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HALSTEAD INDUS. v. USW

May 18, 1977

HALSTEAD INDUSTRIES, INC., Plaintiff
v.
UNITED STEELWORKERS OF AMERICA, and LOCAL NO. 7032 OF UNITED STEEL WORKERS OF AMERICA, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARSH

 Halstead Industries, Inc. (Halstead) brings this action pursuant to 29 U.S.C. ยง 185(a) seeking a declaratory judgment that certain grievances are not arbitrable under the collective bargaining agreements between Halstead and defendant United Steelworkers of America (USW). The defendants have filed a counterclaim seeking an order compelling Halstead to submit the grievances to arbitration. Defendants have moved for summary judgment.

 Leadmen are scheduled by Halstead to work in various bays at the Zelienople plant. Their chief responsibility is to expedite operations. They fill in where they are needed, assure that tools and materials are provided, and watch for potential bottlenecks in production.

 Whether Halstead is bound to arbitrate and what issues it must arbitrate are questions for the court, not the arbitrator. International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150, AFL-CIO v. Flair Builders, Inc., 406 U.S. 487, 491, 80 LRRM 2441, 2442, 32 L. Ed. 2d 248, 92 S. Ct. 1710 (1972); Atkinson v. Sinclair Refining Co., 370 U.S. 238, 241, 50 LRRM 2433, 2435, 8 L. Ed. 2d 462, 82 S. Ct. 1318 (1962). To answer these questions the court must examine the arbitration clause and any clauses excluding issues from arbitration.

 Article XVI, Section 8, of the agreements is entitled "Grievance Procedure" and provides in pertinent part:

 
"(b) Grievances within the meaning of the Grievance Procedure and of this arbitration clause shall consist only of disputes about the interpretation or application of particular clauses of this Agreement and about alleged violations of the Agreement. The Arbitrator shall have no power to add to, or subtract from, or modify any of the terms of this Agreement.
 
(c) Issues arising out of the exercise of the rights reserved to management under the title 'Rights of Management' above shall not be subject to arbitration."

 Article III, Section 1, of the agreements is entitled "Management Rights" and provides in pertinent part:

 
"Except to the extent expressly abridged by a specific provision of this Agreement, the Company reserves and retains, solely and exclusively, all of its Common Law rights to manage the business. The sole and exclusive rights of management which are not abridged by this Agreement shall include, but are not limited to, its right to determine the existence of facts which are the basis of a management decision; . . . to select and to determine the number and types of employees required; to assign work to such employees in accordance with the requirements determined by management; to establish and change work schedules and assignments; to transfer, promote, or demote employees, or to lay off, terminate or otherwise relieve employees from duty for lack of work or other legitimate reasons, to determine the fact of lack of work, . . . to suspend, discharge or otherwise to take measures as management may determine to be necessary for the orderly, efficient and profitable operation of its business -- all to the best regard of its employees."

 The court's jurisdiction to determine the arbitrability of this dispute is not undermined by the fact that the following clause from an earlier contract was deleted during the 1969 contract negotiations:

 
"The question of arbitrability of any issue shall, if the Company or Union insists, be determined by the court and not by the arbitrator."

 According to the affidavit of Hubert Reed, chairman of the local union's grievance committee, Halstead had relied upon this clause in 1968 to obtain a federal district court ruling that a grievance over seniority rights was not arbitrable. *fn1" Reed states the clause was dropped in order to end "the possibility of going to court to obtain a ruling on arbitrability."


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