The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES WARE, District Judge
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT
AND DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO STRIKE PLAINTIFF'S JURY DEMAND
Plaintiff Granite Rock Company ("Plaintiff") brings this action
against Defendant International Brotherhood of Teamsters,
Freight, Construction, General Drivers, Warehousemen and Helpers,
Local No. 287 ("Defendant") pursuant to Section 301(a) of the
Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185(a), for disputes
arising out of alleged contract violations. Plaintiff alleges
that there was a ratified collective bargaining agreement between
the parties, and that Defendant violated the agreement by
engaging in an unlawful strike.
Defendant now moves for partial summary judgment. The purpose
of the motion "is to enable the Court to determine in advance of
trial whether, as Defendant contends, particular issues raised by
the pleadings in this case should be reserved for arbitration
pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement, and not heard at trial by the Court." Motion, p. 1 Specifically,
Defendant contends that "trial of this case must be limited to
the single question of whether the collective bargaining
agreement that Plaintiff claims to have been violated was in
existence at the time the alleged violation occurred, and that
the potential issues as to whether Defendant violated the
agreement and the amount of damages, if any to be awarded, must
be referred to arbitration if the agreement is found by the Court
to have been in existence at the relevant time." Id. Defendant
also moves to strike Plaintiff's jury demand
A hearing on Defendant's motions was set for November 14, 2005.
However, this Court finds it appropriate to take the motions
under submission without oral argument pursuant to Civil Local
Rule 7-1(b). Based on the arguments advanced by counsel in their
briefs and on the pleadings, Defendant's motion for partial
summary judgment is GRANTED, and Defendant's motion to strike
Plaintiff's jury demand is DENIED.
Plaintiff Granite Rock is a California company engaged in the
business of supplying ready mixed concrete for commercial use.
Defendant Local 287 is a voluntary, unincorporated association,
commonly known as and doing business as a "labor organization"
within the meaning of 29 U.S.C. § 185. Defendant represents
certain Granite Rock employees at its San Jose facility, and is
the collective bargaining representative for employees engaged as
drivers at the San Jose facility.
From March 1, 1999 to April 30, 2004 Plaintiff and Defendant
were parties to a collective bargaining agreement. (Amended
Complaint, hereinafter "Am. Compl.," ¶ 6.) Preliminary
negotiations for a new agreement commenced in March 2004.
Negotiations continued throughout April and May without success.
In early June 2004, after the agreement's expiration, bargaining
unit employees at the San Jose facility went on strike. (Am.
Compl. ¶ 8.) Plaintiff alleges that after further negotiations,
the parties reached an agreement at 4:00 a.m. on Friday, July 2,
2004 on terms for a new collective bargaining agreement covering
the period from May 1, 2004 to April 30, 2008 ("New Agreement").
(Am. Compl. ¶ 8.) In addition, Plaintiff claims that George
Netto, Defendant's Business Representative, called to inform
Plaintiff that the New Agreement was ratified later that same day by a vote
of all the union employees. (Am. Compl. ¶ 10.)
Defendant denies that the New Agreement was ever ratified.
Instead, Defendant asserts that ratification was conditioned on
the parties first agreeing on a "Back to Work Agreement."
Plaintiff, on the other hand, alleges that the parties agreed to
discuss a "Back to Work Agreement" at a later date, and that any
such "Back to Work Agreement" would be subject to the grievance
procedure set forth in the New Agreement. The New Agreement
included a no-strike clause and a compulsory grievance and
arbitration procedure for the settlement of "any disputes"
arising under the agreement. (Am. Compl. ¶ 11.)
On July 5, 2004, Defendant allegedly violated the New Agreement
by calling union members and instructing them not to return to
work. (Am. Compl. ¶ 13.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant
informed Plaintiff that its members would not return to work
until Plaintiff executed a "Back to Work Agreement" guaranteeing
amnesty for its employees and for employees of Plaintiff's other
facilities in three counties covered under separate collective
bargaining agreements with different unions. (Am. Compl. ¶ 13.)
Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant violated the New Agreement
by not participating in the compulsory grievance and arbitration
provision set forth in the agreement and by engaging in an
unlawful strike. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 13-14.) The strike has now ended.
However, Plaintiff still seeks damages resulting from the alleged
violation of the New Agreement.
On July 9, 2004, Plaintiff filed the instant complaint against
Defendant for damages from the allegedly unlawful strike. Shortly
thereafter, Plaintiff amended the complaint to include injunctive
relief, and brought a motion for temporary restraining ("TRO")
to: (1) Enjoin and restrain Defendant from "[t]hreatening,
causing, directing, assisting or participating in any strike,
slowdown or other concerted refusal to perform work in violation
of the collective bargaining agreement between the parties, or in
any other manner interrupting the normal operations of Plaintiff
over any dispute, complaint or grievance with Plaintiff
concerning the discipline and/or amnesty on striking employees
which is resolvable under the grievance and arbitration
provisions of the Parties' collective bargaining agreement"; and
(2) to "withdraw any outstanding orders or directions to employees of Plaintiff
that said employees should engage in a cessation of work because
of any dispute over the application or interpretation of the
Collective Bargaining Agreement and to advise all employees and
prospective employees of Plaintiff represented by Defendant not
to engage in any of the acts described above." Plaintiff's
Application, p. 2.
The Court determined that Plaintiff's application for a
temporary restraining order could be consolidated with a trial on
the merits pursuant to Rule 65, Fed.R.Civ.P., and proceeded to
hear the case on its merits with respect to whether the
collective bargaining agreement had been ratified. Following the
receipt of testimony, the Court found that the New Agreement had
not been ratified; dismissed the complaint; and entered judgment.
Plaintiff next filed a motion for a new trial based upon newly
discovered evidence, which the Court granted. Thereafter,
Defendant moved for judgment on the pleadings under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(c), or, in the alternative, for a stay of
these proceedings pending arbitration of the dispute. The Court
denied Defendant's motion because of the underlying factual
dispute regarding the alleged ratification of the New Agreement.
See Order Denying Defendant's Motion for Judgment on the
Pleadings, Docket Item No. 57.
Defendant now moves for partial summary judgment under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 to resolve the scope of the
arbitration clause contained in the New Agreement. The
arbitration provision in the New Agreement states that "[a]ll
disputes arising under this agreement shall be resolved in
accordance with the [Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service
for Mediation if the Union and the Employer are unable to resolve
the dispute]." (Decl. of Duane B. Beeson, Ex. B at 18.) Defendant
contends that assuming that the Court finds ratification, the New
Agreement requires arbitration of the ...