Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Lee Quigley Co., Inc. v. Metal Polishers Union

May 29, 2007

THE LEE QUIGLEY COMPANY, INC. PLAINTIFF,
v.
METAL POLISHERS UNION, LOCAL 8A-28A, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge George M. Marovich

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff the Lee Quigley Company, Inc. ("Quigley") filed this action to vacate an arbitration award in an arbitration between Quigley and Metal Polishers, Production and Novelty Workers Union, Local 8A-28A, AFL-CIO, ("Local 8A" or the "Union"). The Union filed a counterclaim for confirmation of the arbitration award. Quigley has filed a motion for summary judgment on its claim, and the Union has filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings on both parties' claims. For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies Quigley's motion for summary judgment and grants the Union's motion for judgment on the pleadings.

I. Background

Before the Court is both a motion for summary judgment and a motion for judgment on the pleadings. Unless otherwise noted, the following facts are undisputed and come from the pleadings.*fn1 The pleadings include the complaint, answer and documents attached to the pleadings. Fed.R.Civ.Pro. 7(a) and 10(c).

In 2004, Quigley and the Union signed off on a collective bargaining agreement (the "CBA") that covered the time period of January 1, 2004 through January 31, 2007. Among other things, the collective bargaining agreement provided:

ARTICLE I

RECOGNITION OF UNION

D. The parties will negotiate a Construction Agreement. Until such time the Company agrees to comply with any applicable prevailing wage laws on such sites. The Union will also make every effort to file the maintenance rate with the state and/or county.

ARTICLE XXXIII GRIEVANCES, DISPUTES, ARBITRATION

C. Step 3--Mediation and Arbitration: Any and all disputes which may give rise between the Company and the Union as to the meaning, application, performance or operation of this Agreement, or disputed discharges which the parties are unable to adjust through the grievance procedure set forth above shall be submitted for arbitration to the Chicago area office of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) pursuant to the rules and regulations in force at the time of such arbitration, and the decision of the arbitrator within the scope of his jurisdiction under the Agreement shall be final and conclusive upon the parties hereto. If the dispute is not referred to arbitration within thirty (30) days following the Company's response to step two of the grievance or within 60 calendar days from the date of the incident, or from the date of finding out about such incident, the grievance shall not be arbitral. (CBA at 1, 22).

In June 2005, Quigley entered a subcontract with Berglund Construction to work on the Dirksen and Kluczynski Federal Buildings. Some of the employees Quigley assigned to work on the project were covered by the CBA. Soon enough, the Union and Quigley disputed the appropriate rate of pay for Union members working on the project. Quigley paid the employees the Federal prevailing wage rate of $19.97 per hour, while the Union thought the members should be paid the Cook County prevailing wage rate of $32.10 per hour. The Union filed a grievance on behalf of its members, and the parties took the dispute to arbitration before Arbitrator Steven Bierig ("Bierig" or the "Arbitrator").

The Arbitrator issued an award requiring Quigley to pay the employees the Cook County prevailing wage rate. The Arbitrator cited Article I of the CBA, which stated, "The parties will negotiate a Construction Agreement. Until such time the Company agrees to comply with any applicable prevailing wage laws of such sites." (Arbitration Award at 14). The Arbitrator noted that, "[i]t is undisputed that the parties have not negotiated a Construction Agreement. Therefore the 'applicable prevailing wage laws on such sites' applies." (Arbitration Award at 15). The Arbitrator further explained:

The Collective Bargaining Agreement is ambiguous in that it does not specifically define which prevailing wage is to be used under circumstances such as those of the instant case. The Collective Bargaining Agreement indicates that the Company shall pay 'applicable prevailing wage laws on such sites". However, that language does not specify the prevailing rate that expressly applies in any particular case. Therefore, because the language of the Collective Bargaining Agreement is ambiguous, I am allowed to look outside its four corners to determine its meaning. I note that the two most common tools relied upon to interpret collective bargaining agreements are bargaining history and past practice. In the instant case, no significant bargaining history was presented. Regarding past practice, a limited amount of testimony was presented regarding one minor short-lived prior project at O'Hare International Airport. Such evidence is not sufficiently significant to rise to the level of a bona fide practice that is binding on the parties. See Celanese Corp. of America, 24 LA 168, 172 (Justin, 1954).

Due to the lack of bargaining history and past practice, I must rely on alternative tools for interpretation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement in this case. I have reviewed the language of the Service Contract Act and find that the Service Contract Act specifically excludes from its purview, "construction, alteration or repair of public buildings or public works, including painting and decoration." Because the nature of the Project in the instant case is construction, the wage rates set forth in the Service Contract Act cannot apply to the instant case. (Arbitration Award at 15-16). Finally, the Arbitrator concluded that because "the Federal Prevailing Wage as set forth in the Service Contract Act does not apply to the instant case, I find that the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.