District Court had properly chosen the ninety-day period for the bringing of an action to vacate an arbitration award. The Supreme Court noted that employee's suit raised the same claim which was raised and decided before the Joint Panel -- a violation of the collective bargaining agreement. Therefore, the state statute of limitations applicable to an action to vacate an arbitration award controlled.
In Mitchell, the Supreme Court cited the position taken by the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit a few months earlier in Liotta v. National Forge Company, 629 F.2d 903 (3d Cir. 1980), cert. denied, 451 U.S. 970, 68 L. Ed. 2d 348, 101 S. Ct. 2045, 101 S. Ct. 2046 (1981), that the three-month statute of limitations contained in the Pennsylvania General Arbitration Act, Pa. Stat. Ann. Title 5, § 173 (Purdon 1963) (repealed 1980), governed the timeliness of an employee's § 301 claim against his employer for breach of a collective bargaining agreement and against his union for breach of the duty of fair representation. The court reached this conclusion by observing that "a fair reading of Liotta's complaint demonstrates that he seeks to vacate the arbitrator's decision." Id. at 905.
In the case sub judice, although plaintiff did not style his suit as one to vacate the award of the Joint Local Committee, a fair reading of the complaint demonstrates that he seeks exactly this. Paragraph 7 of his complaint raises the same claim as that heard by the Joint Local Committee, that defendant-employer was in breach of the agreement between it and defendant-union by employing non-union workers at its docks. Paragraph 12, regarding defendant-employer's unfair labor practices, alleges that the arbitration hearing itself was improper and unfair. Paragraph 13, regarding the union's breach of its statutory duty of fair representation, similarly alleges that the results were an unfair hearing and failure to enforce the agreement. Indeed, plaintiff seeks to litigate before the Federal District Court the same claim he presented for arbitration, that of a discharge in violation of the agreement. The thirty-day statute of limitations for an action to vacate an arbitration award applies and consequently bars this action brought after seventeen months.
This court's decision comports with the general federal policy favoring arbitration as a means of resolving labor disputes, United Steelworkers of America v. Warrior & Gulf Navigation Co., 363 U.S. 574, 578, 80 S. Ct. 1347, 1350, 4 L. Ed. 2d 1409 (1960), and with the federal labor policy that favors the application of shorter limitations period. In International Union, UAW v. Hoosier Cardinal Corp., 383 U.S. 696, 707, 86 S. Ct. 1107, 16 L. Ed. 2d 192 (1966), the Supreme Court stated that "relatively rapid disposition of labor disputes is a goal of federal labor law."
Courts in other jurisdictions have consistently applied the statute of limitations pertaining to appeals from arbitration awards rather than the longer statute of limitations governing actions grounded on written contracts when such actions seek to vacate arbitration awards. E.g. Barbarino v. Anchor Motor Freight, Inc., 421 F. Supp. 1003 (W.D.N.Y. 1976); DeLorto v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 401 F. Supp. 408 (D.Mass. 1975); Hill v. Aro Corp., 275 F. Supp. 482 (N.D. Ohio 1967).
The motion of the defendants to dismiss is GRANTED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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