County. Defendant has now moved for summary judgment on various grounds. Because there is no disputed issue of material fact, and for the reasons stated below, summary judgment is appropriate.
Plaintiff was employed by United Parcel Service (UPS) for sixteen (16) years, most recently as a deliveryman. Plaintiff is a member of the Teamsters union, which along with UPS is a signatory to the National Master Freight Agreement (NMFA) and Local Supplement. Plaintiff was covered by the UPS Pension Plan.
On three separate occasions, the first in 1976, plaintiff was institutionalized in mental hospitals. A portion of his medical expenses was covered by the benefits plan. Plaintiff asserts that his mental condition arises from an incident in 1976 when a close friend and coworker was killed in an explosion while unsuspectingly delivering a package bomb.
Plaintiff returned to work at UPS between bouts in the hospital. On December 15, 1981, plaintiff was again institutionalized. He applied for a disability pension but instead was discharged by UPS on January 28, 1982, allegedly for refusing to follow management's instructions.
Plaintiff filed a written grievance under the NMFA on February 3, 1982, protesting his discharge. On March 18, 1982 the Joint Committee issued a decision denying the grievance. Plaintiff did not appeal this decision.
Plaintiff filed this action in the state court on December 15, 1983. The complaint alleges that Plaintiff was discharged without just cause in violation of the NMFA for the purpose of depriving him of disability benefits under the UPS Pension Plan. This case was promptly removed to this court on the basis of diversity and federal question jurisdiction.
Plaintiff's complaint clearly states a claim for wrongful discharge in violation of a bargaining agreement, the NMFA. Defendant urges the six month statute of limitations for claims under the LMRA as a bar to this claim. DelCostello v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 462 U.S. 151, 103 S. Ct. 2281, 76 L. Ed. 2d 476 (1983). Plaintiff argues that this is only a breach of contract action and the Pennsylvania limitations period for contract actions should apply. 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 5525. Plaintiff ignores the fact the contract which he claims has been breached is a collective bargaining agreement. The claim is therefore appropriately characterized as one arising under the LMRA. 29 U.S.C. § 185.
It is now settled that a plaintiff must file suit under the LMRA within six months of the conclusion of grievance proceedings. DelCostello, 462 U.S. 151, 103 S. Ct. 2281, 76 L. Ed. 2d 476; Perez v. Dana Corp., 718 F.2d 581 (3d Cir. 1983) (6 month period applied retroactively); see also, Whipkey v. Anchor Hocking Corp., No. 83-1300, slip op. (W.D. Pa. Jan. 28, 1984). Plaintiff has undisputedly exceeded that time period, filing this suit more than twenty (20) months after the decision of the Joint Committee. Summary judgment in favor of defendant on this claim is therefore appropriate.
Plaintiff contends that his complaint also states a claim under ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq., alleging wrongful deprivation of his disability pension rights. Defendant insists that the complaint only states a claim under the LMRA because it challenges his discharge.
Defendant apparently forgets the contents of its own removal petition. Defendant there asserted federal question jurisdiction as a basis for removal because plaintiff's claim for pension benefits implicitly invoked ERISA.
ERISA provides various modes of civil enforcement in 29 U.S.C. § 1132. Furthermore, 29 U.S.C. § 1140 provides:
§ 1140. Interference with protected rights