356 P.2d 1 (Wash. 1960), 35310, Lucas Flour Co. v. Local 174, Teamsters, Chauffeurs and Helpers of America
|Citation:||356 P.2d 1, 57 Wn.2d 95|
|Party Name:||LUCAS FLOUR COMPANY, Respondent, v. LOCAL 174, TEAMSTERS, CHAUFFEURS & HELPERS OF AMERICA, an unincorporated association, Appellant.|
|Attorney:||MacDonald, Hoague & Bayless, Seattle, for appellant., Allen, DeGarmo & Leedy, Seattle, for respondent.|
|Judge Panel:||WEAVER, C. J., and MALLERY, HILL and FOSTER, JJ., concur.|
|Case Date:||October 13, 1960|
|Court:||Supreme Court of Washington|
This is an appeal from a judgment for the plaintiff in an action for damages, which arose out of the following facts.
The plaintiff, Lucas Flour Company, is a Washington corporation, principally engaged in the wholesale distribution of flour. The plaintiff employed members of the defendant, Local 174, Teamsters, Chauffeurs & Helpers of America, with whom the plaintiff had entered into a collective bargaining agreement on April 1, 1955.
In 1953, the plaintiff had employed one Melvin T. Welsch, who first worked as a truck driver and then as a warehouseman. His work was unsatisfactory in both capacities and on more than one occasion only the intervention of the union forestalled his discharge. On May 12, 1958, Welsch started a fork-lift truck, used in the plaintiff's warehouse, while it was in gear and caused it to run off the end of the warehouse floor onto the railroad tracks four feet below. The truck was extensively damaged, and Welsch was injured. [57 Wn.2d 97] While at home recovering from these injuries, Welsch received the following memo from the plaintiff:
'* * * The enclosed check covers your second week of vacation. We have dicided that it would be better to take next week off for part of your vacation and than [sic] should we be busy the following week I will call you, otherwise take the second week of your vacation and rest. * * *'
On the same day, May 23, Welsch went to see Floyed Anderson, business agent and vice-president of Local 174, and stated that he was ready to return to work. Welsch obtained a written release from his doctor pursuant to Anderson's advice. He presented the release to the secretary-treasurer of the plaintiff corporation, who told him to take the week off and that they would call him if they were busy the following week. Welsch reported this to Floyd Anderson who called the plaintiff's plant, and on the morning of May 27, 1958 sent a business agent to the plant. The business agent was informed that Welsch had been discharged for unsatisfactory work, and he reported this to Floyd Anderson by telephone. The business agent then called the plaintiff's employees out on strike and the plant was picketed. The picketing continued until June 4, 1958, when it was terminated by a temporary injunction issued by the superior court for King county. On September 11, 1958, the matter of Welsch's discharge was submitted to arbitration, and on November 11, 1958 the arbitrators made the following findings and award:
'1. That the work of Melvin T. Welsch was unsatisfactory prior to his discharge, in that he failed to carry
out his prescribed duties of keeping the warehouse clean and rotating the stock of merchandise; during his absences due to illness, he failed to notify the employer as to the reasons or when he expected to return; and failed to exercise proper care in the operation of a fork-lift truck, by starting the same while it was in gear and causing it to fall a distance of four feet from the warehouse floor to the railroad siding, thereby endangering his life and causing extensive damage to the truck.
[57 Wn.2d 98] '2. That such unsatisfactory work was the reason for Melvin T. Welsch's discharge on May 27, 1958.
'The Board hereby orders that the discharge of Melvin T. Welsch on May 27, 1958, was justified and that he is not entitled to reinstatement with his former...
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