creating these rights. Quoting the System case, at page 515:
'* * * collective bargaining agreements do not create a permanent status, give an indefinite tenure, or extend rights created and arising under the contract, beyond its life, when it has been terminated in accordance with its provisions.'
Moreover, in Elder v. New York Central Railroad Co., 152 F.2d 361, 364 (6th Cir. 1945), Circuit Judge Martin evinced the opinion:
'The (seniority) right, however, is not inherent. It must stem either from a statute or a lawful administrative regulation made pursuant thereto, or from a contract between employer and employee, or from a collective bargaining agreement between employees and their employer.'
However, in Zdanok v. Glidden, 288 F.2d 99 (2d Cir. 1961), cert. granted (limited to question, 'Does participation by a Court of Claims judge vitiate the judgment of the Court of Appeals?') 368 U.S. 814, 82 S. Ct. 56, 7 L. Ed. 2d 22 (1961), the court held that seniority rights were vested rights which were not lost when the collective bargaining agreement expired. In the Glidden case, the defendant removed his plant to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, from Elmhurst, New York, after the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement. Five workers who lost their jobs by the removal sued for breach of contract. Suit was based upon provisions in the agreement, stating that employees with five years of continuous service upon layoff would be reemployed within three years if an appropriate position opened and that those with less than five years seniority were to be re-employed within two years. It was defendant's argument that seniority rights fail to survive the agreement that created them. In holding for the plaintiffs, the court found that the subject provisions were intended to extend guarantees beyond the termination of the collective bargaining agreement.
The facts of the instant case are distinguishable from Glidden. There, the employer and the collective bargaining representative had not entered into a separation agreement; in the case at bar there is a separation agreement negotiated over a period of several months wherein the union's and employer's rights pertaining to separation and employment are dealt with extensively.
REPRESENTATIVE CAPACITY OF U.A.W.
The Labor-Management Relations Act has established a statutory scheme in the collective bargaining field. 29 U.S.C.A. § 159(a) (1958) provides:
'Representatives designated or selected for the purposes of collective bargaining by the majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for such purposes, shall be the exclusive representatives of all the employees in such unit for the purposes of collective bargaining in respect to rates of pay, wages, hours of employment, or other conditions of employment.'
The policy of the Act is accurately set forth in Note, 71 Yale L.J. 569 (1962):
'This statute has deprived an employer of his traditional freedom to choose a contract partner. It has imposed upon him instead a legal obligation to bargain with a particular union solely because of the status the union has attained through election. Position, not choice, brings the parties together. And if an employer refuses to negotiate with the union representing his employees, his refusal constitutes an unfair labor practice under section 8 of the National Labor Relations Act.'
When the U.A.W., the authorized bargaining representative for the Mack employees, entered into the Shop, Separation, Pension and Transfer Agreement with Mack on October 31, 1961, the union was bargaining in accordance with the collective bargaining scheme of our federal labor relations laws. In so doing, the statutory obligation of the certified union to represent all members of the appropriate unit requires the union to make an honest effort to serve the interests of all those members without hostility to any. Ford Motor Co. v. Huffman, 345 U.S. 330, 337, 73 S. Ct. 681, 97 L. Ed. 1048 (1953). A collective bargaining representative has discretion to make such concessions and accept such advantages as in the light of all relevant considerations he believes will best serve interests of employees whom he represents, and he must weigh the relative advantages and disadvantages of differing proposals. Huffman, at 337-338, 73 S. Ct. at 685, further states that a wide range of reasonableness must be allowed a statutory bargaining representative in serving the unit it represents, subject always to complete good faith and honesty of purpose in the exercise of its discretion.
There is no allegation here of any violation of the union's duty of fair representation. Plaintiffs do not allege that there was any basic unfairness in the representation, or hostile discrimination or arbitrary action on the part of the union in negotiating the October 31, 1961, Shop, Separation, Pension and Transfer contract.
Thus, if the U.A.W. is the duly authorized bargaining representative of the Mack employees, the separation agreement is binding upon all employees, including plaintiffs. If binding, they must look to the agreement for determination of their rights.
The plaintiffs allege that they are employees of the defendant, and for some time past have been members of Local 343 of the United Automobile, Aircraft and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, AFL-CIO (subordinate unit of the International Union); said International Union having been certified by the National Labor Relations Board as the exclusive collective bargaining representative for the plaintiffs herein, employees at the Plainfield, New Jersey, plant.
The determination of whether a union is the exclusive collective bargaining representative is a matter not for this court but for the National Labor Relations Board. See Fur Workers Union, Local No. 72 v. Fur Workers Union, Local No. 21238, 70 App.D.C. 122, 105 F.2d 1, 12 (1939) where the court states:
'On the contrary it seems clear that by the National Labor Relations Act Congress intended to confer exclusive initial jurisdiction upon the Board to determine the appropriate and lawfully selected bargaining unit for employees, and intended to give to the Board alone appropriate machinery, to wit, elections machinery, for making such determination.'
