association" generally denotes a voluntary group of persons, without a charter, formed by mutual consent for the purpose of promoting a common enterprise or prosecuting a common objective. Yonce v. Miners Memorial Hospital Assn., Inc., 161 F. Supp. 178 (D.C.W.D. Va., 1958) and Rosen v. Alleghany Corporation, 133 F. Supp. 858 (D.C.S.D. N.Y., 1955). In California Clippers, Inc. v. United States Soccer Football Association, 314 F. Supp. 1057 (D.C.N.D. Calif., 1970) while the Court held an "International Games Committee" of the defendant which had no office, no mailing address, no assets or obligations and in fact had never met, not to be an unincorporated association, it restated and reaffirmed the general definition. While the record in the instant action is sparse regarding the activities of Local 4076, we note that its members continue to maintain and assert its existence generally, including the filing of this lawsuit, and find that, notwithstanding its adherence to what is now a misnomer, Local 4076 qualifies as an unincorporated association.
In this posture, its legal capacity to maintain suit is controlled by F.R.C.P. 17(b) which provides that in the case of an unincorporated association, capacity to sue shall be determined by state law except that even when state law denies capacity, an unincorporated association may sue for the purpose of enforcing for it a substantive right existing under the laws of the United States.
Rule 2152 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure requires an action prosecuted by an unincorporated association to be "in the name of a member or members thereof as trustees ad litem for such association". The nominal plaintiff in this case is simply Local 4076. Thus Rule 2152 denies capacity.
The exception of F.R.C.P. 17, however, permits an unincorporated association to maintain suit if the suit is for the purpose of enforcing for it a substantive right existing under the laws of the United States. This brings us to the question of whether Section 301(a) of the Labor Management Relations Act, under which this suit is brought, confers substantive rights as well as jurisdictional rights. This question was thoroughly considered in the landmark decision of Textile Workers Union v. Lincoln Mills, 353 U.S. 448, 1 L. Ed. 2d 972, 77 S. Ct. 912 (1957). That Court decided that Section 301(a) was more than jurisdictional, that it authorized federal courts to fashion a body of substantive federal law of enforcement and that that substantive federal law is to be fashioned from the policy of the national labor laws. This decision, most recently reaffirmed in The Boys Markets, Inc. v. Retail Clerks Union, 398 U.S. 235, 26 L. Ed. 2d 199, 90 S. Ct. 1583 (1970), has since controlled the question.
This, in turn, brings us to the phrase "enforcing for it", or standing, under Section 301(a). Literally, Section 301(a) allows that "suits for violation of contracts . . . may be brought. . . ." The designations of employers and labor organizations are for the purpose of specifying what contracts are within its ambit, not for the purpose of directly delimiting those who may bring suit thereunder. This has been the judicial construction of this section. In Smith v. Evening News Association, 371 U.S. 195, 9 L. Ed. 2d 246, 83 S. Ct. 267 (1962), the Supreme Court decided that an employee had standing under Section 301(a) to sue his employer to vindicate rights arising from his employer's alleged breach of the collective bargaining agreement between his union and his employer, and in Humphrey v. Moore, 375 U.S. 355, 11 L. Ed. 2d 370, 84 S. Ct. 363 (1964),
that Court further decided that an employee had standing under Section 301(a) to sue his union to vindicate rights arising from his union's alleged breach of its duty to fairly represent him pursuant to his union's collective bargaining agreement with his employer. The Third Circuit, in Falsetti v. Local Union No. 2026, United Mine Workers, 355 F.2d 658 (C.A. 3, 1966), while regarding the problem of who has standing to sue under Section 301 as "an unsettled one", agreed with the District Court
that an employee has standing to sue, on a collective bargaining agreement between his employer and his union, both the employer and the union. Failing to note a distinction between a single plaintiff and a plural plaintiff,
we conclude that the standing of Local 4076, as an unincorporated association of employees is clear, and that the capacity to sue under F.R.C.P. 17(b) is then complete.
Defendants assert, in the alternative, that this plaintiff is barred from maintaining this suit because of a failure to exhaust established grievance procedures. The plaintiff's allegations, however, which must be accepted at this stage in the proceedings, are that attempts to pursue the established grievance procedures have been ignored or thwarted by the defendants. The views of the Supreme Court in Vaca v. Sipes, 386 U.S. 171, 184-187, 17 L. Ed. 2d 842, 87 S. Ct. 903 (1967), we think, are dispositive of defendants' assertions. That Court reasoned as follows:
" . . . it is settled that the employee must at least attempt to exhaust exclusive grievance and arbitration procedures established by the bargaining agreement. . . . However, because these contractual remedies have been devised and are often controlled by the union and the employer, they may well prove unsatisfactory or unworkable for the individual grievant. The problem then is to determine under what circumstances the individual employee may obtain judicial review of his breach-of-contract claim despite his failure to secure relief through the contractual remedial procedures."