The opinion of the court was delivered by: MEANEY
Plaintiff, L. O. Koven & Brother, Inc. (hereinafter sometimes referred to as Koven) brings this action against Local Union No. 5767, United Steelworkers of America, AFL-CIO (hereinafter sometimes referred to as the Union), to enjoin defendant from prosecuting or otherwise presenting or submitting to arbitration a claim for vacation pay benefits allegedly due to certain members of the defendant Union. The Union counterclaims, alleging that plaintiff violated a collective bargaining agreement subsisting between the parties in refusing to arbitrate the Union's claim, and demanding judgment that it is entitled to have its claim, "Grievance No. 3-64," submitted to arbitration.
The court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law on the basis of the pleadings, exhibits, briefs and an agreed statement of facts, no hearing having been held.
1. Plaintiff is the successor by merger to Koven Fabricators, Inc. (As used herein, "Plaintiff" and "Koven" shall apply both to plaintiff and its said predecessor by merger.)
2. At all times material herein plaintiff was and is a corporation of the State of New Jersey having its principal office and place of business in Dover, New Jersey, and was and is engaged in commerce within the meaning of Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947 (29 U.S.C. § 185).
3. At all times material herein defendant was and is an unincorporated association having its principal office and place of business in Dover, New Jersey, and was and is a labor organization within the meaning of Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947 (29 U.S.C. § 185).
5. Article XVI of said collective bargaining agreement provided for the fixing of vacation periods for the members of the collective bargaining unit, or the equivalent in pay, and further provided that "In order to be eligible for a vacation, the employee must have worked one thousand (1000) hours or more during the period from June 1 to June 1 of the preceding year . . . ."
6. The collective bargaining agreement also provided for a grievance procedure for the handling of disputes between the parties as to the meaning of any of the provisions of the agreement, the final step in such grievance procedure being the submission of the dispute to arbitration.
7. On September 4, 1963 plaintiff filed a Petition for Arrangement under Chapter XI of the Bankruptcy Act, 11 U.S.C. § 701, et seq., in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. The petition was apparently an original petition filed pursuant to Section 322 of the Bankruptcy Act, 11 U.S.C. § 722, since there is no indication of a pending bankruptcy proceeding at the time the petition was filed. See 11 U.S.C. § 721.
8. On or about January 8, 1964 defendant filed eight claims against plaintiff in the said bankruptcy proceedings. These claims were numbered 453 to 460 by the Referee in Bankruptcy. Copies of said claims were annexed to the Agreed Statement of Facts as exhibits in this case.
9. On January 10, 1964 an Order of Confirmation, a copy of which was annexed to the complaint, was entered in said bankruptcy proceedings by the Referee in Bankruptcy, confirming a Plan of Arrangement filed by plaintiff, a copy of which was also annexed to the complaint.
10. On May 18, 1964 defendant, in consideration of the payment to it of $7,000.00, executed and delivered to plaintiff a General Release which refers to a Stipulation and Order dated April 30, 1964. Both the General Release and the Stipulation and Order are exhibits in this case.
11. On or before June 15, 1964 defendant submitted to plaintiff a "Grievance Report" designated as "Grievance No. 3-64" (a copy of which was annexed to the complaint and is an exhibit), wherein defendant demanded the payment of vacation benefits for certain of plaintiff's employees.
12. On or about July 29, 1964 plaintiff, pursuant to defendant's request, met with defendant to discuss said Grievance No. 3-64 and stated to defendant that any and all claims for vacation benefits are barred and discharged by virtue of the aforesaid Order of Confirmation and General Release.
13. On July 30, 1964 defendant requested the American Arbitration Association to submit an arbitration panel in its dispute with plaintiff with respect to Grievance No. 3-64. Thereafter the American Arbitration Association designated Dr. Thomas A. Knowlton as arbitrator in the matter.
14. There is set forth in the Agreed Statement of Facts a list of the employees who worked 1,000 hours or more for plaintiff between June 1, 1963 and the date on which their active employment with plaintiff ceased. The list indicates the last day on which each of the employees worked for plaintiff, the number of hours worked by each between June 1, 1963 and January 10, 1964, and the number of hours worked by each between January 11, 1964 and the last day of employment with plaintiff. None of the employees had ...