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Charles L. Feather v. United Mine Workers of America and District 2

decided: June 30, 1983.

CHARLES L. FEATHER T/A FEATHER TRUCKING, THOMAS V. PATTERSON, LAWTON TRUCKING, INC., D. P. ZIMMERMAN, JR., MICHAEL D. ROSE, DAVID B. SMOGYI, DONALD BENYACK, RUTH A. CORDES, ADMX. EST. EDWARD W. CORDES, JR., EVERETT C. TEETER, JR., T/A EVERETT C. TEETER TRUCKING, WILLIAM NILESKI AND ROBERT C. ERMIN, CROSS-APPELLANTS IN NOS. 82-5464 & 83-5327,
v.
UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA AND DISTRICT 2, UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA AND LOCAL 1600, UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA, APPELLANTS IN NOS. 82-5438 & 83-5326



ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA.

Adams and Weis, Circuit Judges and Debevoise, District Judge.*fn*

Author: Adams

Opinion OF THE COURT

ADAMS, Circuit Judge.

During the latter part of 1974, the United Mine Workers of America ("UMWA" or "the Union") and the Bituminous Coal Operators Association ("BCOA"), a multi-employer bargaining association of coal producers, renegotiated the National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement ("NBCWA"). The agreement contained a provision which prohibited coal haulers who were not signatories to the 1974 NBCWA from transporting coal from BCOA mines. A group of coal haulers brought this action seeking damages under the federal labor and antitrust laws for injuries allegedly caused by that clause. The district court concluded that the Union was liable under section 303 of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 187, but that the UMWA's conduct fell within the non-statutory labor exemption from the Clayton Act's treble damage provision. 15 U.S.C. § 15.

In this appeal, the Union does not question the determination of liability under section 301, but it does advance a number of contentions regarding the damage calculations under that section. The coal haulers have cross-appealed to contest the district court's holding that the Union is exempt from antitrust liability. We will affirm the district court on the antitrust issues and remand for further findings with respect to the damage calculations under section 301.

I.

The master collective bargaining agreement that covers unionized mines in Western Pennsylvania is the National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement. Prior to 1974, the NBCWA did not contain a provision that explicitly defined the work jurisdiction of the UMWA. When the Union began its preparations in 1974 to renegotiate the 1971 NBCWA, due to expire on November 11, 1974, one of its objectives was to eliminate the use of subcontractors to haul coal from the mines in order to ensure that the Union members would perform this task. The UMWA's initial set of contract proposals for its negotiations with the BCOA included a provision that would have banned all such subcontracting. The Union also sought new provisions regarding mine safety, sick leave, supplemental unemployment benefits and an overhaul of the grievance and arbitration procedures.

Formal negotiations with the BCOA began on September 3, 1974. They proceeded slowly because so much of the contract was being renegotiated. Forty-three separate sessions were held and the 1971 contract was ultimately expanded from 56 pages to 129 pages. On November 4, a strike became inevitable: the UMWA's constitution mandates a policy of "No Contract, No Work," and a minimum of eight days is required to conduct a secret ballot vote of the union membership on any proposed contract. The BCOA first agreed to the idea of including a work jurisdiction clause in the agreement of November 9, but rejected the union's proposal of a ban on all subcontracting. As an alternative, the BCOA proposed what ultimately became Article II(g) of the agreement, limiting the subcontracting of coal hauling to "contractors employing members of the UMWA under the [NBCWA]." The district court concluded that this provision violated Section 8(e) of the NLRA because it was a "hot cargo" clause, an agreement between an employer and a union that the employer will cease doing business with a third party. The court also determined that the union's original proposal would not have violated the Labor Act.

When the parties opened their bargaining session on November 11, 1974, the day before the 1971 agreement was to expire, they had reached agreement on only a few points. Issues still unresolved included mine safety, wages, shift differentials, certain fringe benefits, cost of living adjustments, pension contributions and health benefits. Many portions of Article II, the "Scope and Coverage" provisions, also remained unresolved, including Article II(g), the transportation of coal clause.

The UMWA strike against the BCOA mines began at 12:01 a.m. on November 12, 1974, when the 1971 agreement officially expired. A tentative agreement was reached on all issues by the negotiators on the morning of November 13, but the union leadership sought to renegotiate five issues in that agreement before having its members vote on the proposal. Not reconsidered was the clause dealing with the transportation of coal. The BCOA strike ended on December 6, 1974, when the agreement was ratified by the union membership and a final contract signed.

