International Union v. J & R Flooring

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Employment Law
  • Date Filed: 08-29-2011
  • Case #: 08-17089; 10-72727; 10-73383; 10-73561
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Schroeder for the Court; Circuit Judge Callahan and District Judge B. Lynn
  • Full Text Opinion

The district court has jurisdiction to compel arbitration pursuant to an arbitration clause, to decide whether a union has established majority representation through a card check procedure stipulated by the collective bargaining agreement.

Painters Union members entered into a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) with four Nevada contractors (collectively “the Employers”). Prior to the CBA’s expiration date in 2007, the Union contacted the Employers to discuss a new contract and expressed intent to perform a third-party card check to ascertain if a majority of the employees were Union represented. Bargaining attempts failed, and when the Union conducted its own card check, the Employers refuted its impartiality. The Union filed charges with the NLRB against the Employers, alleging unfair labor practices and petitioned the district court to compel arbitration between the parties pursuant to the CBA’s arbitration clause. The NLRB concluded that the Employers, save Flooring Solutions of Nevada, Inc. (“FSI”), had acted in good faith in refusing to accept the Union’s card check and the district court dismissed the petition to compel arbitration for lack of jurisdiction. FSI and the Union appealed NLRB’s decision, as well as the district court’s dismissal. The Ninth Circuit consolidated the appeals and confirmed NLRB’s decision that the Employers had acted in good faith because, although the CBA had not specified a card check procedure, it was a reasonable interpretation that the parties agree upon a method. The Court also agreed with the NLRB that FSI had acted in bad faith and held that it lacked jurisdiction to consider the bargaining order because FSI had not asked the Board to reconsider its remedy first. Additionally, the Court found that the district court did have jurisdiction to compel arbitration because courts have jurisdiction to rule on contractual disputes. The NLRB’s order is GRANTED, the Union’s and FSI’s petitions DENIED, and the district court’s order is REVERSED and REMANDED.

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