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Massachusetts Institute of Technology v. Research, Development and Technical Employees Union

Case Summary: 12-cv-11315-WGY

This is a case in which a university is asking the Court for guidance on whether its decision to exclude an employee from access to its nuclear reactor lab is subject to arbitration under its collective bargaining agreement with a labor union.

MIT is a private research university and has entered into a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with RDTEU, a labor organization which represents certain MIT employees. MIT operates a Nuclear Reactor Laboratory (the “Lab”) that includes a six megawatt nuclear reactor on campus (the “restricted area”). Following the terrorist attacks of September 11th, the U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued an order to entities operating nuclear research and test reactors (RTRs), including MIT, imposing certain personal information checks on employees to ensure the acceptability of individuals for unescorted access to RTRs.

An employee of MIT was assigned to perform duties at the Lab and given authorization for unescorted access to the Restricted Area. After MIT determined that the employee had removed mail without permission from the mailbox of a colleague at the Lab, her authorization for unescorted access to the Restricted Area was revoked although she continues to work at MIT in her same position.

MIT admits that certain issues relating to this employee action are arbitrable under the CBA. It is asking the Court to declare, however, that the decision to rescind the employee’s authorization for unescorted access is not an arbitrable issue. The video is of a hearing on a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings filed by MIT in which the Court decided to “stay its hand and remand the matter to the Arbitrator.”

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