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INTERNATIONAL ASSN. OF MACHINISTS, LODGE 917 v. AI

April 24, 1972

International Association of Machinists, Lodge 917, for Plaintiff
v.
Air Products And Chemicals, Inc., for Defendant


Newcomer, D. J.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: NEWCOMER

NEWCOMER, D. J.

 This controversy concerns a labor dispute between the above-named parties which ultimately was referred to arbitration resulting in an award containing language which one party asserts is clear and unambiguous, and the other party asserts is unclear and ambiguous.

 Findings of Fact

 1. The plaintiff is the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Lodge 917 (hereinafter referred to as the "Union").

 2. The defendant is Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. of Trexlertown, Pennsylvania (hereinafter referred to as the "Company").

 3. At all times during this controversy the parties were subject to a collective bargaining agreement (hereinafter referred to as the "Agreement").

 4. Prior to June 18, 1971, the Company announced that it would be making certain layoffs which involved employees John Pruzinsky, Charles Billman, John Siluk and Altman Anderson.

 5. The above named employees claimed that they were entitled under the Agreement to exercise top seniority for layoff purposes because of their status as union officials, and "bump" into the shipping and receiving classification and continue to work while more senior employees were laid off.

 6. Despite the employees' (to be laid off) protests as to their right to bump more senior employees in the shipping and receiving classification, the above named employees were laid off.

 7. Subsequently, John Pruzinsky instigated grievance proceedings as set out in the Agreement to gain his reinstatement.

 8. The Company and Union were unable to resolve the grievance, and arbitrator, Monroe Berkowitz, was selected to hear the controversy in accordance with the arbitration provisions of the Agreement.

 9. On October 1, 1971, a hearing was held before arbitrator Berkowitz with appearances made by Larry S. Benner, Esq., Business Representative District 152, for Local Lodge 917, and Raymond N. Stevenson, Esq., Assistant Manager Labor Relations for Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.

 10. During the hearing, as shown by the transcript, testimony was heard as to John Pruzinsky's receipt of unemployment compensation. All the laid-off employees involved except Altman Anderson received unemployment compensation during their layoff.

 11. Arbitrator Berkowitz made his findings of fact and law on December 21, 1971, and made the following award:

 
"The Company violated the Labor Agreement by denying John Pruzinsky's request to bump an employee of the shipping and receiving clerk classification. He is entitled to full retroactive payment of wages he would have earned had he been afforded the opportunity to ...

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