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T. L. I., INC. v. GENERAL TEAMSTERS LOCAL UNION NO

April 15, 1981

T. L. I., INC., Plaintiff,
v.
GENERAL TEAMSTERS LOCAL UNION NO. 261, affiliated with International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: DIAMOND

Plaintiff, a party to a collective bargaining agreement between it and the defendant, brought this suit under § 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, 29 U.S.C. § 185, to vacate an arbitrator's award. Cross motions for summary judgment presently are before the court. Defendant's motion will be granted and the plaintiff's denied.

BACKGROUND

 Plaintiff, a company engaged in the business of leasing truck drivers as a contract labor service in the Western District of Pennsylvania, and defendant, a labor organization serving as the collective bargaining representative for the truck drivers employed by plaintiff, are parties to a three-year collective bargaining agreement which became effective November 25, 1978. That contract contains a detailed grievance-arbitration procedure providing for final and binding arbitration of unresolved grievances. Under Article 6, the arbitrator is given authority to apply the provisions of the agreement and to render a decision on any grievance coming before him, but he is specifically denied authority "to amend or modify (the) Agreement or to establish new terms and conditions under ..." it.

 The grievance underlying this suit was filed by the defendant which claimed that the plaintiff had violated the contract by refusing to include a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in the wage increases that under the agreement were to become effective November 24, 1979, the first anniversary date of the contract.

 Article 32, Section I, specifies the rates of pay for plaintiff's drivers effective November 25, 1978, and, in Notes 1 and 3 and 2 and 4 thereto, provides for rates of pay to become effective on the anniversary dates of November 24, 1979, and November 22, 1980, respectively. Notes 1 and 3 provide:

 
NOTE 1: Effective with the 24th day of November 1979, the hourly rate as reflected in "Column I" and effective/applicable prior to said date, shall be increased by the amount which has been negotiated/ratified and effective to the extent that it increased the rate which was effective prior to April 1, 1979; as specifically set forth in the document known as, or referred to as, the National Master Freight Agreement-Joint Council 40 Addendum.
 
NOTE 3: Effective with the 24th day of November 1979, the mileage rates as set forth in "Column I" shall be increased .5875( per mile in addition to the mileage increased amount as negotiated/ratified and effective to the extent that it increased the rate which was effective prior to April 1, 1979, as the mileage rate, as specifically set forth in the document known as, or referred to as, the National Master Freight Agreement-Joint Council 40 Addendum.

 Notes 2 and 4 are identical to 1 and 3 respectively, but pertain to the second anniversary date, November 22, 1980.

 When plaintiff implemented this Article by providing new wage rates to become effective on November 24, 1979, it only increased the rates by the amounts specified in the so-called "Joint Council 40 Addendum" and did not factor in the COLA provided for in "The National Master Freight Agreement" referred to in Notes 1 and 3. Defendant objected to this omission and filed a grievance which ultimately was submitted to arbitration. The grievance was sustained by the arbitrator in an Opinion and Award that stated in part as follows:

 
"I read the language of Article 32 to mean that any increases in hourly rate and/or mileage rate in the yet to be negotiated National Master Freight Agreement would become effective on November 24, 1980, (sic) regardless of the effective dates of such increases or whether they were stated increases, COLA or a combination thereof.
 
"In other words the November 24, 1979, hourly and mileage rates were to be increased by an amount equal to the National Master Freight rates then in effect less the rates which were effective prior to April 1, 1979."

 The contract referred to in Notes 1-4 as "The National Master Freight Agreement-Joint Council 40 Addendum" and sometimes in the arbitrator's opinion and herein as the "National Master Freight Agreement" became effective on April 1, 1979, and had not been negotiated yet when the local agreement here in question became effective approximately four months earlier on November 25, 1978, although a predecessor agreement, the format of which was essentially the same as the April 1, 1979, agreement, was extant.

 The foregoing facts are undisputed, as is the content of the collective bargaining agreement of November 25, 1978, and the arbitrator's Opinion and Award, which were attached as exhibits to the plaintiff's complaint, and the physical format and content of the "National Master Freight Agreement," attached as an exhibit to plaintiff's cross motion for summary judgment.

 The plaintiff contends that the Opinion and Award of the arbitrator should be vacated and set aside because the arbitrator acted beyond the authority granted to him by Article 6 of the local collective bargaining agreement and his award does not "draw its essence" from that ...


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