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READING TUBE CORP. v. STEEL WORKERS FEDERATION ET AL. (07/14/53)

July 14, 1953

READING TUBE CORP.
v.
STEEL WORKERS FEDERATION ET AL.



COUNSEL

H. W. Stalberg, Shapiro, Rosenfeld & Stalberg, Philadelphia, and Moss, Rieser & Bingaman, Reading, for appellant.

Darlington Hoopes, Reading, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross, Gunther and Wright, JJ.

Author: Wright

[ 173 Pa. Super. Page 275]

WRIGHT, Judge.

This is an arbitration case. On December 21, 1950, the Reading Tube Corporation (hereinafter called the Company) posted a notice requiring all employees in

[ 173 Pa. Super. Page 276]

    the casting shop to wear safety shoes after February, 1, 1951. There was some opposition among the employees and, after negotiations, the effective date was postponed to March 1, 1951. On March 5, 1951, the Company posted a notice that, effective March 7, 1951, all casting shop employees who were not using safety shoes or who did not have them on order would be violating Company rules. A number of employees failed to comply with the notice. On the morning of March 7, 1951, the casting shop department foreman proceeded to issue violation slips to these employees. This action was immediately followed by a sit-down strike of casting shop employees, which lasted until a settlement regarding the violation slips was reached later the same day.

John Luckanish, the employee who was the subject of the present dispute, was Chairman of the Grievance Committee of the Reading Tube Local at the time. Prior to the strike he had informed the Company on various occasions that a number of the men were opposed to the safety shoe requirement. On March 7, 1951, when the foreman started to hand out the violation slips, Luckanish took the slips from him and tore them up. At the same time he told the foreman there would be a sit-down strike at the end of the shift that morning. Both before and after the strike deadline Luckanish informed certain Company officials and fellow union members that the sit-down strike would last until the violation slips were withdrawn. When the general foreman and plant superintendent came to the casting shop, Luckanish called the men over and asked them how they felt. He did not urge them to change their decision to strike, although he testified that he told them that they should not strike. Later, when the plant superintendent asked him to tell the employees to resume work, Luckanish refused. In accordance with

[ 173 Pa. Super. Page 277]

    the grievance procedure of the existing labor agreement, Luckanish referred the matter of the strike to his superior Union officer, and went home. There is no evidence that he participated in the strike. The arbitrator found as a fact that this was the first instance in which the Company had penalized Luckanish since his employment in February, 1948, and that his record as an employee had been good.

In the afternoon of March 7, 1951, a meeting was held between the Company and the Union as a result of which the Union agreed to order the men back to work. Immediately thereafter, the Company issued a letter to Luckanish suspending him for five days for taking the violation slips, tearing them up and sponsoring an illegal strike (although the Company offered to revoke its suspension if the Union would remove him from office or offer some program of punishment). On March 12, 1951, the suspension was converted into a discharge. On March 13, 1951, the Steel Workers Federation requested arbitration in accordance with Article X of the agreement between the parties. A hearing was held on April 17, 1951, before the arbitrator, and on May 25, 1951, he made the following award: 'The union's request is granted in part. The company's discharge of John Luckanish is modified to suspension for three (3) weeks from March 7, 1951, thru March 27, 1951; with the understanding that he will be reinstated as of March 28, 1951, with compensation in full for all wages lost since the latter date and by reason of his discharge'. The Company thereupon filed a petition in the lower court asking that the arbitrator's award be corrected and modified. From a decree confirming the award, the Company has taken this appeal.

Primarily, the appellant bases its position on section 11(d) of the Arbitration ...


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