work jurisdiction and substitute hiring issues, and to request clarification of the employee transfer finding. That litigation is currently pending before United States District Judge Ann C. Williams.

 Meanwhile, the parties continued to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement to replace the Main Agreement. After a year of negotiations, the Sun-Times made a "final offer" for a new agreement. This final offer, tendered January 26, 1990, incorporated the provisions of the Supplemental Agreement, proposals concerning wages and health/welfare benefits, and the package of rights ...


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