employer and the Union, representing its employee members, must necessarily reach and agree upon terms which will reasonably protect individual employees and at the same time reasonably protect the employees as a body, not to mention the needs of the employer in a competitive market. So here, two years was the period agreed upon by the bargaining parties. The "Employee Benefits" handbook expressly advised the Union members of the combination of layoff and sick leave for purposes of computing the employee benefit plan. Given a similar manual as to seniority rights, it would also have provided for such combination. That no such "seniority manual" was issued does not change the proper construction and interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement and the resultant rights and liabilities of the parties.
Following the excellent memorandum of law submitted by able counsel for the plaintiff, we have considered the factual background in order to determine the intention of the parties. Automobile Workers Local 937 v. Royal Typewriter Co., 88 F. Supp. 669 (D. Conn. 1949). We have looked to the contract as a whole to resolve ambiguity as to the clause in question. We also recognize that a word or phrase shall be given its plain and clear meaning. Clark v. Kraftco Corporation, 510 F.2d 500 (2d Cir. 1975). We conclude that the language of the agreement, the past interpretations and applications thereof and past procedures and practices followed support the defendants' contentions.
Similarly, the monthly claim-in period, however arbitrary in its effect upon a given employee, is contractual and binding upon the plaintiff. It was obviously designed by the parties to create some uniformity as to when, during a particular work period involved, "claim-ins" might be expected so as to control foreseeable work schedules and to better advise working employees of possible claim-ins and resultant interruption of his or her work schedule. Plaintiff, by implication, recognizes the viability of monthly claim-in periods in contending that he did claim-in within the applicable period. Regrettably, for him, we have, by reason of medical records, documentary evidence and credible testimony to the contrary, been obliged to find that he did not claim-in as contended.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
1. This Court has jurisdiction by virtue of Section 301 of the Labor-Management Relations Act, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 185.
2. The Court does not have jurisdiction over any allegations raised under Section 7 or Section 8 of the Labor-Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 157, § 158.
3. Plaintiff did not have a valid or legitimate grievance against Dana in reference to Dana's interpretation and application of the provisions of the labor agreement between Dana and the Union which was effective December 16, 1973, to October 31, 1977.
4. Dana did not act arbitrarily, capriciously or in bad faith, in its application of the terms and provisions of said labor agreement to plaintiff's situation, either in its calculations of plaintiff's claim-in period or in its calculation of the expiration of plaintiff's two-year layoff period by combining his layoff and sick leave in that calculation.
5. Dana did not wrongfully refuse plaintiff an opportunity to exercise claim-in privileges under Article 6 of said labor agreement to return to work in January 1974, having acted in full compliance with the terms and provisions of said labor agreement, so that Dana's actions do not constitute a violation of the Labor-Management Relations Act.
6. Plaintiff failed to establish by a fair preponderance of the evidence that he had attempted to claim-in during his claim-in period on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th and 8th of January, 1974.
7. Plaintiff did not possess a valid and legitimate grievance.
8. The Union did not act arbitrarily, capriciously or in bad faith in refusing to file a grievance based on the allegations that Dana had improperly combined sick leave and layoff for purposes of determining the two-year claim, and the unsubstantiated allegation that plaintiff had sufficiently complied with the claim-in procedures. Vaca v. Sipes, 386 U.S. 171, 17 L. Ed. 2d 842, 87 S. Ct. 903 (1967).
9. The Union conducted a full and fair investigation of the allegations raised by plaintiff and properly determined that the allegations were groundless and could not be substantiated.
10. The agreement between Dana and the Union gives the Union the absolute right to refuse to file groundless and unsubstantiated allegations that are contrary to the intent of the agreement and to such facts as can be determined upon investigation.
11. The Union did not act negligently, exercise poor judgment or act arbitrarily or in bad faith in refusing to file a grievance upon the allegations of plaintiff.
12. Dana did not wrongfully refuse plaintiff the opportunity to exercise his claim-in rights under Article 6 of the agreement and return to work, and was in full compliance with the terms and provisions of the agreement. Dana's acts do not constitute a violation of Section 301 of the Labor-Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185.
13. Neither Dana nor Union exercised unlawful discrimination in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e) et seq.
We conclude: (1) that neither Dana nor Union breached the collective bargaining agreement; (2) that Union has fairly and adequately represented the plaintiff and has not breached its duty of fair representation; (3) that Union has not acted arbitrarily or in bad faith, Bazarte v. United Transportation Union, 429 F.2d 868 (3d Cir. 1970); (4) that plaintiff has failed to establish a violation of Section 301 of the Labor-Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185. Accordingly, judgment will be entered for the defendants and against the plaintiff. Having thus reached the merits, we need not consider the defendants' contentions that prior proceedings before the NLRB, the EEOC and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission are res judicata.
AND NOW, this 20th day of April, 1977, IT IS ORDERED that judgment is entered for and in favor of the defendants, Dana Corporation and United Steel Workers of America, Local Union 3733, and against the plaintiff, Ludovico La China.
E. MAC TROUTMAN / J.
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