365 F.2d 651 (8th Cir. 1966), 18218, Brown v. Sterling Aluminum Products Corp.

Docket Nº:18218.
Citation:365 F.2d 651
Party Name:Holden BROWN, George House and George Wolff, Appellants, v. STERLING ALUMINUM PRODUCTS CORPORATION, a Missouri Corporation, Appellee.
Case Date:September 12, 1966
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
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Page 651

365 F.2d 651 (8th Cir. 1966)

Holden BROWN, George House and George Wolff, Appellants,

v.

STERLING ALUMINUM PRODUCTS CORPORATION, a Missouri Corporation, Appellee.

No. 18218.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

Sept. 12, 1966

Rehearing Denied Oct. 7, 1966.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Jerome J. Duff, St. Louis, Mo., for appellants.

Daniel Bartlett, Sr., of Bartlett, Stix & Bartlett, St. Louis, Mo., for appellee. William Stix and Daniel Bartlett, Jr., St. Louis, Mo., were with him on the brief.

Before VAN OOSTERHOUT, BLACKMUN and GIBSON, Circuit Judges.

GIBSON, Circuit Judge.

The appellants, Holden Brown, George House and George Wolff, as plaintiffs filed a complaint in the District Court

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for the Eastern District of Missouri, against Sterling Aluminum Products Corporation (hereinafter referred to as 'Company'), a Missouri corporation, engaged in activities which affect interstate commerce under the provisions of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947 (Act) 29 U.S.C. § 141 et seq., claiming a breach by the Company of a collective bargaining agreement (Agreement). The three plaintiffs were members of the employees' Shop Committee created under the agreement executed by the Union with the Company, and they claim the sole right to institute this proceeding as a class action, based on § 301 of the Act 1 (29 U.S.C.§ 185).

The District Court, after considering the matter on plaintiffs' motion for order of partial summary judgment and defendant's motion to dismiss, entered an order and judgment dismissing the complaint on the bases 'that plaintiffs have failed to state a claim upon which this court can grant relief,' that it did not have jurisdiction to grant the relief sought by plaintiffs, and laches. A motion for new trial was overruled and a timely appeal was taken to this Court.

The factual background of the complaint is as follows: The Company maintains and operates manufacturing plants in several states, including Missouri. Its plant at St. Charles, Missouri, was closed February 28, 1963 and similar operations commenced at a new location in Malden, Missouri. The plaintiffs were employed in the Foundry Department of the St. Charles plant, which department constituted a bargaining unit represented by the International Molders and Foundry Workers Union of North America, Local No. 59 AFL-CIO (Union). The Union and Company had entered into a collective bargaining agreement for a two-year period effective March 1, 1961 and extending through February 28, 1963. On December 26, 1962, the Company gave notice of termination of this agreement on the expiration date, February 28, 1963, in accordance with the provisions of the termination clause contained in Article XIV of the agreement and also in conformity with § 8(d)(1) of the Act (29 U.S.C. § 158(d)(1)). 2 Upon being advised of the Company's decision to terminate the agreement because of the Company's proposed and intended termination of all operations at its St. Charles plant and renewal or relocation of operations at Malden, Missouri, the plaintiffs, as members of the Shop Committee, attempted to bargain with the Company respecting its intention to relocate its plant. This attempt to bargain was before the agreement had expired, but the Company refused to so bargain. All foundry unit employees (approximately 220), together with all other units of employment at the St. Charles plant, were terminated on their contract termination dates, and the Company then commenced new operations at Malden, Missouri.

No unfair labor practice was filed with the National Labor Relations Board relative to the Company's unilateral action in closing the St. Charles plant and relocating at Malden, but the Union filed a suit against the Company on December 26, 1963, in the District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, based on the relocation of the Company's plant, asserting a breach of the agreement in denying recall privileges, pursuant to

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Article V, § 3(f) of said agreement. This suit, No. 63 C 450(c), was dismissed under a stipulation for dismissal with prejudice to the Union plaintiff and at plaintiff's costs on August 26, 1964.

Plaintiffs assert the right to file this action on behalf of themselves as members of the Shop Committee and on the behalf of all other employees in their bargaining unit similarly situated on the basis of §§ 8, 9 and 301 of the Act. They contend that their prospective loss of employment through the relocation of the plant gave rise to a grievance, on which they unsuccessfully sought to bargain with the Company under an agreement, and that since the Company refused to so bargain, the Court under the statutory provisions mentioned should enter an order directing the Company, 'To commence to attempt a satisfactory settlement of the various grievances alleged herein by bargaining with the plaintiffs * * * as provided in Article III, Sections 3 and 4 of the labor agreement'; and they also request the Court to restore the status quo ante to February 27, 1963 of the plaintiffs' employment by payment to plaintiffs and other employees in their unit $150 per week plus accrued interest and that such pay and contractual benefits be paid until such time as the parties have bargained and negotiated a satisfactory disposition of the grievances set out in the complaint. In their motion for partial summary judgment plaintiffs requested that the amount of $1,185,000 representing approximately one-half of the gross back wages claimed owing to approximately 220 employees for 110 weeks be secured by the posting of collateral by the Company.

The Company's motion to dismiss the complaint alleges: (1) lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter; (2) the remedies sought by plaintiffs are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the National...

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