Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

TEAMSTERS LOCAL UNION NO. 776 v. RITE AID CORP.

November 19, 1985

TEAMSTERS LOCAL UNION NO. 776, Plaintiff,
v.
RITE AID CORPORATION, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CONABOY

 CONABOY, District Judge.

 We consider here Defendant's motion for summary judgment in the above-captioned matter. Our review of the record indicates that there is no dispute about any material fact *fn1" and that this Court must decide whether the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law as mandated in Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

 This lawsuit is a result of Plaintiff Bupp's dismissal from employment by Rite Aid Corporation, her employer of approximately seven (7) years. An arbitrator upheld the Company's decision to terminate Ms. Bupp and it is from this decision that she appeals. The Teamsters Union, Local 776, represents Ms. Bupp's interest in this appeal and alleges, inter alia, that her firing was in derogation of the progressive discipline requirement of the collective bargaining agreement between the parties and that, because her first "write-up" has been grieved but not ruled upon, it was erroneous for the arbitrator to find that her dismissal was justified by the requisite two infractions. *fn2"

 Our scope of review of an arbitrator's decision in this setting is very limited. It is now a venerable practice for district courts to afford great deference to decisions of an arbitrator whose judgment has been bargained for by the parties to a collective bargaining agreement. This has been so since the Supreme Court's decisions in the "Steelworkers Trilogy" in 1960. This deference to the arbitrator has been amplified in the Third Circuit by the rationale expressed in Ludwig Honold Mfg. Co. v. Fletcher and United Auto Workers, 405 F.2d 1123 (3rd Cir.1969), wherein the Court of Appeals stated at 1128:

 Three years later the Third Circuit stated in Swift Industries v. Botany Industries, Inc., 466 F.2d 1125, 1131 (3rd Cir.1972), that ". . . an award of an arbitrator is not subject to judicial revision unless it is completely irrational." That same year another district court declared: "Under Ludwig Honold it is the award rather than the conclusion or specific reasoning employed that a court must review." See American Can Company v. United Paperhangers and Paperworkers, 356 F. Supp. 495, 499 (E.D. Pa.1973). We think this to be a correct statement of the law. Thus, even if we disagree with the thought processes employed by the arbitrator to reach his determination, this will not justify vacating his award unless a showing can be made that said determination was completely irrational.

 Plaintiff's first argument is that the arbitrator's award must be vacated because it disregards the negotiated progressive discipline system in the agreement. *fn3" More specifically, it complains that, since the first violation of Rule 23 must be documented by a written reprimand, and since Ms. Bupp has grieved that reprimand *fn4" in another arbitration proceeding that has yet to be resolved, it cannot logically be said that the infraction of January 9, 1984 was her second such infraction and, thus, merited her termination under the contract.

 Defendant Rite Aid responds that, "The record not only demonstrates that the grievant maintained a poor overall work record during a span of several years but reveals that in addition to the written warning which the grievant received on November 7, 1983, she had also received a written warning dated October 7, 1983." Our review of this latter document *fn5" persuades us that it is both too informal and too ambiguously worded to constitute a written warning in terms of Rule 23. In other words, we can easily believe that upon reading this document, if it may be called a document, Ms. Bupp would not have had the impression that she had been cited with a formal warning.

 Rite Aid then goes on to argue that even if the "warning" of October 7, 1983 is found to be inadequate, the record is replete with documentation of numerous instances where Ms. Bupp's various supervisors found it necessary to counsel her for her unsatisfactory work pace. Our review of the exhibits and the arbitrator's findings compels this Court to agree. Ms. Bupp's work record is a sorry one at best. Moreover, although the Union argues that her poor production record was the result of physical problems (a shoulder injury and a bladder infection), *fn6" these maladies are mentioned almost as an afterthought. We find that the arbitrator's conclusion that Ms. Bupp had manifested a lengthy track record of deliberately refusing to give a "fair day's work" is, in view of the documentation, not only rational but supported by a preponderance of the evidence. Nevertheless, we decline to give our unequivocal sanction to his decision.

 Before issuing our Order in this dispute, we shall briefly address the second argument advanced by the Union on behalf of Ms. Bupp. That argument states: "The arbitrator's decision should be vacated because the arbitrator relied upon production quotas which are not to be found in the contract." *fn7" To say that this case is about production quotas is akin to saying that "Moby Dick" is about a whale. It is true but inaccurate. The Union has seized upon the fact that production quotas were discussed briefly at two places *fn8" in the arbitrator's opinion to claim that his decision erroneously relied upon production quotas which were not established by the contract. However, when one considers the totality of the arbitrator's analysis, it is plain that he mentioned production quotas not in the sense of some hard-and-fast number which people like Ms. Bupp had to achieve or face termination, but rather in the sense of substantially complying with an employee's duty to render a "fair day's work" and not being an impediment to the ability of co-workers to do the same thing. One need not be a genius to understand that, in a production line setting, if one person is repeatedly performing at less than 70% of the capacity of the average employee it places an undue burden on that person's co-workers. *fn9" We find, in short, that this case revolves around the issue whether Ms. Bupp intentionally restricted her production in violation of Work Rule 23. Concomitantly, we find that production quotas (quantifiable statistical standards which Rite Aid employees had to meet or exceed to keep their jobs) were not the focus of, or a significant factor in, this case.

 An Order consistent with the determinations reached ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.