Many mines did not, however, reopen on that date. The coal mine construction companies and the unionized coal hauling companies who were signatories to the expired 1971 NBCWA, but who were not part of the BCOA, had not yet signed a new agreement with the UMWA. The union construction workers picketed the mines to protest the miners' returning to work before the construction contract was settled. Because many mine workers would not cross those picket lines, several BCOA mines did not reopen until December 23, when the construction agreement was signed.

During the time the UMWA was preparig for its negotiations with the BCOA, it also engaged in sporadic discussions with a group of the coal hauling companies that had signed the 1971 NBCWA. This group, the Western Pennsylvania Coal Haulers' Association ("WPCHA"), was seeking a separate contract in 1974, rather than have its members continue as signatories to the NBCWA. The negotiations with the WPCHA were not pursued with great vigor by either side until the BCOA strike ended.

In September 1974, the Union sent the WPCHA a copy of its initial proposals for the 1974 NBCWA that had been submitted to the BCOA. On October 11, 1974, the WPCHA made a counter-proposal concerning drivers' wages. On October 30, the WPCHA requested a 30-day extension of the 1971 NBCWA, which the union rejected. Accordingly, on November 12, when the NBCWA expired, the union struck the WPCHA as well as the BCOA. Because the agreement reached on December 6 covered only BCOA employees, the employees of WPCHA members continued their strike until the end of December. At that time, the Union agreed to extend the 1971 NBCWA for 30 days while negotiations continued. After 30 days, no agreement had been reached, and the strike resumed. Although the record is not explicit, it appears that the WPCHA members ultimately signed the 1974 NBCWA.

When the BCOA strike ended on December 6, 1974, the Union began its attempts to enforce Article II(g) of the 1974 NBCWA, the clause limiting coal hauling to companies that agreed to sign the 1974 NBCWA. Pickets were set up at BCOA mines using non-signatory haulers; union officials visited those haulers and informed them that they would not be permitted to haul unless they signed the 1974 NBCWA. Picketing and the visitations continued sporadically until the beginning of April 1975. The number of coal haulers who signed the NBCWA increased from 39 in the 1971 agreement to 366 in the 1974 agreement.

On July 23, 1976, eleven western Pennsylvania coal haulers filed this action against the international, the district, and the local unions (collectively "UMWA" or "the Union"), seeking damages resulting from the Union's attempts to force them to sign the 1974 NBCWA and to prevent BCOA members from using non-signatory haulers to transport coal. The first count, brought under section 303 of the NLRA, 29 U.S.C. § 187, alleged that the Union had violated sections 8(b)(4) and 8(e) of the Labor Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 158(b)(4) & (e), because Article II(g) of the 1974 NBCWA constituted an unlawful "hot cargo" clause. Counts II and III charged the Union with violating the federal antitrust laws. The district court certified the case as a class action on September 3, 1977.

The district court conducted a bench trial on the liability issues and, on June 27, 1980, found the Union liable on Count I, but exempt from liability on Counts II and III. The case was then referred to a magistrate to calculate damages for the plaintiffs. After hearings, the magistrate entered proposed findings as to the three plaintiffs involved in this appeal. In her report, she considered the union liable for damages from the date the BCOA strike began. She recommended that damages be awarded to the three plaintiffs and that pre-judgment interest be given to Beunier and Henderson, but not to H&H. The district court adopted the magistrate's recommendations in an order dated June 23, 1982.*fn1 Both sides appealed from that order.

Three hauling companies are parties to this appeal: Paul Henderson Trucking ("Henderson"), Ronald Beunier Trucking Company ("Beunier") and H&H Hauling Company, Inc. (" H&H"). Henderson, a signatory to the 1971 NBCWA, hauled coal almost exclusively for a BCOA member mine which was closed by the BCOA strike. Henderson at first refused to sign the 1974 agreement, but changed his mind, allegedly as a result of pressure, and signed the agreement on December 30, 1974. He did not haul coal from November 12 to December 30, 1974.

Beunier was a member of the UMWA, but his trucking company was not a signatory to the 1971 agreement. He hauled coal exclusive from BCOA mines, all of which were idled by the BCOA strike. During January and February, 1975, union representatives disrupted Beunier's hauling business, and threatened that he would not be permitted to haul coal if he did not sign the agreement. On February 24, 1975, Beunier signed the 1974 agreement.

H&H Hauling, a group of companies operated by William and Douglas Hanna, is the final plaintiff involved in this appeal. None of Hanna's companies, employees, or customers were affiliated with the UMWA at any time during these proceedings. None of H&H's businesses was ever asked to sign the 1974 NBCWA, and none of H&H's employees was asked to join the UMWA. A few days after the start of the BCOA strike, a number of individuals wearing UMWA logos on their clothing appeared at the Hanna garage and asked the Hannas not to haul during ...


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