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Court May Enforce Arbitrator Decision Prior to NLRB Ruling
Description Appeals court upheld the decision of a district court to enforce the ruling of an arbitrator who decided that an issue he held was covered by terms of a collective bargaining agreement. The fact that the employer also appealed to the NLRB does not mean that the courts will not enforce the decision of the arbitrator.
Topic Labor Law
Key Words Arbitration; Enforcement
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Pilgrim's Pride employees are covered by a collective bargaining agreement which states that employees who sign a form authorizing their union dues to be deducted from their paychecks will have that service performed by the employer. When some employees departed, and were later rehired, Pilgrim's would not deduct their dues, contending that since there had been a break in employment, the earlier authorization no longer applied. The union complained to the NLRB and also compelled arbitration on the issue. The NLRB had not ruled, but the arbitrator ruled that Pilgrim's had to deduct the dues and the district court ordered enforcement of that order. Employer appealed.
Decision Affirmed. The courts could rule on this matter, despite the fact that the NLRB had not yet ruled on the appeal made to that agency. It is possible that the NLRB could rule the opposite of the arbitrator's decision, but that does not mean the effect of the decision is to be stayed until the NLRB rules, because the arbitrator has authority over this issue. The fact that the particular issue in this case is not one settled by "well-defined and dominant public policy" does not mean the arbitrator cannot rule on the matter and that the courts cannot enforce the arbitrator's decision.
Citation United Food and Commercial Workers Union AFL-CIO v. Pilgrim's Pride Corp., 193 F.3d 328 (5th Cir., 1999)

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