416 F.2d 655 (6th Cir. 1969), 17878, Ramsey v. United Mine Workers of America

Docket Nº:17878, 17879.
Citation:416 F.2d 655
Party Name:George RAMSEY et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA, Defendant-Appellee. TENNESSEE PRODUCTS & CHEMICAL CORPORATION, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA, Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:September 26, 1969
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

Page 655

416 F.2d 655 (6th Cir. 1969)

George RAMSEY et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants,






Nos. 17878, 17879.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit.

September 26, 1969

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Edward L. Carey, Harrison Combs, Willard Owens, Washington, D.C., E. H. Rayson, Knoxville, Tenn., M. E. Boiarsky, Charleston, W.Va., for appellee.

John A. Rowntree, Knoxville, Tenn., Van Deveer, Brown, Siener & Walker, Sizer Chambliss, Chattanooga, Tenn., A. Allan Kelly, Kelly & Cameron, William M. Ables, Jr., South Pittsburg, Tenn., for appellants.




After consideration of these appeals by a panel of this court, rehearing en banc was granted. Upon rehearing, the court was evenly divided as to affirmance or reversal of the District Court. Accordingly, the judgment of the District Court stands affirmed. The opinions of Judge EDWARDS for affirmance and Judge O'SULLIVAN for reversal, respectively are filed with this order.

EDWARDS, Circuit Judge, with whom PHILLIPS, Chief Judge, and PECK and COMBS, Circuit Judges, concur. These cases are on appeal from judgments entered in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Southern Division, which dismissed the joint complaints of plaintiffs-appellants coal operators against

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defendant-appellee United Mine Workers.

They are the latest appeals in this circuit which present the conflicts between the national policy opposing trusts and monopolies (Sherman Antitrust Act §§ 1 and 2, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1, 2 (1964)), and the national policy favoring collective bargaining (National Labor Relations Act § 1, 29 U.S.C. § 151 (1964); Norris-LaGuardia Act §§ 1, 2 and 5, 29 U.S.C.§§ 101, 102, 105 (1964); Clayton Antitrust Act §§ 6 and 20, 15 U.S.C.§ 17 (1964), 29 U.S.C. § 52 (1964)). Plaintiffs are coal operators in southeastern Tennessee who allege that defendant, United Mine Workers of America, entered into a national conspiracy with certain major coal producers to create a monopoly, to suppress competition, and to drive plaintiffs (and other marginal operators) out of business.

At the outset we note that of all the major coal companies, whose economic interests defendant is alleged to have conspired to serve, none were joined as co-defendants at trial.

In all controlling respects the issues presented by these appeals are identical with the major issues in the Pennington cases which have been the subject of original trial, judgment, and affirmance by this court, Pennington v. United Mine Workers, 325 F.2d 804 (6th Cir. 1963) reversal and remand by the United States Supreme Court, Pennington v. United Mine Workers, 381 U.S. 657, 85 S.Ct. 1585, 14 L.Ed.2d 626 (1965), retrial and judgment, Lewis v. Pennington, 257 F.Supp. 815 (E.D.Tenn.1966), and affirmance of judgment on retrial by this court, Lewis v. Pennington, 400 F.2d 806 (6th Cir. 1968), cert. denied, 393 U.S. 983, 89 S.Ct. 450, 21 L.Ed.2d 444 (1968). The opinions of Justice White in the Supreme Court remand of Pennington, of Judge Peck in the latest consideration of Pennington by this court, and the opinion of Judge Wilson, who tried these cases without a jury and entered thorough findings of fact and carefully reasoned conclusions of law, Ramsey v. United Mine Workers, 265 F.Supp. 388 (E.D.Tenn.1967), should serve to foreshorten our appellate consideration.

Appellants present three questions before this court:

1. Does the Sherman Act place any restraints on national collective bargaining?

2. Should the court have found there was an agreement between UMW and BCOA that uniform labor terms would be imposed on all bargaining units throughout the industry?

3. Should the court have concluded that there was an illegal combination or conspiracy between UMW and business groups, even if the proof were insufficient to establish a specific agreement to apply uniform terms industry-wide?

