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PHILADELPHIA MARINE TRADE ASSN. v. INTERNATIONAL L

June 30, 1965

PHILADELPHIA MARINE TRADE ASSOCIATION et al.
v.
INTERNATIONAL LONGSHOREMAN'S ASSOCIATION, AFL-CIO, et al.



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

This is a suit brought by the Philadelphia Marine Trade Association (PMTA) and others seeking damages under Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, 29 U.S.C.A. § 185(a). *fn1"

PMTA is the collective bargaining agent for its members (business enterprises operating steamship lines, steamship agencies, stevedoring companies and other companies engaged in services allied to the stevedoring and maritime trade). The other plaintiffs are steamship agencies that as members of PMTA entered into the collective bargaining agreement on behalf of themselves and on behalf of their principals who are steamship owners; steamship owners who are members of PMTA and parties to the agreement; business enterprises (ship owners and charterers) incorporated under laws of various nations and represented by steamship agents who are members of PMTA; and one stevedore which is a member of PMTA and a party to the collective bargaining agreement. The members of PMTA employ longshoremen of the International Longshoremen's Association, AFL-CIO (ILA).

 Defendants are the ILA, the collective bargaining agent through its local unions which are also defendants, and individuals who are officers of the ILA, or of the respective local unions.

 The complaint has already been dismissed as to several of the individual defendants.

 This matter comes before us now on the motions to dismiss of ILA and four of the local unions. The defendant unions advance four grounds for dismissal:

 1. This court has no jurisdiction because plaintiffs are not employers of the members of the local unions that are defendants in this case. Defendants argue that 29 U.S.C.A. § 185(a) applies only to plaintiffs that employ members of the defendants -- i.e., that under § 185(a) the parties can only be 'employers' and labor organizations representing employes who are employed by the 'employer.'

 2. Those plaintiffs not members of PMTA are not parties to the collective bargaining agreement and therefore have no standing to sue upon the agreement which is the subject of this suit. See Isbrandtsen Co. v. Local 1291, etc., 204 F.2d 495 (C.A. 3, 1953).

 3. The gravamen of the complaint is the failure of the defendants to submit to the grievance procedure provided by the collective bargaining agreement. The agreement provides for submission to the grievance procedure of disputes arising between the companies and unions that are parties to the agreement, and since plaintiffs allege in their complaint that the ILA had no dispute with PMTA or its members, the defendants had nothing to submit to grievance procedure and therefore could not be said to have breached their obligation of submission to the grievance procedure. *fn2"

 4. The activity of defendants was protected under Sections 7 and 8 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C.A. §§ 157 and 158, *fn3" and therefore cannot be the basis of an action for damages.

 We find it unnecessary to deal with these important issues at this time. If this court has jurisdiction it would be solely because this is a suit for violation of a contract between an employer and a union. 29 U.S.C.A. § 185(a). The contract between PMTA and the defendants provides that:

 'All disputes and grievances of any kind or nature whatsoever arising under the terms and conditions of this agreement, and all questions involving the interpretation of this agreement * * * shall be referred to a Grievance Committee, which shall consist of two members selected by the Employers and two members selected by the Union. * * * Should the Grievance Committee be unable to resolve the issue submitted and should neither party request an immediate decision from the Arbitrator, then the grievance or dispute shall be submitted to a Joint Grievance Panel consisting of three representatives of the Association and three representative of the Union. To the end that there shall be no work interruptions and to the and that there shall be limited necessity for arbitration, the Panel shall make every effort to resolve all grievances or disputes which could not be resolved by the Grievance Committee. * * * Should the Panel be unable to resolve a grievance or dispute which arose in the previous two weeks, or be unable to resolve a grievance or dispute anticipated in the ensuing two weeks, the dispute or grievance, including matters of interpretation of the contract, shall be referred to an Impartial Arbitrator who shall be selected to serve for a period of one year from a panel of five arbitrators to be submitted by the American Arbitration Association. * * * Should the terms and conditions of this agreement fail to specifically provide for an issue in dispute, or should a provision of this agreement be the subject of disputed interpretation, the Arbitrator shall consider port practice in resolving the issue before him. If the Arbitrator determines that there is no port practice to assist him in determining an issue not specifically provided for in the collective bargaining agreement, or no port practice to assist him in resolving an interpretation of the agreement, the issue shall become the subject of negotiation between the parties. There shall be no strike and no lock-out during the pendency of any dispute or issue while before the Grievance Committee, the Joint Panel or the Arbitrator.' (Emphasis added.)

 The next provision provides that:

 '* * * A difference of opinion regarding the meaning of any provisions of this agreement, which cannot be amicably adjusted between the parties, shall be adjusted in accordance with * * *' [the grievance procedure]. (Emphasis added.)

 The parties themselves have agreed to submit any matters involving the collective bargaining agreement to the grievance procedure. The plaintiffs claim the defendants breached the contract and the defendants deny the allegation. This is clearly a 'difference of opinion regarding the meaning of * * * this agreement * * *' and a 'dispute * * * under the terms * * * of this agreement * * *.' We must stay this proceeding in order that the parties submit to the grievance procedure as they agreed to do. See United Steelworkers v. American Mfg. Co., 363 U.S. 564, ...


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