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UNITED STATES STEEL CORP. v. UMW

May 7, 1975

UNITED STATES STEEL CORPORATION, a Delaware Corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA et al., Defendants


Snyder, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SNYDER

SNYDER, District Judge.

The parties have submitted for determination the matter of this Court's jurisdiction over United States Steel Corporation's (Steel) Claim for damages and the United Mine Workers' (UMW) Counterclaim for wages and fringe benefits lost by its members, as a result of two work stoppages which were triggered by the June 1971 Strike at the Gateway Mine in Greene County, Pennsylvania, a mine neither owned nor operated by Steel. The miners were off work a total of seven days until ordered back by the District Court.

 The Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the Order of the District Court, but the Circuit's Order was then vacated by the Supreme Court of the United States which remanded the cause for further consideration in light of Gateway Coal Company v. Mine Workers, 414 U.S. 368, 94 S. Ct. 629, 38 L. Ed. 2d 583 (1974). The Circuit thereupon affirmed the judgment of the District Court, and upon return of the record to this Court UMW was given leave to answer the Complaint, and also to file a Counterclaim, to which Steel filed a Reply.

 Briefly stated, the pertinent facts are not in dispute that at approximately 12:01 A.M. on June 14, 1971, the members of Local 1248 and District 5 engaged in a work stoppage at Steel's Maple Creek No. 1 and No. 2 Mines, when they refused to cross a picket line established by members of District 4 from the Gateway Mine. Also, about 12:01 A.M. on June 15, 1971, the Gateway Miners similarly established picket lines at Steel's Robena Nos. 2, 3, and 4 Mines and related facilities in Washington County, Pennsylvania. As at Maple Creek, the employee-members of District 4 and Local 6321 at the Robena Mines, acting in sympathy with the Gateway Miners, refused to cross the picket lines and report for work.

 The initial Restraining Order was issued by Judge Barron P. McCune of this Court on June 16, 1971, and enjoined the work stoppages at Maple Creek and Robena, and the miners returned to work at their respective places of employment at 12:01 A.M. on June 17, 1971. *fn1"

 The Collective Bargaining Agreement governing the matters here at issue, was entered into between the Bituminous Coal Operators' Association and the United Mine Workers of America and is entitled the National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement of 1968 (1968 Agreement), and was effective from October 1, 1968 to September 30, 1971.

 It is Steel's position that the 1968 Agreement does not require it to process claims for damages through the Settlement of Local and District Disputes procedures of the 1968 Agreement, (Addendum 1 hereto), and that, thus, the Court in this proceeding has jurisdiction to award damages in addition to granting an injunction. Steel also takes the position that the UMW's Counterclaim, involving wages, fringe benefits, and royalties lost by the Welfare and Retirement Fund, must be arbitrated under the broad language of the 1968 Agreement.

 The Defendants contend, to the contrary, that Steel, having brought this action and selected the forum, must submit itself to the jurisdiction of the Court with respect to what they allege is the compulsory counterclaim filed in the action. They argue that ancillary jurisdiction attaches to the counterclaim in order that the parties may adjudicate the controversy in its entirety in a single forum.

 In the recent case of Island Creek Coal Co. v. United Mine Workers, 507 F.2d 650 (3d Cir. 1975), the District Court granted a preliminary injunction pending arbitration in a dispute between Island Creek Coal and Local No. 998 of the United Mine Workers of America. Island Creek Coal operated Bird Nos. 2 and 3 Mines in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, and employed members of Local 998. In April of 1974, a work stoppage occurred at Florence Mining Company No. 2 Mine, whose employees belonged to Local No. 680 of the United Mine Workers. On April 11, 1974, twenty to twenty-five men, not employed at Island Creek and not members of Local 998, picketed Bird No. 2 and No. 3 Mines, and the employees of those mines declined to cross the picket lines. Island Creek Coal sought an injunction, which was granted and the action affirmed in the Third Circuit. Judge Gibbons had the following to say with respect to the 1968 Agreement (507 F.2d at 651):

 
"The settlement of disputes provisions of the National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement of 1971 are virtually identical with the settlement of disputes provisions of the 1968 Agreement which was construed by the Supreme Court in Gateway Coal Co. v. United Mine Workers, 414 U.S. 368, 94 S. Ct. 629, 38 L. Ed. 2d 583 (1974). The key provisions are Article XVII, ยง (b):
 
'Should differences arise between the Mine Workers and the Employer as to the meaning and application of the provisions of this agreement, or should differences arise about matters not specifically mentioned in the agreement, or should any local trouble of any kind arise at the mine, an earnest effort shall be made to settle such differences at the earliest practicable time.' (Appendix at 4a).
 
and Article XX:
 
'The United Mine Workers of America and the Employers agree and affirm that they will maintain the integrity of this contract and that all disputes and claims which are not settled by agreement shall be settled by the machinery provided in the ...

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