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RCA CORP. v. LOCAL UNION 1666 IBEW

April 8, 1986

RCA CORPORATION
v.
LOCAL UNION 1666 INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS, AFL-CIO and LOCAL LODGE NO. 1984 OF DISTRICT LODGE NO. 98, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MACHINISTS AND AEROSPACE WORKERS, AFL-CIO



The opinion of the court was delivered by: TROUTMAN

 TROUTMAN, S.J.

 RCA Corporation, on July 3, 1985, filed an action against the above defendants pursuant to Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations (Taft-Hartley) Act of 1947, 29 U.S.C. § 185, and the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201 and 2202, seeking relief in the form of, inter alia, an injunction directing the two defendants to participate in a "tripartite arbitration" to resolve a dispute over certain work assignments made by the plaintiff.

 The employees at RCA's Lancaster facility are represented by two labor unions, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, AFL-CIO, Local Union 1666 (hereinafter IBEW), and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO, Local Lodge No. 1984 of District Lodge No. 98 (hereinafter IAM), i.e., the two defendants. During 1983, RCA made a series of work assignments to employees represented by the IBEW. The IAM, claiming the work in question should have been assigned to its member employees, filed seven (7) grievances protesting said work assignments, and the grievances were processed according to the terms of the RCA-IAM collective bargaining agreement. (See Plaintiff's Complaint, Ex. B, Article 11).

 The IBEW, on February 10, 1985, filed a charge against the IAM with the president of the AFL-CIO, the parent of both locals, alleging the IAM had violated the organization's Constitution by filing the said grievances. The "Impartial Arbitrator" who heard the complaint held the IAM had not violated the AFL-CIO's Constitution; he made no finding, however, as to whether RCA had properly given the disputed work assignments to IBEW member employees. The IBEW has since refused RCA's request to participate in the arbitration of the grievances filed by the IAM. Likewise, the IAM has stated it would object to any such participation by the IBEW. Further, a representative of the IBEW has stated that should the decisions in the RCA-IAM arbitrations adversely affect IBEW member employees, then the IBEW will resort to the arbitration procedures provided for in the RCA-IBEW collective bargaining agreement. (See Plaintiff's Complaint, Ex. A, and Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, Affidavit of Donald L. Stein).

 The matter comes before us at this time for disposition of the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment. Based upon our review of the pleadings in this matter and the affidavit of Donald L. Stein, we find there exists no genuine issue as to any material fact precluding the entry of summary judgment in favor of any of the parties. F.R.Civ. P. 55(c). *fn1" The facts of this case are as we have stated above. Therefore, we address the legal issues raised by the parties' motions.

 The plaintiff, relying principally upon Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. (CBS) v. American Recording and Broadcasting Association, 414 F.2d 1326 (2d Cir. 1969), and its progeny within and outside the Third Circuit, argues that the considerations of practicality, economics and convenience require that the two defendants be compelled to submit to tripartite arbitration the seven grievances involved. (See Plaintiff's Complaint, Exs. C-1 through 7). RCA, naturally, seeks to avoid the dilemma of having to cope with inconsistent arbitration awards should the panel in the RCA-IAM arbitration rule in favor of the IAM and a future panel in an RCA-IBEW arbitration rule in favor of the IBEW. *fn2"

 The IAM objects to the intervention of the IBEW in the RCA-IAM arbitrations, and argues that, contrary to RCA's assertions, it is "virtually inconceivable" that the plaintiff would ever be faced with inconsistent arbitration awards. Therefore, the IAM contends that it would not be appropriate for this Court to order tripartite arbitration in this case. As authority, the IAM relies primarily upon Local 189, Service Employees Union v. Scot Lad Foods, Inc., 513 F. Supp. 839 (N.D. Ill. 1981). It also cites Armstrong World Industries, Inc. v. Garden Spot Lodge 928, et al., Civil Action No. 83-1963, slip op. (E.D. Pa. 1983), for the proposition that only if and when RCA is faced with such inconsistent awards should it be allowed to obtain tripartite arbitration.

 The IBEW argues it should not be forced to participate in the arbitration of the RCA-IAM dispute for a number of reasons. In its answer, the IBEW alleges this Court lacks jurisdiction to issue such an order. In its summary judgment motion, the IBEW first argues that because its collective bargaining agreement with RCA does not provide for submission of such disputes to tripartite arbitration, this Court cannot compel same. The IBEW next argues that since six (6) of the seven (7) grievances the plaintiff seeks to force it to participate in involve past and completed work which could have no prospective effect on the parties' relationships, the IBEW has "no reason to participate, as it has no stake in the proceedings." (IBEW's Brief at page 9). Third and finally, the IBEW argues it would be stripped of the procedural protections and benefits it enjoys under the RCA-IBEW contract if this Court granted the relief RCA seeks.

 We recognize, at the outset, that logic and common sense appear to dictate that this dispute be resolved by tripartite arbitration. Considerations of practicality, economics, efficiency, consistency and convenience weigh heavily in the plaintiff's favor. We also recognize and consider the defendants' vigorous arguments in support of their positions.

 
There is ample authority holding that § 301 gives the federal courts broad jurisdiction to deal with many types of controversies that arise between labor and management . . . This being so, the district court correctly found it had jurisdiction over a work assignment dispute between two unions when both unions had contracts with the same employer, and the employer, even though it does not claim a violation of either contract, seeks judicial action. (Citations omitted). Surely the taking of jurisdiction by the district court in the present dispute is in line with the overall national policy of furthering industrial peace by resort to agreed-upon arbitration procedures.

 Id. at 1328.

 The Third Circuit, unfortunately, has not had the opportunity to directly address the issues raised by this action and, thus, we have little guidance as to how our own Circuit would rule. The Third Circuit Court, however, has stated in dicta "it appears that on a proper record a District Court clearly would have the authority to provide for joint arbitration of a labor dispute". Window Glass Cutters v. American St. Gobain Corp., 428 F.2d 353 (3d Cir. 1970). See also Association of Scientists and Professional Engineering Personnel v. International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, 107 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2098 (E.D. Pa. 1980), aff'd without op., 639 F.2d 771, cert. den., 451 U.S. 908, 101 S. Ct. 1977, 68 L. Ed. ...


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