The opinion of the court was delivered by: KRAFT
Plaintiff brought this action under § 301(a) of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947, 29 U.S.C. § 185(a), against an employer charging breach of a collective bargaining agreement by failure to pay over check-off dues of employees.
The parties entered into an express stipulation upon the facts and the exhibits attached, 'subject to the understanding, however, that the said stipulation of facts shall be construed as evidentiary only, with full power in the Court to draw such inferences from the stipulated facts as may appear to such Court to be relevant.'
In accordance with the stipulation, we make the following
1. In November 1950, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), plaintiff's parent organization, acting on behalf of plaintiff and various other locals, entered into a collective bargaining agreement with defendant, which was later amended, modified and supplemented.
2. The agreement covered such local unions of plaintiff's parent organization as had been, through a National Labor Relations Board (Board) certification, 'lawfully designated as the exclusive bargaining representative for the purposes of collective bargaining * * *'
3. Several years prior to the events hereinafter set forth, plaintiff had been certified by the Board as the collective bargaining agent at defendant's plant at Lester, Pennsylvania, for a bargaining unit composed of certain salaried employees, being the unit here involved, and another unit not so involved.
4. Under Section VIII of the agreement, defendant agreed for 'the duration of the agreement' to 'deduct from the first pay of each month Union dues and promptly remit same' to the locals for those employees in the bargaining unit covered by the agreement who had signed written authorizations on the form prescribed in the agreement.
5. Although under no compulsion so to do, a large number of employees in the bargaining unit who were members of the plaintiff union had duly executed authorizations for check-off. Such authorizations were specified to be of unlimited duration unless notice of intention to terminate was given within specific time periods provided in the authorization. None of the employees whose authorizations are here involved ever specifically revoked their authorizations as provided therein.
6. Section XX of the agreement provided that the then current term would expire on October 15, 1960. It further provided, however, inter alia, that the agreement would automatically renew itself for successive periods of one year, in the absence of service of written notice of intent to terminate the agreement by either party at least sixty days prior to the termination of the then current term.
7. In June 1960, the Westinghouse Salaried Employees Association (WSEA), a rival union, petitioned the Board for a certification election to represent the bargaining unit here involved, and, on September 29, 1960, the Board conducted an election pursuant to a stipulation joined in by all parties in interest.
8. The results of the said election were inconclusive. Although WSEA received a plurality, it failed to receive the majority necessary for Board certification. There were, however, 12 challenged ballots which would have been sufficient to affect the outcome of the election. These challenged ballots had not been counted and were sealed pending a Board hearing to determine the validity of the challenges.
9. Meanwhile, neither plaintiff nor defendant served any notice upon the other of an intention to terminate the agreement as provided for in Section XX of the agreement. The only communication between the parties in relation to that subject was a letter from defendant dated October 14, 1960, the day before the expiration of the then current term, which indicated that if plaintiff ultimately prevailed in the still undetermined Board election, defendant would seek modification in the agreement insofar as it applied to the bargaining unit.
10. Defendant, in compliance with the terms of the agreement, and following its practice over many years, continued to check off the dues of plaintiff's members who had submitted authorizations under Section VIII of the ...