NCA Develops Jurisdictional Disputes Policy
The National Construction Alliance (NCA) – comprised of the Carpenters, Laborers, and Operating Engineers unions – has developed a policy for handling jurisdictional disputes.
The policy states that the NCA “is committed to working with owners and contractors to establish a more modern system reflecting the current reality within the construction industry for the resolution of jurisdictional disputes” and “will work to facilitate the informal resolution of jurisdictional issues where owners or contractors so desire.”
In cases where an owner seeks a formal jurisdictional disputes resolution procedure, the NCA has established a specific, three-step Jurisdictional Disputes Resolution Procedure. The procedure is intended “for use on a project-by-project or agreement basis.” In the first step, the affected union business representatives and contractor representative will meet. If the dispute is not resolved locally within seven days, the parties have five days to refer it to the internationals. If still unresolved after seven more days, then the parties have five days to request the NCA executive director to set up arbitration.
The Jurisdictional Disputes Resolution Procedure includes a set of rules for the arbitration process. Hearings will be conducted in the local area of the dispute. Each party will have only half an hour to present its case, followed later by a 15-minute rebuttal period. Legal counsel may not participate. A mediation conference will be held at the conclusion of the presentations. If unsuccessful, then the arbitrator will issue a final and binding decision within three working days via e-mail. NCA has selected Tom Pagan to be the permanent arbitrator.
While dispute resolution is pending, the contractor’s assignment will continue in effect, and strikes and work stoppages are prohibited. Violations of this prohibition may result in fines up to $50,000 per shift.
In determining how to resolve a dispute, agreements between the unions, including both international and local agreements, will be given top priority. Where there is no such agreement or the agreement is insufficient to resolve the dispute, then consideration will be given to both contractor preference and local area practice. The relative weight given to each “will vary depending on the circumstances,” such as “the inherent weight of reasons advanced by a contractor justifying its preference versus the quality and uniformity of the local area practice.” Given that the NCA general presidents have formally abrogated many of their jurisdictional agreements in recent years, it is likely that contractor preference and local practice will be considered in most cases.
The jurisdictional disputes resolution process incorporated in the NCA's Heavy & Highway Agreement will still apply to projects performed under that project agreement.
To visit the NCA’s home page, click here.
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