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EASLEY v. NORTHERN SHIPPING CO.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


October 4, 1984

RONNIE EASLEY
v.
NORTHERN SHIPPING COMPANY

The opinion of the court was delivered by: SHAPIRO

FINDINGS OF FACT and CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

 NORMA L. SHAPIRO, J.

 FINDINGS OF FACT

 1. Defendant Northern Shipping Company ("Northern") operates a stevedoring and terminal service at 7777 State Road in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and employs in excess of 75 employees.

 2. Northern operates a maintenance department at its facility. Maintenance work is primarily performed in the Company's machine shop and in the Company's warehouse. Peter Bushman ("Bushman") has been the maintenance foreman since January 3, 1975.

 3. The employees who work in Northern's maintenance department are classified as maintenance helpers, second class mechanics, first class mechanics, electricians and painters.

 4. Plaintiff Ronnie Easley is a black male employed by Northern as a first class mechanic.

 5. Plaintiff was first employed by Northern on April 19, 1977 as a forklift operator and was assigned to the warehouse.

 6. During plaintiff's employment in the warehouse, he was neither issued any warnings nor subjected to any disciplinary actions.

 7. Plaintiff began working in Northern's maintenance department on August 28, 1978 and was assigned to the machine shop upon the recommendation of the defendant's President, Jack Rose. Plaintiff was classified as a maintenance helper.

 8. Plaintiff was promoted to the position of second class mechanic by defendant on September 25, 1978.

 9. Plaintiff was promoted to the position of first class mechanic by defendant on December 13, 1978.

 10. Throughout his employment in the machine shop, plaintiff was supervised by Bushman, a white male.

 11. Since December, 1978, the Company has regularly employed four first class mechanics, including plaintiff. The other first class mechanics have been Louis Montuoro, Arthur Santos and Guillermo Moreno.

 12. Since December, 1978, plaintiff has been the only black first class mechanic in defendant's machine shop.

 13. Northern's hourly employees, including plaintiff and the other employees who worked in the maintenance department, were represented for purposes of collective bargaining by the Northern Metal Company Employees' Association ("Association") from July 1, 1979 until approximately October 5, 1980. Northern and the Association were parties to a collective bargaining agreement ("Association Agreement"), effective July 1, 1979.

 14. Since approximately October 6, 1980, Northern's hourly employees, including plaintiff and the other employees who worked in the maintenance department, have been represented for the purposes of collective bargaining by Warehouse Employees' Union Local 169 ("Local 169"). Northern and Local 169 were parties to a collective bargaining agreement ("Local 169 Agreement"). Plaintiff was a shop steward for Local 169.

  15. The Company's supervisors were responsible for assigning overtime work. Since January 13, 1975, Bushman has been responsible for assigning overtime work to Northern's employees who work in the maintenance department.

 16. Between January, 1975 and December, 1980, Bushman assigned overtime work to the first class mechanics based on his personal assessment of their relative ability to perform the assigned work tasks.

 17. In the Fall of 1980, representatives of Local 169, including plaintiff, approached Company representatives and requested that the method of assigning overtime be changed. The Union requested that overtime assignments for maintenance employees be made on a rotation system.

 18. Commencing in the Fall of 1980, the Company implemented a rotation system for the assignment of overtime for maintenance department employees. Under this rotation system, all overtime was assigned in turn. After an employee was offered overtime work, he would be put to the bottom of the overtime rotation list and would not be offered overtime work again until all other first class mechanics had been offered the opportunity for overtime work. The rotation system implemented in December, 1980 applied to all overtime work.

 19. In October, 1982, representatives of Local 169, and the employees who worked in the maintenance department, requested that the Company modify the rotation system. The Union and the employees requested that there be separate rotations for weekday and weekend overtime assignments. Commencing in October, 1982 the Company modified the overtime rotation system to include separate rotation systems for weekday and weekend work.

 20. Since the first rotation system was implemented in December, 1980, the Company has consistently made overtime assignments based on the rotation system. Where, however, it was determined that the individual employee was not qualified to perform a certain overtime assignment, another employee was assigned to perform that overtime.

 21. Article VII, Section 1 of the Association Agreement, which became effective July 1, 1979, states:

 

When it becomes necessary to work overtime, such overtime shall be divided as equally as possible among the employees involved.

 22. Article XI, Section 11.3 of the Local 169 Agreement states, in relevant part, that:

 

Overtime shall be distributed according to classifications as heretofore on the basis of skill and ability and divided as equally as possible among the employees within the classification, starting with the most senior employee. (Emphasis added)

 23. In 1979, plaintiff began regular complaints to Bushman regarding failure to assign him overtime work equal to the other first class mechanics. 24. Overtime hours worked by Easley and the other first class mechanics were as follows: Easley Montuoro Santos Moreno 1979 494.00 544.25 559.75 742.50 1980 350.00 403.00 626.00 793.00 1981 441.50 342.25 492.00 538.75

19841004

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