The opinion of the court was delivered by: KRAFT
This matter is before us on plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction.
The material facts may be briefly stated. Prior to February 11, 1963, the defendants, Jones Motor Co., Inc. (Jones), and Mundy Motor Lines, Inc. (Mundy),
were motor freight companies engaged in interstate commerce. Both companies maintained terminals in Philadelphia.
From January 1, 1960, to December 31, 1962, both Jones and Mundy were parties to the same multi-employer, multi-local union collective bargaining agreement in the Philadelphia area, known as the Motor Transport Labor Relations, Inc. (M.T.L.R.) Master Agreement. The Philadelphia employees of both Mundy and Jones were represented, for the purposes of collective bargaining, by the defendant Highway Truck Drivers and Helpers, Local 107 (Local 107), affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America (International).
Following the expiration of this agreement on December 31, 1962, all parties thereto agreed to continue operating under its terms and conditions while negotiations for a new agreement were under way.
On July 1, 1963, Jones and Local 107, together with other employers and local unions, became parties to a new collective bargaining agreement for the Philadelphia area, known as the Tri-Area Labor Association (Tri-Area) City Cartage Agreement. This agreement, by its terms, was to be effective from January 1, 1963, to December 31, 1965. Mundy was not a signatory to this agreement, since, at this time, it had ceased doing business as a separate company.
On February 11, 1963, Mundy ceased doing business and its Philadelphia terminal was closed. Its business in the Philadelphia area was taken over by Jones, and all of Mundy's drivers, the plaintiffs herein, were transferred to Jones' Philadelphia terminal. This transfer was part of a merger, sale, acquisition, or absorption of Mundy's business by Jones, although the precise form of the arrangement does not yet appear in the record of this case. However, the agreement relating to this transaction between the two companies was subject to the final approval of the Interstate Commerce Commission.
Following this transfer, the former Mundy employees were hired by Jones as employees at the Jones terminal, and were placed below the Jones employees on the Jones terminal seniority list, but in the precise order of seniority they had enjoyed as Mundy employees.
Prior to the transfer of the Mundy employees to the Jones terminal on February 11, 1963, and continuing thereafter, a dispute existed as to whether the Mundy men, after transfer, were to be placed at the foot of the Jones seniority list, or whether they should carry with them their original Mundy seniority dates and be 'dovetailed' with the Jones employees on the basis of the original seniority date for each man at their respective companies. Article V, Section 5 of the M.T.L.R. Agreement, which was, by virtue of the aforesaid mutual agreement still in force and effect on February 11, 1963, provided:
'MERGERS, CONSOLIDATIONS, ABSORPTIONS -- In the event that OPERATOR absorbs the business of private, contract or common carrier, or is a party to a merger of lines, or a consolidation, the seniority of the employees absorbed or affected thereby shall be determined by mutual agreement between OPERATOR, UNION and MTLR. The seniority will be discussed with UNION and MTLR prior to the effective date, except in unusual circumstances. In the absence of agreement such matter shall be submitted as a grievance.'
Pursuant to the above quoted provisions, there were discussions among all interested parties concerning the issue of seniority, but the parties were unable to resolve the problem. Finally, on October 4, 1963, the president of Local 107 filed a grievance on behalf of the former Mundy employees, alleging, in effect, that the Mundy employees had been improperly placed at the bottom of the Jones seniority list. Owing to certain postponements and delays, not material for present purposes, the grievance had not been processed when this action was instituted, on February 19, 1964, nor at the time of the first hearing herein, on February 28.
The grievance hearing was held on March 6, 1964, before a panel of the Change of Operations Committee of the Tri-Area Joint Area Committee. There were no representatives from either Local 107 or Jones on this panel. After a full hearing, during which all interested parties were given an opportunity to present evidence and to be heard, the Committee rendered the following decision:
'1. That on February 11, 1963, Mundy motor Lines ceased doing business in the Philadelphia area for all intents and purposes and that the date of February 11, 1963 is the decisive date for purposes of this hearing;
'2. That the seniority of the affected employees as of February 11, 1963, could only be determined under the provisions of Article 5, Section 5 of the January 1, 1960 Master Agreement between the Motor Transport Labor Relations, Inc. and Teamsters Local 107, since that agreement had remained in effect until June 10, 1963 for purposes of determining seniority in such cases;
'3. That the past practice under the provisions of Article 5, Section 5 of the January 1, 1960 Master Agreement between the Motor Transport Labor Relations, Inc. and Teamsters Local 107 had been to place the employees of the ...