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NEWARK WIRE CLOTH CO. v. USW

March 23, 1972

Newark Wire Cloth Company, Plaintiff,
v.
United Steelworkers of America, Defendant


Lacey, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: LACEY

LACEY, District Judge.

 Plaintiff Newark Wire Cloth Company (Company) sues to modify, by vacating a part thereof, a May 8, 1970, arbitration award in favor of the defendant United Steelworkers of America (Union), an award which the Union, by its counterclaim herein, seeks to confirm in its entirety. Suit was commenced in state court with removal thereafter by the Union. 28 U.S.C. § 1441. Jurisdiction lies under 29 U.S.C. § 185.

 It having been determined at pre-trial conference that there was between the parties no genuine issue as to a material fact, they thereafter filed cross motions for summary judgment. For the reasons hereinafter set forth, the plaintiff's motion is denied and the defendant's motion is granted.

 The following facts are not in dispute. The parties entered into a collective bargaining agreement (Agreement), dated December 16, 1969, to expire September 30, 1972. This Agreement (Article VII) contains a grievance procedure for the resolution of differences arising between the parties "as to the meaning, compliance with or application of the provisions of" the Agreement. Should the grievance go unresolved through the first three steps of the grievance procedure, the last step establishes binding arbitration. Limitations upon the arbitrator's authority are detailed in the same Article:

 
The Arbitrator shall be limited to Grievances arising under this Agreement and to ruling on the interpretation, application or compliance with the provisions of the Agreement. He shall have no power to add to, subtract from or modify any of the provisions of this Agreement, nor to rule on proposals, to amend, modify, extend or renew this Agreement. The award of the Arbitrator rendered under the provisions of this Agreement shall be final and binding upon the Company, the Union and any employee involved.

 On February 10, 1970, a Company employee filed a grievance alleging a Company violation of the Agreement. Duly processed through the first three steps, the grievance remained unresolved and arbitration ensued on the following stipulated submission, dated April 23, 1970:

 
Did the Company violate the existing agreement between the parties by the hiring of part-time employees and paying them four (4) hours pay? If so, should the Company discontinue the practice of hiring part-time employees and should they receive eight (8) hours pay.

 On May 8, 1970, the Arbitrator issued his decision:

 
The undersigned Arbitrator having duly heard the proofs and allegations of the parties, having read the Company brief, reviewed the contract language, and pondered the implications thereof, hereby make the following AWARD:
 
1. The Company in unilaterally establishing a four (4) hour shift violated the specific eight (8) hour shift agreement of the parties.
 
2. The Company should forthwith discontinue the practice of hiring and/or utilizing part time employees, unless and until they are able to work out a mutually acceptable agreement with the Union which would permit same.
 
3. Since this unilateral action by the Company was in derogation of the contract rights of all the employees, the Company shall forthwith calculate the value of the four hours straight time earnings and shall put the total sum into a fund to be used for a mutually agreed upon benefit for all employees of the bargaining unit.

 There is no issue as to paragraphs 1 and 2 of the award. It is as to paragraph 3 thereof, the remedy portion, that the parties are at odds. The Union urges its confirmation. The Company seeks to vacate it, on the tendered ground that the remedy thus granted was beyond the authority conferred upon the arbitrator by the submission agreement. ...


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