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TRANE CO. v. LOCAL 730

August 17, 1979

The TRANE COMPANY, Keystone Industrial Park, Dunmore, Pennsylvania, Plaintiff,
v.
LOCAL 730, UNITED ASSOCIATION OF JOURNEYMEN AND APPRENTICES OF the PLUMBING AND PIPE FITTING INDUSTRY OF the UNITED STATES AND CANADA, AFL-CIO c/o Joseph Kolankiewicz, Keystone Industrial Park, Dunmore, Pennsylvania 18512, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CONABOY

MEMORANDUM

This is an action for damages and injunctive relief instituted by the Plaintiff pursuant to Section 301(a) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), 29 U.S.C. Section 185(a).

 The basic thrust of the Plaintiff's action is the allegation that "Defendant has prevented employees from exercising their voluntary choice to accept overtime, and has violated its pledge of support to urge acceptance of overtime work, all in violation of Section 22 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement." *fn1"

 Before the Court presently is the Defendant's "Motion to Dismiss or in the alternative to stay proceedings pending arbitration." In resisting the Defendant's motion, the Plaintiff company raises the singular question whether or not its claim for damages is referable to arbitration under the terms of the Labor Management Agreement between the parties. Counsel for both parties correctly point out that the answer to this question depends on an interpretation of the appropriate sections of the agreement, since the obligation to submit a dispute to arbitration is wholly contractual. See Atkinson v. Sinclair Refining Co., 370 U.S. 238, 82 S. Ct. 1318, 8 L. Ed. 2d 462; Boeing Co. v. Int'l Union, V.A., A & A Imp. Workers, 370 F.2d 969 (3d Cir. 1969).

 Sections 82, 83 and 84 of the Agreement are included in the Section generally titled "Grievances". In addition to these Sections of the Agreement, the Defendants would also have the Court include in its effort at interpretation, a reference to Section 94, which is included under the general title "No Strike Clause". These Sections read as follows:

 GRIEVANCES

 
82. Should differences arise between the Company and an employee or a group of employees or the representatives of the Union as to the interpretation, application of, or compliance with the provisions of this Agreement, the same will be settled as follows:
 
Step I The employee will discuss his grievance with his foreman, with or without his steward present.
 
Step II If the discussion in Step I does not settle the grievance, there shall be a discussion between the foreman and steward. The foreman will give his answer by the end of the work day following the discussion with the steward.
 
Step III If the foreman's answer in Step II does not settle the grievance, the Chief Steward will within 2 working days, request a discussion with the General Foreman. Such discussions will take place within 2 working days of the request. The department steward may be present at this discussion. The General Foreman will answer the grievance within 2 working days following this discussion.
 
Step IV If the General Foreman's answer does not settle the grievance, it will be reduced to writing and presented to the Industrial Relations Manager within 5 working days of the General Foreman's answer. The grievance will be discussed at the next grievance meeting. Such meeting will normally be held on the Tuesday preceding the 4th Sunday of each month at 1:30 p.m. However, if necessary, a special grievance meeting may be held on request. In the event a grievance is not processed to the next step of the grievance procedure within the specified time, the grievance will be considered settled. However, the Union may request and the Company will approve an extension of up to 7 calendar days at any step previous to Step V. In the event management does not answer the grievance within the prescribed times, the grievance will proceed to the next Step.
 
Step V If the grievance is not satisfactorily settled after these steps, a request for arbitration must be made within 30 days from the meeting in Step IV. If no such request is received, the grievance shall be considered settled.
 
The parties will select an arbitrator from a panel of arbitrators submitted by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
 
83. A question raised by either party as to the arbitrability of a grievance shall be subject to arbitration and if deemed arbitrable, the issue may be decided at such hearing. It is understood that any question involving general wage rates or the labor grade structure shall not be subject to arbitration. The function of the arbitrator shall be of a judicial nature. The decision of the arbitrator shall be final and binding upon the parties, but he shall not have the power to add to, subtract from or modify the terms of the contract and shall decide only the issues ...

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