Accord: La Crosse Telephone Corp. v. Wisconsin Emp. Rel. Bd., 336 U.S. 18, 69 S. Ct. 379, 93 L. Ed. 463 (1949).
The Board has not considered decertification of the U.A.W.; therefore, we reject the oral argument that the bargaining representative lost its capacity to act for plaintiffs on October 20, 1961, the termination date of the Master Bargaining Agreement.
The arbitration of labor disputes under collective bargaining agreement is part and parcel of the collective bargaining process. United Steelworkers of America v. Warrior & Gulf Nav. Co., 363 U.S. 574, 578, 80 S. Ct. 1347, 4 L. Ed. 2d 1409 (1960). Arbitrators are ordinarily men that possess the requisite training and ability needed to decide labor grievances justly. Id. at 581-582, 80 S. Ct. at 1352.
United Steelworkers of America v. American Mfg. Co., 363 U.S. 564, 566, 80 S. Ct. 1343, 4 L. Ed. 2d 1403 (1960) expresses the conviction that the Labor Management Act's stated policy -- final adjustment by methods agreed upon by the parties is the desirable method for settlement of grievance disputes -- can be effectuated only if means chosen by parties for settlement of their differences under collective bargaining are given full play. See 29 U.S.C.A. 173(d). As for the subject matter which may be covered by the arbitration agreement, the Supreme Court has ruled that where collective bargaining agreement calls for submission of all grievances to arbitration, no exception should be read into the grievance clause. Id. at 567, 80 S. Ct. at 1346.
International Telephone & Telegraph Corporation v. Local 400, Professional, Technical and Salaries Division, International Union of Electrical Workers, 286 F.2d 329, 330 and 331 (3d Cir. 1960) states:
'* * * the judicial function is narrowly circumscribed in cases such as this where the parties have agreed to submit to arbitration disputes arising under their collective bargaining agreement. That function is confined to ascertaining whether the party seeking arbitration is making a claim which on its face is one governed by the agreement. A court cannot pass on the merits of the claim. That is the arbitrator's function. Not only is the law clear, but its application to the controlling facts here is facilitated by the guidance contained in United Steelworkers of America v. Warrior & Gulf Nav. Co., 1960, 363 U.S. 574, 584-585, 80 S. Ct. 1347, 1354, (4 L. Ed. 2d 1409) where Justice Douglas said: 'In the absence of any express provision excluding a particular grievance from arbitration, we think only the most forceful evidence of a purpose to exclude the claim from arbitration can prevail, particularly where, as here, the exclusion clause is vague and the arbitration clause quite broad."
An examination of the separation agreement shows that 'the company and the union have concluded an agreement covering all of the terms relating to the separation, pension and transfer of the Plainfield employer within the collective bargaining unit.' Further, the section on 'Arbitration,' resolves that 'Any dispute regarding the application or interpretation of this Shop, Separation, Pension and Transfer Agreement which the Company and the Union are unable to resolve * * * shall be referred to and taken up by a committee. * * *' Again, the section entitled 'Acknowledgment' recites the agreement 'encompasses all the terms relating to the separation, pension and transfer. * * *'
If any disputes exist between Mack and the U.A.W., as representatives of all employees, over the interpretation and application of the separation agreement, these disputes may be submitted to arbitration as provided for by Section D of the Shop Separation, Pension and Transfer Agreement.
Plaintiff has put forth many arguments. We have discussed those meriting consideration, and it is this court's conclusion that:
(1) The plaintiffs are bound by the separation agreement of their U.A.W. union and the defendant Mack.
(2) The plaintiffs alleged 'vested rights' are governed by the October 31, 1961, separation agreement entered into between Mack and the U.A.W. Therefore, plaintiffs cannot seek damages from the employer for breach of their vested rights but must look to the broad remedies provided for in the separation agreement. Any other result would create the very chaos and confusion that the National Labor Relations Act and its subsequent amendments seek to avoid.
(3) Any attack on the conclusion that the U.A.W. is the exclusive collective bargaining agent of the Mack employees is not a matter for this court but the National Labor Relations Board.
(4) If there is any disagreement about the interpretation and application of the separation agreement, the plaintiff's union, the U.A.W., should submit the dispute to arbitration as provided for by Section D of the Shop Separation, Pension and Transfer Agreement.
Accordingly, this court is compelled to dismiss the plaintiffs' complaint and to grant judgment on the pleadings in conformity with Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 28 U.S.C.A. in favor of the defendant. This is done with the full understanding that plaintiff-employees and all members of the collective bargaining unit have certain specified rights set out in the separation agreement, and the means for enforcement of those rights provided therein.
This opinion shall constitute the findings of fact and conclusions of law required by F.R.C.P. 52(a) and amends the opinion given from the bench on March 19, 1962, at the conclusion of extensive oral argument.
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