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UNITED STATES STEEL CORP. v. SEAFARERS' INTL. UNIO

January 15, 1965

UNITED STATES STEEL CORPORATION
v.
SEAFARERS' INTERNATIONAL UNION OF NORTH AMERICA, ATLANTIC, GULF, LAKES AND INLAND WATERS DISTRICTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: LORD, III

Plaintiff has brought this suit for damages against the Union under §§ 301(a) and 303 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U. S.C. §§ 185 and 187. The first count -- the § 301(a) count -- alleges that the Union, in violation of the no-strike provision of the contract between the Company and the Union, engaged in a strike and work stoppage by refusing to crew plaintiff's ship, the S.S. Columbia. *fn1"

Count two -- the § 303 count -- complains that the defendant induced and encouraged certain employes to engage in a strike and other activities with a view toward forcing or requiring the Company to assign the work of loading the S.S. Columbia to members of the International Longshoremen's Association rather than to the Company's present employes who are members of the United Steelworkers of America, Local 4889, although the National Labor Relations Board had certified the United Steelworkers of America as the representative for employes performing the work of loading the S.S. Columbia.

 The Union's answer denies it has engaged in a strike or work stoppage in breach of the contract and denies having otherwise engaged in the activities attributed to it in the complaint.

 The defendant has filed a motion for a stay of proceedings pending submission to arbitration of violations or disputes arising under the agreement. *fn2"

 Three alternatives present themselves. I may:

 (1) Deny defendant's motion.

 (2) Grant defendant's motion and stay the entire proceeding.

 (3) Stay the § 301(a) action and permit the § 303 action to proceed.

 I have concluded that the § 301(a) action should be stayed and that the 303 action should be permitted to proceed.

 In reaching the conclusion that the § 303 action should go forward, it has been necessary to balance certain considerations. I am conscious of the policy against piecemeal litigation. Cf. Hurn v. Oursler, 289 U.S. 238, 53 S. Ct. 586, 77 L. Ed. 1148; Lesnik v. Public Industrials Corporation, 144 F.2d 968 (C.A. 2, 1944). However, equally strong is the policy of speedy and just determination of controversies. F.R.Civ.P. 1. Were we to stay all proceedings in the § 303 action, discovery would be halted. The recollection of witnesses would fade and facts would become stale. If trial of the § 303 action eventually became necessary upon the conclusion of arbitration of the § 301(a) action, the trial would perforce be delayed pending the completion of discovery. Both of these policies can be harmonized if the § 303 case proceeds up to the point of actual trial, and if aribration is then not yet completed, either party may ask for a continuance. In this way, the matter will be determined as speedily and justly as possible, and yet piecemeal determination of the controversy will be avoided.

 It is clear that the § 301(a) action (Count 1) comes within the purview of the contract provision for grievance and arbitration procedure for 'any violations or disputes which may arise under this Agreement.' *fn3"

 The policy of enforcing agreements to arbitrate has been often enunciated by the Supreme Court. In Drake Bakeries, Inc. v. LOCAL 50 (1962), 370 U.S. 254 at pages 263-264, 82 S. Ct. 1346 at page 1352, 8 L. Ed. 2d 474 the Court said:

 See also, e.g., John Wiley & Sons, Inc. v. Livingston, 376 U.S. 543, 549-550, 84 S. Ct. 909, ...


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