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Denicola v. G. C. Murphy Co.

filed as amended november 9 1977.: August 8, 1977.


On Appeal from the Order Dated April 29, 1976, of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (Civil Action No. 72-172).

Adams, Biggs and Hunter, Circuit Judges.

Author: Biggs


BIGGS, Circuit Judge.


The case at bar began as a class action brought by 29 named plaintiffs against their employer, the G. C. Murphy Company (Murphy) and their local union, General Teamsters, Chauffeurs and Helpers, Local Union No. 249 (Local 249). The complaint, brought on behalf of all female employees of Murphy's McKeesport, Pennsylvania, warehouse who were members of Local 249, alleged that Murphy and Local 249 violated Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq., by maintaining under a 1968 collective bargaining agreement separate job classifications, pay scales, and seniority system for male and female employees.

A long exposition of the facts surrounding the instant case is unnecessary since they have been fully discussed in Glus v. G. C. Murphy Co., 562 F.2d 880, (3d Cir. 1977).

Local 249 was the successor collective bargaining agent to the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, Local No. 940 (Local 940), a defendant in the Glus case. It became the collective bargaining agent for Murphy's warehouse employees on January 30, 1971. The 1968 collective bargaining agreement entered into by Local 940 and the International Union of Wholesale and Department Store Union, AFL-CIO (the International)*fn1 with Murphy expired on January 31, 1971. Between February 1, 1971 and June 3, 1971 the parties engaged in contract negotiations. During the course of the negotiations it was agreed that any increases in the hourly rate of pay would be retroactive to February 1, 1971.

The key facts of the contract negotiations are disputed by the parties. Murphy claims that during a negotiating session on June 3, 1971 it offered to retroactively eliminate the wage differential.*fn2 According to Murphy's witnesses the proposal was rejected by Local 249's representatives as being too complicated. Local 249 contends that no such offer was made by Murphy. The district court found an offer to eliminate retroactively the discrimination was made by Murphy to Local 249 and Local 249 rejected the offer because it was too complicated. 158a.

A contract was agreed upon between Local 249 and Murphy on June 11, 1971. The contract retroactively eliminated all discriminatory practices as of February 1, 1971, with the exception of the wage differentials. The wage differentials were eliminated on June 21, 1971.

Plaintiffs filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission based upon the claim which eventually led to the suit from which this appeal has been taken.

Murphy, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 13(g) brought a cross-claim against Local 249. As explained in Glus, supra, Murphy reached a settlement agreement with plaintiffs. The settlement agreement provided that Murphy would pay the plaintiffs $548,000, of which $448,000 was apportioned to plaintiffs' Title VII complaint and $100,000 was apportioned for violations of the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (Equal Pay Act), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq.*fn3 In addition, Murphy agreed to pay plaintiffs' counsel's fees of $100,000.

A hearing was held on October 2, 1972 concerning the proposed settlement. Present at the hearing, in addition to plaintiffs' and Murphy's counsel, was Frank P. G. Intrieri, Esquire, counsel representing Local 249. The district court inquired whether there were any objections to the settlement. Mr. Intrieri did not object.

Trial was held on the remaining issue, Murphy's claim for contribution against Local 249.

The trial court found Murphy and Local 249 were equally liable for the discrimination against the plaintiffs that occurred between February 1, 1971 and June 30, 1971. The court held Local 249 to be liable for $18,393. This represented 50 per cent of 5/72's of the plaintiffs' Title VII recovery and a similar proportion of the attorney's fees deemed to be for the Title VII portion of the recovery.*fn4 The court, however, held that as a labor organization, Local 249 could not be liable for contribution under the Equal Pay Act. Local 249 ...

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