Oral argument: Jan. 19, 2010
Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Oct. 22, 2008)
LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS ACT, LMRA, ARBITRATION, LABOR LAW, COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
Petitioner, Granite Rock, and respondent, Teamsters Local 287, negotiated a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) which included no-strike and arbitration clauses. A dispute arose regarding the validity of the agreement after Local 287 initiated a strike with the support of respondent, International Brotherhood of Teamsters (“IBT”). Granite Rock sued Local 287 and IBT under §301(a) of the Labor-Management Relations Act. The district court found that the agreement including the arbitration clause was valid and, therefore, referred Granite Rock and Local 287 to arbitration. The court, however, dismissed the claim against IBT, holding that §301(a) did not apply. The Ninth Circuit upheld IBT’s dismissal but held that the district court should have also deferred the question of whether a contract was formed to arbitration. The Supreme Court must now decide if a federal court has initial jurisdiction to determine the validity of a contract containing an arbitration clause and whether §301(a) allows plaintiffs to sue others not party to the contract.