§ 185 to vacate a decision by an impartial arbitrator sustaining a Union grievance involving a discharge. Plaintiff Company has moved for summary judgment and defendant Union and Union grievant have moved to dismiss.
Plaintiff, Jones Motor Division of Alleghany Corporation (hereinafter referred to as Plaintiff) and Defendants, General Teamsters, Chauffeurs and Helpers, Local Union 249, and John Cannon (hereinafter referred to as "Cannon") are bound by the National Master Freight Agreement and Teamsters Joint Council No. 40 Freight Division Local Cartage Supplemental Agreement (hereinafter "the Agreement"); said Agreement explicitly outlines a Grievance Procedure for the resolution of Labor/Management disputes. This action requires the Court to resolve a conflict between two decision making bodies within the Procedure.
From April of 1967 until his final discharge in 1978, Cannon received several disciplinary suspensions imposed under the Plaintiff's Work Productivity System. Each suspension moved through the successive grievance channels to be finally sustained by the Eastern Conference Joint Area Committee. These decisions of the Eastern Conference Joint Area Committee were final and binding as per the Agreement. Prior to this time the Union had protested the use of the system, denying their approval of productivity standards. (According to the Union, approval was a prerequisite to the imposition of work productivity standards.) In response to Union protest the Eastern Conference Joint Area Committee set up a sub-committee to investigate the propriety of the system and ultimately approved its implementation.
When Cannon was finally discharged, the grievance went to the Arbitrator for a finding of "just cause" for discharge under the System. It is Plaintiff's contention that the Arbitrator was bound by the Eastern Conference Joint Area Committee's approval of the Work system (despite Union protest), that he exceeded his authority by passing on the validity of the system; and, therefore, his decision does not draw its essence from the Agreement. Defendant contends that the Arbitrator was properly within his authority to examine the system, to deny its legitimacy, and thereby sustain the grievance of Cannon.
The standard of review for the intervention of this Court is that the award must draw its "essence" from the Collective Bargaining Agreement. United Steelworkers v. Enterprise Wheel and Car Corp., 363 U.S. 593, 80 S. Ct. 1358, 4 L. Ed. 2d 1424 (1960). The award can be overturned only if there is "a manifest disregard of the Agreement, totally unsupported by principles of contract construction and the law of the shop." Such is not the case here.
Plaintiff argues convincingly that the Eastern Conference Joint Area Committee's approval sans Union Agreement is a valid exercise of authority and cites Teamsters, Local 30 v. Helms Express, Inc., 591 F.2d 211 (3rd Cir. 1979) in support thereof. Certainly Helms is pertinent to Plaintiff's position. The authority of the Eastern Conference Joint Area Committee is underscored by the Court of Appeals' decision; however, the instant action takes the issue one step further by pitting the established authority of the Eastern Conference Joint Area Committee against the contractually designated authority of the Arbitrator. Plaintiff rejects the equating of "an ad hoc arbitrator . . . possessing general authority to decide certain grievances under the contract, with a designated standing committee (the ECJAC) with sole power to approve or disapprove work standards under the Agreement." However, the contract does not substantiate this position. Article 46, Section 1 clearly delineates the process for the resolution of "any grievance, complaint or dispute . . ." Section 1, subparagraph d provides:
"Deadlocked cases, except those involving discharge, shall be submitted to the ECJAC for decision. When a case involves a matter of discharge, the Local Union may . . . appeal the matter to arbitration . . . . The Board of Arbitration shall have jurisdiction and authority to interpret, apply, or determine the compliance with the provisions of this Agreement but the Board of Arbitration shall not have jurisdiction or authority to add to, detract from or alter in any way the provisions of the Agreement."