The opinion of the court was delivered by: TROUTMAN
The plaintiff, Teamsters Local No. 429 Health and Welfare Fund (hereinafter the "Fund"), instituted this action pursuant to: (1) § 301 of the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947 (LMRA), 29 U.S.C. § 185, (2) the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq., as amended by the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980 (MPPAA), and (3) Pennsylvania's Wage Payment and Collection Law of 1961 (WPCL), as amended, Act of July 14, 1961, P.L. 637, 43 P.S. § 260.1 et seq. The Fund charges in its complaint that the defendant failed to contribute to the Fund for the month of January, 1985, as allegedly required by the collective bargaining agreement executed on January 1, 1982, by and between the defendant corporation and Local 773, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America (hereinafter the "Union"). The defendant in its answer denies that the collective bargaining agreement required any such contribution. It further claims that the plaintiff's action is barred by the principles of res judicata and/or collateral estoppel, that the action is barred by an arbitration award issued by Arbitrator Wayne E. Howard on September 25, 1985, pursuant to a grievance filed by the Union on the same issue, and that the plaintiff's pendent state law claim under Pennsylvania's WPCL is barred by the doctrine of preemption.
Presently before us for disposition are the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment.
Prior to addressing the plaintiff's claim that the defendant has failed to fulfill its contractual obligation to the Fund, we must first address the preemption issues raised by the defendant in its answer and cross-motion for summary judgment. We believe we must also relate the underlying, undisputed facts of this case so that our discussion of these issues might be better understood.
The collective bargaining agreements between the Union and the defendant prior to the execution of the 1982-85 labor contract had required the defendant to provide Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance coverage for all "eligible" employees. The defendant's contract with Blue Cross/Blue Shield annually expired on February 1. During negotiations to renew the contract which expired on December 31, 1981, the Union demanded, inter alia, that the Blue Cross/Blue Shield coverage be replaced by the Teamsters Health and Welfare Fund. When the parties failed to reach an accord by December 31, 1981, they agreed to extend the existing contract daily while negotiations continued and the employees continued to work. They reached an agreement as to the terms of a new contract on January 25, 1982. For purposes of "continuity", the commencement date of the new contract was back-dated to January 1, 1982. The contract was to expire on December 31, 1984.
The 1982-1985 agreement incorporated the Union's demand that the Blue Cross/Blue Shield coverage be replaced by the Teamsters Fund. Article XVI of the 1982-85 contract, entitled "Health, Welfare and Insurance Coverage", provided in its pertinent parts as follows:
The Employer hereby agrees to contribute to the Teamsters Local No. 429 Health and Welfare Fund the following monthly contributions for each eligible employee:
Effective February 1, 1982 -- $ 85.00 per month
Effective February 1, 1983 -- $ 95.00 per month
Effective February 1, 1984 -- $ 105.00 per month
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