On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (D.C. Civil No. 83-0909)
Before HUNTER, GARTH, and HIGGINBOTHAM, Circuit Judges.
This case arises from a suit brought under § 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185(a) (1982). Essentially, this appeal requires us to determine three things: whether the district court correctly characterized an agreement between Chemical Leaman Tank Lines, Inc. ("Chemical Leaman") and Local 773 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters ("the Union") as a collective bargaining agreement; if not, whether disputes as to the meaning and application of the agreement were encompassed within the arbitration provisions of the Union's collective bargaining agreements with Chemical Leaman; and if so, whether the grievance committee's decision concerning the application of the agreement should be set aside in a § 301 action against Chemical Leaman and the Union. Appellate jurisdiction is based upon 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) (1982). For the reasons stated below, we will vacate and remand.
Chemical Leaman is a trucking concern that hauls liquid and dry products as a common and contract liquid and dry products as a common and contract carrier. Prior to December 31, 1975, Chemical Leaman operated a liquid and two cement products terminals in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Chemical Leaman's two cement terminals were located in Stockertown and Nazareth; its liquid terminal was located across the street from the Nazareth cement terminal. Although teamsters Local 773 represents all of the cement and liquid drivers in collective bargaining, they are organized into two bargaining units. During the relevant period, the cement drivers at Stockertown and Nazareth were covered by a succession of multi-employer, multi-union collective bargaining agreements, known as the "Eastern Area Cement Haul Agreement" or "Cement CBA." A separate succession of multi-union agreements, known as the "Eastern Area Tank Haul Agreement," or "Liquid CBA," covered the Nazareth liquid drivers. The collective bargaining agreements covering the two bargaining units are nearly identical.
As a result of the dwindling cement hauling market, Chemical Leaman closed its Nazareth cement terminal on December 31, 1975, and moved the cement drivers to the Nazareth liquid terminal. Because the drivers belonged to different bargaining units, the cement and liquid drivers retained their separate identity and assigned work at the terminal according to separate seniority lists.*fn1 Chemical Leaman desired the eventual combination of the two seniority lists to reduce both the administrative burden and the threat of strikes presented by the two list system.
Although its cement work continued to decline, by early 1977 Chemical Leaman's liquid hauling business increased to the point where it required additional liquid drivers at Nazareth. Believing this increase presented the opportunity to consolidate the two seniority lists, Chemical Leaman representative Raymond Snyder met with one of the Union's business agents, Edward Tonkay, to draft a proposal allowing the Nazareth cement drivers to transfer to the bottom of the liquid seniority list before the company hired additional liquid drivers. An April 27, 1977 letter from Mr. Snyder to Mr. Tonkay outlines the proposal, and provides, in relevant part:
1. As agreed, we will post a bid allowing cement drivers to move on a permanent transfer to the bottom of the Nazareth Liquid seniority list.
2. Their position on the liquid list shall be in keeping with their company seniority, however, Tank seniority shall prevail for all purposes and no "dovetailing" shall take place.
3. Daily dispatch shall be by Tank seniority and men bidding from cement to liquid shall be dispatched from the bottom of the liquid list.
There will be no claim to cement work beyond what is commonly recognized as "on-call" status. Men remaining on the cement list will be dispatched, as in the past, in keeping with the cement contract.
Mr. Snyder then dictated a notice addressed to the Nazareth cement drivers that was subsequently posted in the Nazareth terminal on May ...