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Jennings v. M & M Transportation Co.

Decided: January 27, 1969.

JAMES JENNINGS, HERMAN VERTORANO AND JAMES LONERGAN, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF ALL EMPLOYEES OF M & M TRANSPORTATION COMPANY SIMILARLY SITUATED, AS A CLASS, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
M & M TRANSPORTATION COMPANY, A CORPORATION AUTHORIZED TO DO BUSINESS IN NEW JERSEY, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, CHAUFFEURS, WAREHOUSEMEN AND HELPERS OF AMERICA, AN UNINCORPORATED LABOR ORGANIZATION, AND TRUCK DRIVERS AND CHAUFFEURS UNION LOCAL NO. 478, AFFILIATED WITH THE I.B. OF T., C., W., & H. OF A., AN UNINCORPORATED LABOR ORGANIZATION, DEFENDANTS



Mintz, J.s.c.

Mintz

[104 NJSuper Page 268] Plaintiffs are employees of defendant M & M Transportation Company (hereinafter M & M) and also members of defendant Truck Drivers and Chauffeurs Union Local No. 478 (hereinafter Local 478). They have instituted this action to specifically enforce section 1(c)(1) of their collective bargaining agreement as interpreted by an arbitrator's award. In effect, they seek confirmation of the

arbitration award. They bring this action pursuant to section 301 of the Labor-Management Relations Act, 1947. 29 U.S.C.A. ยง 185.

Initially, plaintiffs contended that Local 478 had violated its duty of fair representation owed them, thereby entitling them to maintain this action under the doctrine of Vaca v. Sipes, 386 U.S. 171, 87 S. Ct. 903, 17 L. Ed. 2 d 842 (1967). Since Local 478 has adopted the position of plaintiffs and cross-claims for the same relief, the issue as to whether it did in fact violate its duty of fair representation, thus giving plaintiffs standing to sue, is rendered moot.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America (hereinafter International), comprising several hundred affiliated subordinate bodies, is governed by the provisions of the International constitution. Local 478 of Newark, New Jersey, and Local 773 of Allentown, Pennsylvania are local unions affiliated with and controlled by the International constitution. Local 478 and Local 773 have separate work contracts with defendant employer M & M, a motor carrier which maintains terminals at Newark, New Jersey, and Allentown, Pennsylvania, and which is engaged in the transportation of property in interstate commerce.

Local 773 and M & M are parties to the 1964-1967 and 1967-1970 National Master Freight Agreement and to the Central Pennsylvania Over-The-Road Motor Freight Supplemental Agreement which cover a multi-union, multi-employer bargaining unit. When M & M opened its Allentown Terminal in 1962, members of Local 773 were assigned deliveries and/or pickups for M & M in New Jersey west of Route 206. Local 773 had been performing such work in New Jersey for other employers for over 25 years.

Local 478 and M & M were parties to a 1964-1967 collective bargaining agreement which, in part, sets out those areas in which Local 478 would perform company work. In 1967 Local 478 allegedly learned for the first time that

Local 773 had been making deliveries and/or pickups in New Jersey west of Route 206. Thereupon Local 478 filed a grievance with M & M which was processed to arbitration under section 16 of the Local 478-M & M contract. Local 478 and its employer, M & M, were the only parties who appeared before the arbitrator, Daniel House. The precise issue presented was:

"Is the Employer violating the Agreement by making deliveries and/or pickups in certain New Jersey points through Employer's Allentown terminal? If so, what shall be the remedy?"

The arbitration award, rendered July 7, 1967, held that M & M was in violation of its 1964-1967 collective bargaining agreement with Local 478 by permitting its Allentown Terminal employees to make deliveries and/or pickups in New Jersey in the area in which Local 478, by contract, was entitled to the work. Significantly, the arbitrator made the following further conclusion in his opinion and award:

" Dispute Between Local 478 and Local 773?

It is possible that the events involved in this case or events following the Arbitrator's Award in this case could lead to a jurisdictional dispute; but no such dispute is before the Arbitrator here. The only dispute before the Arbitrator in this case is the alleged contract violation spelled out in the submission agreement recited at the beginning of this Opinion. The Arbitrator has the authority and the obligation under the terms of the current Agreement between the parties to decide that dispute."

Following the rendition of the award Local 773, pursuant to article XII, section 12 of the International constitution, properly filed a jurisdictional dispute claim with the general executive board of International, asserting that past practice dictated that Local 773 was entitled to the work assignment in dispute. Article XII, section 12 of the International constitution expressly provides that where two or more local unions are in ...


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