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International Union, United Mine Workers of America v. Racho Trucking Co.

opinion filed: March 9, 1990.

INTERNATIONAL UNION, UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA
v.
RACHO TRUCKING COMPANY; GEORGE RACHO TRUCKING COMPANY, APPELLANT



On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (D.C. Civil Action No. 88-245).

Hutchinson and Nygaard, Circuit Judges, and DuBois, District Judge.*fn*

Author: Hutchinson

Opinion OF THE COURT

HUTCHINSON, Circuit Judge.

I.

Appellant George Racho Trucking Company (Racho Trucking) appeals an order of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The order denied its motion for summary judgment and granted the International Union of United Mine Workers of America's (UMWA's or Union's) cross-motion for summary judgment in the UMWA's three consolidated actions to enforce, as binding labor arbitration awards, three decisions of the Anthracite Board of Conciliation (the Conciliation Board or the Board). The Board had upheld the UMWA's position in three grievances filed against Racho Trucking.

Racho Trucking is an employer signatory to the 1985 version of the collective bargaining agreement that governs relations between anthracite-producing companies and UMWA-represented workers in the anthracite industry. The Conciliation Board is an entity the companies and the Union first created in 1903 to help settle grievances arising under the collective bargaining agreement reached in that year. The 1903 collective bargaining agreement was the first collective bargaining agreement between the anthracite-producing companies of northeastern Pennsylvania and the UMWA.

From 1903 until 1975, the language of successive collective bargaining agreements between the anthracite producers and the UMWA plainly gave the Conciliation Board the power that a compulsory labor arbitrator has to settle disputes over the interpretation and application of a collective bargaining agreement. In 1975, the language changed. The changes were carried over into the 1985 agreement that controls this case.

Racho Trucking contends that the language changes converted the Conciliation Board from an arbiter to a mediator. On cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court disagreed with Racho Trucking, construed the new language as effecting no essential change in the Conciliation Board's power and granted the UMWA's request for enforcement of the Conciliation Board's three decisions against Racho Trucking.

In the face of the 1985 agreement's language, we conclude the district court could not properly rule, as a matter of law, that the 1985 agreement continued the pre-1975 power of the Conciliation Board to act as the final arbiter of grievances. Instead, we think that the 1985 agreement's changed language with respect to the Conciliation Board's power requires factual interpretation of what the parties intended the textual changes to mean. Therefore, the district court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the UMWA.

In support of its motion for summary judgment, Racho Trucking introduced material evidence to bolster its contention that only an umpire, and not the Conciliation Board, can act as the final arbiter of grievances under the 1985 collective bargaining contract. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, governing practice on motions for summary judgment, does not permit a non-moving party to rest on its allegations in the face of a moving party's evidence that would, if unrefuted, entitle the moving party to judgment. Instead, the non-moving party must produce countervailing evidence sufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact. Racho's Trucking's production of the texts of earlier agreements in support of its interpretation of the collective bargaining contract's grievance provisions would entitle it to summary judgment if otherwise unrefuted. The UMWA failed to produce countervailing evidence sufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact supporting its interpretation of the collective bargaining contract's grievance and arbitration provisions. Therefore, Racho Trucking was entitled to summary judgment.

Accordingly, we will reverse the district court's order granting summary judgment to the Union and remand these consolidated cases with instructions to enter an order granting summary judgment in favor of Racho Trucking so that these disputes can proceed to hearing before an umpire.

II.

The 1985 agreement contains a four step grievance ...


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