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LOCAL UNION NO. 1987 OF IBEW v. CONTROL PRODS. CO.
August 18, 1971
LOCAL UNION NO. 1987 OF the INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS, affiliated with the AFL-CIO and Anthony J. Nocito, Business Manager, Plaintiffs,
CONTROL PRODUCTS COMPANY, Inc., Defendant
Gourley, District Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: GOURLEY
In this proceeding in which a preliminary injunction is sought for the purpose of compelling arbitration, jurisdiction exists pursuant to 28 U.S.C.A. § 1337 and 29 U.S.C.A. § 141 et seq. The Court has conducted a full and complete hearing.
Before discussing any facts pertinent to this proceeding, this Court desires to emphasize its awareness that the function of a court in matters of this nature is an extremely limited one. This Court has no right to consider the underlying merits involved, but is confined to determining whether or not the plaintiff is making a claim which on its face is governed by the contract. Deciding whether or not the claim is meritorious is not the function of this Court, since there may be some benefit in processing even frivolous claims for arbitration. United Steelworkers of America v. American Manufacturing Co., 363 U.S. 564, 80 S. Ct. 1343, 4 L. Ed. 2d 1403 (1960). While there is congressional policy favoring the use of the grievance procedure, the Court nevertheless has the duty under § 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act to ascertain whether the reluctant party has in fact agreed to arbitrate the grievance. "An order to arbitrate the particular grievance should not be denied unless it may be said with positive assurance that the arbitration clause is not susceptible of an interpretation that covers the asserted dispute. Doubts should be resolved in favor of coverage." United Steelworkers of America v. Warrior & Gulf Navigation, 363 U.S. 574, 80 S. Ct. 1347, 4 L. Ed. 2d 1409 (1960).
This forms the underlying basis of the present suit; however, under the decisions cited supra, it is precisely this issue which this Court cannot reach. The contract provides in effect that any dispute over the meaning and application of any aspect of the collective bargaining agreement, including wages, is subject to arbitration as the final step in the grievance procedure.
The considered judgment of this Court is that there is a duty to submit the present question confronting the parties here to arbitration. Certainly an employer has no duty to arbitrate issues which it has not agreed to so do. However, the collective bargaining agreement here does create the duty to arbitrate. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. v. Livingston, 376 U.S. 543, 84 S. Ct. 909, 11 L. Ed. 2d 898 (1964).
The collective bargaining agreement which is the subject of the present suit provides:
"ARTICLE X -- GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
1. Should differences arise between the Company and an employee as to the meaning and application of this Agreement, an earnest effort shall be made to settle such difference in the following manner, provided that a written grievance shall be filed with the immediate supervisor within five (5) working days of knowledge of when the grievance occurred:
2. If the above method does not satisfactorily resolve the difference as to the meaning and application of the Agreement, the grievance as written shall, at the request of either party, be submitted to arbitration, provided that the intention of either party to arbitrate must be given in writing within ten (10) working days ...
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