The opinion of the court was delivered by: LACEY
Plaintiff sues under Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act (29 U.S.C. § 185), charging his former employer with wrongful discharge and his union with breach of its duty of fair representation.
Trial was had herein on September 28 and 30, 1971.
The following constitutes, in opinion form, my Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, pursuant to F.R. Civ. P. 52(a).
Plaintiff entered the defendants' employ in 1961. At all material times he was a member of and represented by, Local 1189 U.A.W. (Union), exclusive bargaining representative for employees at the companies' plant.
In December, 1967, his company imposed upon the plaintiff, first, a disciplinary 5-day suspension, and then discharged him for what it termed good cause. The Union instituted at once the grievance procedures prescribed in the collective bargaining agreement (Ex. P-1 -- Article IV).
The grievance was denied on April 3, 1968.
The decisions and awards of the Arbitrator shall be final and binding.
The arbitration hearing occurred on January 15, 1969. The Board denied plaintiff's grievance in a decision returned on March 12, 1969.
The pre-trial order sets out plaintiff's claims: Against the Union -- that it "breached its duty of fair representation by not properly representing him during the grievance procedure and by proceeding to arbitration in a matter which raised factual questions as to plaintiff's conduct and the conduct of others without giving him the opportunity to be present." Against the company -- that it "breached its duty to him by discharging him arbitrarily, capriciously, discriminatorily and without proper cause." Obviously, if the arbitration decision stands, there is no basis for a claim against either defendant.
In the Steelworkers' Trilogy, the Supreme Court made it clear that, under our national labor policy, settlement of labor disputes by arbitration is favored. United Steelworkers of America v. American Mfg. Co., 363 U.S. 564, 80 S. Ct. 1343, 4 L. Ed. 2d 1403 (1960); United Steelworkers of America v. Warrior & Gulf Navigation Co., 363 U.S. 574, 80 S. Ct. 1347, 4 L. Ed. 2d 1409 (1960); United Steelworkers of America v. Enterprise Wheel & Car Corp., 363 U.S. 593, 80 S. Ct. 1358, 4 L. Ed. 2d 1424 (1960). See also, Amal. Ass'n. of Street, Elec. Ry., etc. v. Lockridge, 403 U.S. 274, 91 S. Ct. 1909, 29 L. Ed. 2d 473 (1971), dissenting opinion of Mr. Justice White (with whom Mr. Chief Justice Burger joined); Independent Oil Workers v. Mobil Oil Corp., 441 F.2d 651, 652 (3 Cir. 1971); Mason-Dixon Lines, Inc. v. Local Union No. 560, I.B.T., 443 F.2d 807, 809 (3 Cir. 1971); Local 616, I.U.E.R. & M. Workers v. Byrd Plastics, Inc., 428 F.2d 23, 25 (3 Cir. 1970); Northwest Airlines, Inc. v. Air Line Pilots Ass'n., 442 F.2d 251, 254 (8 Cir. 1971).
Consistent with this judicially expressed enthusiasm for arbitral resolution of labor disputes is Section 203(d) of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 173(d):
Final adjustment by a method agreed upon by the parties is declared to be the desirable method for settlement of grievance disputes arising over the application or interpretation of an existing collective-bargaining agreement. . . .
Beyond this national decisional and statutory general policy, the parties here pursued the grievance and arbitration procedures under a collective bargaining agreement which, as has been ...