Advocates for Labor and Progressive Institutions

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Third Circuit Rules in Favor of Union’s Jurisdictional Arguments

February, 2011

The Third Circuit recently held that a District Court had improperly exercised jurisdiction in a dispute over work assignments that must instead be resolved through arbitration. 

The National Postal Mail Handlers Union (“NPMHU”), with the assistance of Bredhoff & Kaiser attorneys, prevailed on appeal from the District of New Jersey’s entry of summary judgment on behalf of a local affiliated with a rival union.  The lower court had ordered the Postal Service to staff members of the rival union, rather than NPMHU members, on three newly upgraded processing machines located in the Trenton, New Jersey mail processing center.  The NPMHU argued that the matter was a jurisdictional dispute, which pursuant to an agreement between the two unions and the Postal Service must be resolved through a special arbitration proceeding.  As a consequence of the ruling, NPMHU members will now be staffed on the machines, unless and until an arbitrator orders otherwise.