Court May Issue Injunction in Labor Dispute When Non-Arbitration Contract Issue at Stake
Description Appeals court upheld an injunction issued by a district court against the plans of a company to restructure their operations without proper notice to the union as required by the collective bargaining agreement. Since that part of the agreement was not subject to arbitration, it could be subject to court action.
Topic Labor Law
Key Words Injunction; Arbitration
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Pratt & Whitney and a union were under a collective bargaining agreement (CBA). One clause in the agreement said that Pratt would give the union six months' notice of intent to close a plant or transfer operations. Enforcement of that clause was specifically not subject to arbitration, unlike the rest of the CBA. When the company announced a major restructuring of operations without six months' notice, the union sued in federal court, seeking an injunction against the company's plans as a violation of the CBA. Pratt objected that it had the right to restructure and that disputes were to be settled by arbitration. The trial judge held that Pratt violated a contractual obligation and issued an injunction against the changes in operations. Pratt appealed.
Decision Affirmed. The court had jurisdiction over this dispute because the CBA stated that the clause in question was not subject to arbitration, which made it a contractual obligation that could be enforced by suit. Further, the CBA required both parties to make "every effort" by both parties to live up to the terms of the CBA. Pratt failed to do that by its unilateral decision, in violation of the CBA, so the court had the right to issue the injunction that was requested.
Citation Aeronautical Industrial Dist. Lodge 91 of Incl. Assn. of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO v. United Technologies Corp., Pratt & Whitney, - F.3d - (2000 WL 1593415, 2nd Cir.)

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