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UNITED RUBBER v. LEE RUBBER & TIRE CORP.

June 16, 1967

United Rubber, Cork, Linoleum And Plastic Workers Of America, AFL-CIO, Local 102 et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Lee Rubber & Tire Corporation, Defendant


Shaw, D.J.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SHAW

This action was brought by plaintiffs to compel defendant to submit certain grievances to arbitration. *fn1" Jurisdiction is alleged pursuant to § 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185 and 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1337. *fn2" The matter is now before the Court on cross motions for summary judgment. It is submitted on stipulation of fact, briefs, proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law and the pleadings. The pertinent facts may be summarized as follows:

 United Rubber, Cork, Linoleum and Plastic Workers of America, AFL-CIO Local 102 (Local 102) was a party to a collective bargaining agreement with defendant dated July 3, 1961 and expiring on June 30, 1963. *fn3" By virtue of the agreement Local 102 was the collective bargaining agent for employees of defendant at its plant in Youngstown, Ohio. The collective bargaining agreement included a provision for arbitration of grievances which, in pertinent part, reads as follows:

 
(1) In the event that disputes or grievances, except those involving general or departmental wage increases or decrease, have not been adjusted to the satisfaction of the parties as outlined elsewhere herein, then such unsettled grievances or disputes may be submitted to a board of arbitration in the following manner.
 
(2) The party so desiring arbitration shall, within 30 days of the date of the Company's final reply made under the grievance procedure, frame the question to be arbitrated, referring specifically to the provision to be interpreted, or the provision which has been allegedly misapplied wherever applicable, notify the other party in writing, and within five days the Union shall designate its representative and the Company shall designate its representative. These two shall mutually select the third member of the Board. In the event that the third member cannot be mutually agreed upon within ten days after filing of notice to arbitrate, then the two arbitrators shall jointly request the AMERICAN ARBITRATION ASSOCIATION, 9 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, N.Y., to appoint the Chairman of the Board of Arbitration.
 
* * *
 
(4) A majority decision of the Board shall be rendered within 10 days of the submission of all evidence and shall be final and binding upon both parties.

 United Rubber, Cork, Linoleum and Plastic Workers of America, AFL-CIO Local 227 (Local 227), was a party to a collective bargaining agreement with defendant made on June 30, 1961 and expiring June 30, 1963. (As with the Local 102 agreement, the provisions for annual renewal notice are not pertinent to any issue here.) By virtue of the agreement, Local 227 was the collective bargaining agent for employees of defendant at its Conshohocken plant in Pennsylvania. This agreement also provided for arbitration of disputes, the pertinent language of which is quoted as follows:

 
In the event a complaint, grievance or dispute filed by either of the parties to this agreement remains unsettled * * *, either party may within two (2) weeks thereafter notify the other party in writing of its desire to submit the matter to a Board of Arbitration in the following manner:
 
Within five (5) working days from the receipt of such notice the parties will meet and have an understanding of the question or questions to be submitted for arbitration and each party shall, at such meeting, submit to the other party the name of its arbitrator. The two arbitrators so chosen shall within three (3) days jointly request the American Arbitration Association, Philadelphia, Pa., to appoint the Chairman of the Board of Arbitration. The Arbitration Board so selected shall fix a hearing date, meet and consider the complaint, and, if possible, render a decision within two (2) weeks after completing hearing, which decision shall be final and binding on all parties. The Arbitration Board may interpret this agreement and apply it to the particular case presented to it, but shall, however, have no authority to add to, or subtract from or modify the terms of this agreement.

 On September 28, 1961 defendant and Local 102 entered into an agreement entitled "Employee Welfare Benefit Programs - Republic Rubber Division" effective during the period from July 1, 1961 to June 30, 1966. This agreement contained a provision that "In the event any dispute shall arise, as to whether the Employer has provided the insurance benefits hereinabove described, such dispute shall be subject to the grievance procedure of the General Agreement between the parties hereto, including arbitration."

 Local 227 entered into an agreement with defendant entitled "Agreement for Pension, Service Award and Insurance Benefits" for the period from July 1, 1961 to June 30, 1966. It also contained a provision for arbitration which reads as follows: "In the event any dispute shall arise based on the question whether the Company has provided the insurance benefits hereinabove described, such dispute shall be subject to the grievance procedure of the Working Agreement then in effect, including arbitration; omitting, however, all steps preceding presentation of the grievance to the Personnel Department of the Company."

 After the collective bargaining agreements above mentioned expired on June 30, 1963, there was a strike at each of defendant's plants. During the time of the strike a dispute arose between defendant and plaintiffs as to defendant's obligations under the welfare agreements above mentioned. *fn4"

 Defendant sent a letter to Local 102 on August 29, 1963 stating that as of September 30, 1963 it would discontinue payment of premiums to assure continued coverage for sickness and accident benefits and supplemental workmen's compensation benefits for which provision was made by Articles III, IV, and V of the Welfare Benefit Agreement.

 On September 10, 1963 Local 102 presented the following grievance to the Personnel Department of defendant:

 
The Union protests the action of the Company in refusing to provide the Accident and Sickness Benefits and the Supplemental Workmen's Compensation Benefits for its Employees as provided in Part V of the Employees Welfare Benefit Agreement dated September 28, 1961. The Union also protests the announced intention of the Company to terminate on September 30, 1963, the Life Insurance and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance and the Hospital, Surgical and Medical Benefits for its Employees and their Dependents, as this coverage is provided in Parts III and IV respectively of the agreement. The Union requests the Company to provide the benefits for its Employees and their Dependents for the duration of this Employee Welfare Benefit Agreement.

 It seems, according to the stipulation filed, that after a collective bargaining negotiation session between defendant and Local 227 held on July 30, 1963, defendant made known to Local 227 its views with respect to its obligations under the agreement for pension and insurance benefits and that as a consequence of what ...


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