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H.K. Porter Co. v. United Saw

decided: January 10, 1969.

H.K. PORTER COMPANY, INC.
v.
UNITED SAW, FILE AND STEEL PRODUCTS WORKERS OF AMERICA, FEDERAL LABOR UNION NO. 22254, AFL-CIO



Ganey, Freedman and Seitz, Circuit Judges.

Author: Freedman

FREEDMAN, Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal by a labor union from the district court's vacation of portions of an arbitrator's award on the ground that they were beyond his authority.

The controversy has had a long history and was before us at an earlier stage.

In 1955 H. K. Porter Company, Inc., acquired the plant of Henry Disston & Sons, Inc., in Philadelphia, which it continued to operate as a Division until sometime in 1959 when it announced its intention to move a large part of its operations to Danville, Virginia. The union, which had a collective bargaining agreement with the company, filed grievance claims relating to pension rights and severance pay on behalf of the employees whose positions were terminated by the closing of the plant. These grievances were not settled and the union demanded arbitration which the company rejected on the ground that the dispute was not within the arbitration provisions of the collective bargaining agreement.*fn1 In an action by the union under § 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act (29 U.S.C. § 185), the district court held the issues arbitrable (United Saw, File and Steel Products Workers of America v. H. K. Porter Co., 190 F. Supp. 407 (E.D. Pa. 1960)) and ordered the company to submit to arbitration "subject to the provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the grievances with respect to pensions and severance pay insofar as such grievances arise under the provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement . . . ."*fn2

Following this order the parties chose W. Roy Buckwalter as the impartial arbitrator. On August 17, 1962, Buckwalter issued an award rejecting the union's claim for severance pay and ruling in favor of the company on some pension items and in favor of the union on others. The district court ordered enforcement of the award after the company attacked it and the union counterclaimed for its enforcement. H. K. Porter Co., Inc. v. United Saw, File and Steel Products Workers, 217 F. Supp. 161 (E.D. Pa. 1963).

On appeal we held that the arbitrator was not limited exclusively to the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement but was entitled to consider also the pension practices which the parties had followed under the pension plan and that this justified paragraph 1 of Buckwalter's award which held:

"1. Each employee who, at the time he was terminated, had completed twenty-five years or more of service, but had not yet reached age sixty-five, shall be paid a full pension.

"The formula for payment to be worked out by H. K. Porter Company and the Union.

"Each terminated employee shall receive a $1,000 non-contributory life insurance policy . . . ."

We also held, however, that neither the language of the agreement nor the practice of the parties justified paragraph 2 of the award which held:

"2. Each employee, who at the time he was terminated had reached age sixty-five, but had not completed twenty-five years of service shall be paid a pro rata pension based on an equitable formula to be worked out" by the parties and shall also receive a $1,000 non-contributory life insurance policy.*fn3

We therefore affirmed the judgment of the district court sustaining paragraph 1 of Buckwalter's award and reversed its judgment as to paragraph 2 of Buckwalter's award, and remanded with instructions to enter judgment in favor of the company on paragraph 2. H. K. Porter Co., Inc. v. United Saw, File and Steel Products Workers, 333 F.2d 596 (3 Cir. 1964).

On remand the parties submitted a form of judgment which they had jointly drafted and which the court approved and entered on December 7, 1964. It enforced paragraph 1 and vacated and declared void and unenforceable paragraph 2 of the ...


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