Only the last two of these questions are pertinent to decision of the instant appeals. And we decline the invitation to write an advisory opinion on the first question seeking to interpret or expand on the views of the United States Supreme Court, as particularly expressed in Pennington v. United Mine Workers, 381 U.S. 657, 85 S.Ct. 1585 (1965); Allen Bradley Co. v. Local 3, IBEW, 325 U.S. 797, 65 S.Ct. 1533, 89 L.Ed. 1939 (1945), and United States v. Hutcheson, 312 U.S. 219, 61 S.Ct. 463, 85 L.Ed. 788 (1941).

The second issue requires us to determine whether or not the Supplemental Agreement of 1958 (the Protective Wage Clause) between the Bituminous Coal Operators Association (BCOA) and the United Mine Workers of America (UMW) constituted an express or per se violation of the antitrust laws. The specific language complained of follows:


'The United Mine Workers of America (which, as used in this Clause, includes all of its Districts, Local Unions, Officers or Agents) and the Operators signatory hereto affirm their intention to maintain the integrity

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of this contract in all of its parts. The objective of this contract is to provide the maximum possible continuity and stability of employment under the conditions set forth herein. The parties hereto agree that bituminous coal mines shall be so operated as not to debase or lower the standards of wages, hours, safety requirements and other conditions of work, established by this contract. The parties recognizing their obligation each as to the other to exercise all possible efforts and means to attain these objectives further agree as follows:

'A. During the period of this Contract, the United Mine Workers of America will not enter into, be a party to, nor will it permit any agreement or understanding covering any wages, hours or other conditions of work applicable to employees covered by this Contract on any basis other than those specified in this Contract or any applicable District Contract. The United Mine Workers of America will diligently perform and enforce without discrimination or favor the conditions of this paragraph and all other terms and conditions of this Contract and will use and exercise its continuing best efforts to obtain full compliance therewith by each and all the parties signatory thereto.

'B. It is recognized that when signatory operators mine, prepare, or procure or acquire under subcontract arrangements, bituminous coal mined under terms and conditions less favorable than those provided for in this contract, they deprive employees of employment opportunities, employment conditions and other benefits which these employees are entitled to have safeguarded, stablized and protected. Accordingly, the Operators agree that all bituminous coal mined, produced, or prepared by them, or any of them, or procured or acquired by them or any of them under a subcontract arrangement, shall be or shall have been mined or produced under terms and conditions which are as favorable to the employees as those provided for in this Contract.

"Procured or acquired under a subcontract arrangement' means any contract, lease, license, agreement, arrangement or understanding pursuant to which the signatory operator acquires coal, either as principal or agent, directly or indirectly from a producer other than such signatory for delivery to a person other than such signatory.

'The obligation assumed hereunder shall not affect any agreement in effect as of the date of execution of this contract: Provided, however, that any operator signatory hereto who is a party to any agreement inconsistent with the obligations assumed hereunder shall not maintain such inconsistent agreement in effect beyond the first date at which such agreement may be terminated by him in accordance with its terms.

'The Operators signatory to this agreement shall so conduct their own operations (whether operated directly or indirectly, or through subsidiaries or affiliates) so as to fully comply with their obligations under this Clause. The obligation of each Operator signatory hereto, which is several and not joint, to fully perform all the conditions in this paragraph B contained, shall be a direct and continuing obligation of said Operator during the life of this Agreement.

'As a part of the consideration for this Agreement, the Operators signatory hereto agree that this Clause covers the operation of all the coal lands, coal producing or coal preparation facilities owned or held under lease by them, or any of them, or by any subsidiary or affiliate at the date of this Agreement, or acquired during its term which may hereafter (during the term of this Agreement) be put into production or use. The said Operators agree that they will not lease, license, or contract out any coal lands, coal producing or coal preparation facilities

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as a subterfuge for the purpose of avoiding the application of this Clause.' (Emphasis added.)

Defendant sought to persuade the District Court, and now seeks to persuade us, that this language taken in the historic context of the bargaining relationship constitutes an express undertaking by defendant to impose the BCOA-UMW wage scale on all nonsignatory coal operators in order to force some (including plaintiffs) out of business.

We simply do not find language to support this contention. The italicized portions of the disputed agreement clearly indicate that it is expressly limited in its effect to its signatories.

Further, as Judge...

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