incident thereto, to compensate such person for any loss of wages or benefits suffered by reason of such employer's unlawful action. * * * '
Jurisdiction of a claim properly filed under Section 308(e) for a claim properly allowable under Section 308(c) is thus conferred upon this court. Merely because the claim is only for vacation compensation and is not joined by a claim to be restored to a position does not effect such jurisdiction. Feore v. North Shore Bus Co., 2 Cir., 1947, 161 F.2d 552.
Section 308(c) requires that plaintiffs be considered as having been on furlough or leave of absence during their military service. 'Plainly he still had his 'position' when he was inducted and in the same sense he retains it though a lay-off interrupts the continuity of work in the statutory period.' Fishgold v. Sullivan Drydock & Repair Corp., 328 U.S. 275, at page 288, 66 S. Ct. 1105, 1112, 90 L. Ed. 1230, 167 A.L.R. 110.
Plaintiffs are entitled under Section 308(c) to any 'benefits offered by the employer pursuant to established rules and practices relating to employees on furlough or leave of absence in effect with the employer at the time such person was inducted * * * .' The claim is for vacation compensation for the year 1945-46. Plaintiff McArdle was inducted August 11, 1942; plaintiff Cavanaugh November 27, 1943; plaintiff Woods June 1945. The rules and practices in effect at the time of their respective inductions made no provision whatever for any vacation compensation for any employee for the year 1945-46. That period was not provided for until the agreement of June 7, 1946, a date subsequent to the discharge and reemployment of all three plaintiffs.
Words are to be given their natural, ordinary and familiar meaning unless Congress has definitely indicated the words should be construed otherwise. The plain, obvious and rational meaning of a statute is always to be preferred to any curious, narrow or strained construction. Western & Southern Life Ins. Co., v. Huwe, 6 Cir., 116 F.2d 1008.
The separate provisions of the Act are to be construed as part of an organic whole giving each as liberal a construction for the benefit of the veteran as a harmonious interplay of the separate provisions permits. Fishgold v. Sullivan Drydock & Repair Corp., supra at page 285 of 328 U.S., at page 1111 of 66 S. Ct., 90 L. Ed. 1230, 167 A.L.R. 110.
However, liberality of construction should not be carried to the point where it does violence to the act itself. Parliman v. Delaware, L. & W.R. Co., 3 Cir., 163 F.2d 726.
Even if we were to apply an extremely liberal interpretation as to the applicability of the agreement of June 7, 1946, and were to hold that such agreement would be adopted by reference by the terms of Section 308(c), which interpretation we do not feel even a 'liberal interpretation' warrants, an additional obstacle to plaintiffs' claim is the fact that none of the agreements, even that of June 7, 1946, included any provision for vacation pay for employees on furlough or leave of absence. The only exception made is in the case of employees absent from work because of injuries sustained on the employer's premises. In all other cases vacation compensation 'shall be predicated on an employee having worked' and where he has worked less than the full year it shall be pro rated 'based on the number of pay periods actually worked for his employer * * * .' Obviously an employee on furlough or leave of absence cannot be said to have 'actually worked' during his absence.
There is language used in some of the cases to the effect that 'his service in the armed services is counted as service in the plant so that he does not lose ground by reason of his absence'. Fishgold v. Sullivan Drydock & Repair Corp., supra at page 285 of 328 U.S., at page 1111 of 66 S. Ct., 90 L. Ed., 1230, 167 A.L.R. 110. The court was there however speaking only as to seniority rights. In the same opinion, it was said 'a lay-off interrupts the continuity of work in the statutory period'. Fishgold v. Sullivan Drydock & Repair Corp., supra at page 288 of 328 U.S., at page 1111 of 66 S. Ct., 90 L. Ed. 1230, 167 A.L.R. 110. As to the applicability of the language 'his service in the armed services is counted as service in the plant * * * .' and the fact that it applies only to seniority, see Fishgold v. Sullivan Drydock & Repair Corp., supra at pages 285, 289, of 328 U.S., at pages 1113 of 66 S. Ct., 90 L. Ed. 1230, 167 A.L.R. 110, where the legislative history
of the words 'shall be considered during the period of service in such forces as on furlough or leave of absence' and the words 'insurance or other benefits' is discussed by Mr. Justice Douglas.
The question of vacation pay has been decided in accord with our holding herein in several cases. Dwyer v. Crosby Co., D.C., W.D.N.Y., 1947, 69 F.Supp. 384, 387 ('However sympathetic one may be with those who served * * * he cannot read into the statute something which it does not say and which gives no basis for the claim that it means something not expressed in it.'); MacLaughlin v. Union Switch & Signal Co., D.C., W.D. Pa., 1947, 70 F.Supp. 744, 747 ('carried to its logical conclusion, the plaintiffs' contention should go to the extent of claiming full pay from defendants while they were in the Army * * * '); see same case D.C., 72 F.Supp. 284; see by analogy Huffman v. Norfolk & Western R.R. Co., D.C., W.D. Va., 1947, 71 F.Supp. 564, at page 567 (right to step rate pay); Harvey v. Braniff International Airways Inc., D.C., N.D. Tex., 1947 70 F.Supp. 106 (right to base pay); Cf. McLaughlin v. Retherford, 1944, 207 Ark. 1094, 184 S.W.2d 461 (right to pension); Mentzel v. Irving & Diamond t/a Elizabeth Iron Works, D.C.N.J., decided July 1, 1947.
We have therefore as a matter of law come to the conclusion that plaintiffs have no claim under Section 308(c) properly triable in this court. Whatever right, if any, they may have under the agreement of June 7, 1946, is one of contract subject to arbitration as provided in the working agreement. We do not therefore feel that we are required to pass upon the request for a stay of proceedings in this court in conformity with Section 3 of the Arbitration Act, or upon the request for specific performance in conformity with Section 4 of the Arbitration Act.
The problem of the proper interpretation of the agreement entered into while the plaintiffs were actually employed after their release from the service and the proportion, if any, they are to receive of vacation compensation for the year in question we leave to the arbitration tribunal or other appropriate forum.
An order dismissing these proceedings will be filed as of this date.