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TRUMP PLAZA ASSOCS. v. HOTEL & RESTAURANT EMPLES.

September 25, 1987

Trump Plaza Associates, Plaintiff,
v.
Hotel And Restaurant Employees International Union, Local No. 54, AFL-CIO, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: RODRIGUEZ

 Plaintiff, Trump Plaza Associates, formerly known as Harrah's Associates and doing business as Harrah's Trump Plaza Casino Hotel ("Trump"), filed the complaint in this action on June 25, 1985, pursuant to Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. ยง 185 (1947), to set aside a March 28, 1986 arbitration award. Trump owns and operates a casino/hotel with its principal place of business in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Defendant Local 54 is a labor organization representing employees and acting for the employee members through its officers and agents.

 On June 27, 1986, defendant Local 54 filed an answer and a counterclaim seeking an order enforcing the arbitrator's award retroactively with interest, attorneys' fees, and costs. Plaintiff answered the counterclaim on July 8, 1986.

 After moving to extend time for discovery on the ground that discovery might be unnecessary if this action were dismissed, on November 24, 1986 defendant served plaintiff with a notice of motion to dismiss. Plaintiff moved on December 12, 1986 for a continuance of defendant's motion to dismiss. Nevertheless the Honorable Jerome B. Simandle, United States Magistrate, ruled on December 23, 1986 that defendant's pending motion to dismiss would be decided before defendant would be required to respond to interrogatories.

 I

 Trump began operations on May 15, 1984 and at the same time it opened "Le Grand Buffet", a buffet restaurant. Trump hired and paid the food servers in Le Grand Buffet as "tipped" food servers. On May 28, 1984 Trump signed a collective bargaining agreement with Local 54. The purpose of the agreement was to establish standards of wages, hours and other conditions of employment, and "to ensure the peaceful, speedy and orderly adjustments of differences that may arise from time to time between Employer and its employees. . . ." (See Agreement at 1).

 While each Atlantic City casino hotel signs its own contract with the Union, they bargain collectively with the Union as the Casino Hotels of Atlantic City. In the 1983 industry-wide negotiations, the casino hotels and the Union agreed upon the establishment of three new classifications, one of which is the non-tipped food server classification at issue in this case.

 Article XIII of the industry-wide agreement contained the provision for new job classifications which became the subject of this grievance proceeding:

 
"The following new classifications and their respective wage rates were established, effective September 15, 1983. The Employer may utilize these new classifications at their option:
 
(a) Nontipped food servers will be paid at the same rate as the nontipped busperson classification. The nontipped food server, when required to work a package plan, will participate in the guaranteed gratuity, if any ($ 6.50 as of 9/15/83).
 
(b) Intermediate cook; rate for this classification will be $ 1.00 below the cook's rate ($ 7.91 as of 9/15/83).
 
(c) Relief cook sauciere; rate of pay for this classification shall be $ 1.00 per hour above the relief cook rate ($ 11.26 as of 9/15/83)."

 In respect to the food server classification, the tipped rate is $ 3.875 as contrasted to $ 7.00 for the non-tipped food server September 15, 1984 rate.

 The agreement provided that any grievance which might arise would be resolved by arbitration and that "the decision and award of the arbitrator shall be final and binding on ...


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