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June 7, 2001


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Ruben Castillo, United States District Court


Plaintiff International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union No. 134, ("IBEW"), brings this action pursuant to Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185, against Chicago and Northeast Illinois District Council of Carpenters, ("Carpenters"), and Pepper Construction Company, ("Pepper"), seeking to enforce a decision of the Joint Conference Board, ("the JCB"), compelling Pepper to assign certain work to employees represented by IBEW. Carpenters and Pepper assert that the JCB has no jurisdiction over this case and, thus, its decision in this matter should be vacated. All three parties have filed motions for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, we grant Pepper's and Carpenters' motions for summary judgment, (R. 20-1 and R. 25-1), and deny IBEW's motion for summary judgment, (R. 23-1).


IBEW is a labor organization affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, AFL-CIO. Carpenters is a labor organization affiliated with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, AFL-CIO. Both IBEW and Carpenters were affiliated with the Chicago and Cook County Building and Construction Trades Council, ("Chicago Building Trades Council"), at the time this lawsuit was filed. (R. 34, Carpenters' Resp. to Pl.'s 56.1 Statement of Facts ¶ 15.) Pepper is a general contractor engaged in the building and construction business and is a member of Builders' Association of Greater Chicago, ("BAGC"), as well as Gypsum Drywall Contractors of Northern Illinois, ("GDCNI"). Through its membership in BAGC, Pepper is bound to a collective bargaining agreement with Carpenters. Their collective bargaining agreement originally adopted the Standard Agreement, which was entered into between the Construction Employers' Association and the Chicago Building Trades Council on June 1, 1999 and requires that all jurisdictional disputes be arbitrated by the JCB and that the decisions of the JCB will be binding upon the parties. As of January 1, 1999, Pepper's collective bargaining agreement with Carpenters expressly deleted the use of the JCB as a means of resolving jurisdictional disputes. Pepper is not bound to any collective bargaining agreement with IBEW.

Pepper was the contractor on the job at issue in this case, located at the IKEA Home Center in Schaumburg, Illinois. Part of that job involved the installation of the TEGO (Channel) System, which Pepper assigned to its employees who were represented by Carpenters Local 839, a local affiliate of Carpenters. IBEW claimed to have jurisdiction over the installation of the TEGO (Channel) System, and, in October 2000, IBEW requested a hearing before the JCB concerning this jurisdictional dispute. The JCB advised Pepper and Carpenters of a hearing on November 3, 2000 to consider the dispute. When the JCB asked Pepper and Carpenters whether they were stipulated to the Standard Agreement and the jurisdictional dispute proceedings of the JCB, both responded that they were not. Following the hearing, which neither Pepper nor Carpenters attended, the JCB determined that the work in question was within the jurisdiction of IBEW and should be assigned to employees represented by IBEW. Because the work was not reassigned, on January 4, 2001, IBEW filed a verified complaint with the JCB seeking a non-compliance determination based on the failure of Pepper and Carpenters to comply with the November 3, 2000 decision of the JCB. The JCB issued a notice of non-compliance hearing for January 22, 2001, but, again, neither Pepper nor Carpenters appeared at the hearing. On January 23, 2001, the JCB issued a decision finding Carpenters to be in non-compliance with the JCB's earlier decision.

On November 22, 2000, IBEW filed a complaint in this Court, seeking to enforce the JCB's November 3, 2000 decision. On February 28, 2001, following the non-compliance hearing, IBEW filed an amended complaint. Currently pending before this Court are Pepper's and Carpenters' motions for summary judgment and IBEW's motion for summary judgment. For the reasons that follow, Pepper's and Carpenters' motions are granted and IBEW's motion is denied.


I. Standard of Review

Summary judgment is appropriate "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). A genuine issue for trial exists only when "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The Court must view the evidence in a light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences in the non-movant's favor. Crim v. Bd. of Educ. of Cairo Sch. Dist. No. 1, 147 F.3d 535, 540 (7th Cir. 1998). However, if the evidence is merely colorable, is not significantly probative, or merely raises "some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts," summary judgment may be granted. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 261. When both parties seek summary judgment, the court will "look to the burden of proof that each party would bear on an issue of trial; [the court] then require[s] that party to go beyond the pleadings and affirmatively to establish a genuine issue of material fact." Santaella v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 123 F.3d 456, 461 (7th Cir. 1997) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986)).

II. Defendants' Duty to Submit Jurisdictional Dispute to the JCB

The threshold issue in this case is whether Defendants were required to submit this particular dispute to arbitration before the JCB. Case law makes clear that "arbitration is a matter of contract and a party cannot be required to submit to arbitration any dispute which he has not agreed so to submit." AT&T Tech., Inc. v. Communications Workers, 475 U.S. 643, 648 (1986) (citations omitted); Local Union 1393 Int'l Bhd of Elec. Workers v. Utils. Dist. of W. Ind. Rural Elec. Membership Coop., 167 F.3d 1181, 1183 (7th Cir. 1999). In Sheet Metal Workers Int'l Assn. v. Bridge, Structural & Ornamental Ironworkers, 495 F. Supp. 326 (C.D.Ill. 1980), the court determined that the employer-defendant was not a party to a plan for the settlement of jurisdictional disputes. The Sheet Metal Workers Court explained that

[a]n employer is bound to the plan only when any one of three circumstances exists, namely: (1) that it had executed a written stipulation to be bound by the plan, or (2) that it is a member of an employer association which had authority to bind its members to the plan and which exercised that authority by a written stipulation to so bind its members, or (3) that it is a signatory to a collective bargaining agreement which contains a provision that jurisdictional disputes be settled by invoking the plan procedures.

Id. at 328. Thus, we must consider the various contracts and agreements binding on the parties to determine whether or not they had a duty ...

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