ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA -- SCRANTON
Before: ALDISERT, GIBBONS and HIGGINBOTHAM, Circuit Judges
Eberle Tanning Company (the Company), a Pennsylvania corporation engaged in the business of tanning and distribution of leather, appeals from an order of the District Court dismissing its complaint without prejudice. The defendants, Section 63L, FLM Joint Board, Allegheny Division, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and Joint Council No. 3, FLM Joint Board (the Union), are the collective bargaining agents for the non-supervisory production and maintenance employees in the Company's Westfield, Pennsylvania plant. The Company's complaint was brought pursuant to section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, 29 U.S.C.§ 185, for compensatory and punitive damages resulting from an alleged breach of a collective bargaining agreement between the Company and the Union. The complaint alleged that the Union violated the no-strike clause of the agreement by engaging in a seven day cessation of work beginning on April 7, 1981. The District arbitration under the agreement, and dismissed the complaint without prejudice. We affirm, and hold that the District Court properly dismissed the complaint without prejudice because the dispute was arbitrable.
The Union has been the exclusive collective bargaining agent for the Company's production and maintenance workers for many years. The most recent collective bargaining agreement, in effect from August 25, 1979 to January 20, 1983, contains a standard no-strike clause (Section 9)*fn1 and a grievance and arbitration procedure. Section 13A defines a grievance as "any complaint of an alleged violation of this agreement or any dispute concerning the meaning and application of any provision of the agreement." App. 39. Section 13B of the contract provides that the parties shall proceed in resolving grievances in the following manner:
Step 1. An employee having a grievance shall report such grievance to his departmental steward who may thereafter discuss the matter with the employee's foreman. If the grievance is submitted to the foreman by the departmental steward and it is not settled within three (3) workdays and further discussion is desired, the grievance will be reduced to writing on the form provided for this purpose and delivered to the employee's foreman.
Step 2. The grievance will then be taken up by the departmental steward with the Plant Superintendent. If there is no settlement within three (3) workdays after the Plant Superintendent receives the written grievance, and further discussion is desired.
Step 3. The Shop Committee and representatives of the COMPANY will discuss the matter and attempt to settle the grievance. If it is not settled within seven (7) calendar days after the conclusion of the discussion referred to in Step 2 above,
Step 4. settlement shall then be attempted between the representatives of the International Union and the executives of the COMPANY.
Id. Section 13C provides that representatives of the Company and the Union shall meet monthly to discuss unsettled grievances. Finally, Section 13D provides for final and binding arbitration of unresolved disputes:
D. Arbitration. Should the grievance remain unsettled, either party may refer it to a three (3) man Board of Arbitration.
The party requesting arbitration must notify the other party in writing by registered mail within ten (10) days after the conclusion of the discussions referred to in Step 4 in "B" of this section, of its desire to arbitrate. . .
An award of the majority of the members of the Board shall be final and binding. Payment of the Chairman's charge for his services and expenses will be ...