14 Penn Plaza v. Pyett: Into the Abyss between Judicial Process and Collectively Bargained Agreements to Arbitrate Individual Statutory Claims
24 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2010 Last revised: 25 Apr 2011
Date Written: March 25, 2010
On April 1st, 2009 a bitterly divided United States Supreme Court, by a vote of 5-4, turned the world of labor arbitration on its head. The Court’s opinion in 14 Penn Plaza v. Pyett overturned 35 years of jurisprudence, grounded in Alexander v. Gardner-Denver Co. dictum, by establishing that collectively bargained clauses expressly authorizing the arbitration of statutory claims are enforceable, either compelling arbitration or precluding the grant of an award in a judicial action. Grounding their decision, in part, on the prominent “Steelworkers Trilogy” case United Steelworkers v. Enterprise Wheel, the Court in Pyett narrowed the Gardner-Denver Court’s view on whether a union can waive a member’s right to seek judicial determination of a statutory right.
Keywords: 14 Penn Plaza v. Pyett, arbitration of statutory claims, collective bargaining agreements, union arbitration
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