697 F.2d 718 (6th Cir. 1983), 80-3458, International Union, United Auto., Aerospace, Agr. and Implement Workers of America v. Dana Corp.

Docket Nº:80-3458.
Citation:697 F.2d 718
Party Name:INTERNATIONAL UNION, UNITED AUTOMOBILE, AEROSPACE, AGRICULTURAL AND IMPLEMENT WORKERS OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. DANA CORPORATION, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:January 10, 1983
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
 
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Page 718

697 F.2d 718 (6th Cir. 1983)

INTERNATIONAL UNION, UNITED AUTOMOBILE, AEROSPACE,

AGRICULTURAL AND IMPLEMENT WORKERS OF AMERICA,

Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

DANA CORPORATION, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 80-3458.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

January 10, 1983

Argued Oct. 18, 1982.

Richard Walinski (argued), Hayward, Cooper, Straub, Walinski & Cramer, John Czarnecki, Toledo, Ohio, Allen Siegel, Arent, Fox, Kinter, Plotkin, & Kahn, Washington, D.C., for defendant-appellant.

Gerald B. Lackey, Green, Lackey & Nusbaum, Joan Torzewski, Toledo, Ohio, John Fillion, Leonard R. Page, Detroit, Mich.,

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Leonard R. Page, M. Jay Whitman (argued), Associate Gen. Counsel, for plaintiff-appellee.

Before EDWARDS, Chief Circuit Judge, LIVELY, ENGEL, KEITH, MERRITT, KENNEDY, MARTIN, JONES, CONTIE, KRUPANSKY, and WELLFORD, Circuit Judges.

BOYCE F. MARTIN, Jr., Circuit Judge.

The Dana Corporation appeals a temporary restraining order and subsequent preliminary injunction issued by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. These mandates effectively prevented Dana from communicating with its employees regarding a United Auto Workers organizational campaign at one of Dana's subsidiaries. Although a panel of this court issued an opinion deciding this controversy on June 4, 1982, we granted a rehearing en banc in this case to settle important questions affecting labor-management relations. "The effect of the granting of a hearing en banc shall be to vacate the previous opinion and judgment of this court, to stay the mandate and restore the case on the docket as a pending appeal." 6th Cir.R. 14(a). We now discover that the parties have signed a Settlement Agreement resolving all the issues in the case. Consequently, we are compelled to dismiss the litigation as moot for lack of a justifiable case or controversy.

Dana, a corporation organized under Ohio law, enjoyed a relatively amicable relationship with the United Auto Workers from 1956 to 1979. In 1979 a Master Agreement, effective until December, 1982, governed the relations between Dana and its twelve thousand employees represented by the UAW. In a letter supplementing the Master Agreement Dana stated its intention to remain neutral if the UAW attempted to organize workers at Dana plants not then covered by the Agreement. Dana promised not to communicate with its employees in an "anti-union manner" but reserved the right to speak in a "pro-Dana manner." The Master Agreement provided that any disputes over its terms, including the neutrality promise in the supplemental letter, would be resolved through binding arbitration.

The amicable relationship between the parties began to deteriorate in December, 1979 when the UAW focused its efforts on organizing employees at the Wix Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dana in Gastonia, North Carolina. Benny Hoyle, President of Wix, openly opposed the union campaign; throughout the spring of 1980 he expressed his opposition in speeches and letters to Wix employees. Several days before the scheduled union election, the UAW obtained a temporary restraining order from the federal district court in Toledo, Ohio which prohibited Dana "from making anti-union or anti-UAW oral or written statements or other communications" to Wix employees. The court also ordered Dana to remove all anti-union materials from its bulletin boards and to submit to emergency arbitration.

Despite the court's order, Benny Hoyle continued his anti-union campaign. On the UAW's motion, the district court held Dana in contempt of the temporary restraining order, imposed a fine and ordered Dana to take specific steps to alleviate the impact of Hoyle's activities. At the end of June, 1980, the court issued a preliminary injunction pending arbitration. The preliminary injunction granted the same relief as the court's previous orders.

Dana appealed the preliminary injunction to this court. Between the date of oral arguments and the date of our first opinion in this case, several important events occurred. Dana and the UAW proceeded to arbitration as ordered by the district court. The arbitrator found that Dana breached its promise of neutrality and awarded relief incorporating most provisions of the preliminary injunction. The parties began to discuss compliance with the arbitration award and eventually signed a Settlement Agreement on June 3, 1981. Finally, on August 28, 1981, the National Labor Relations Board conducted an election at the Wix facility, which the UAW lost by a vote of 904 to 637, with 41 challenged ballots.

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The UAW brought the Settlement Agreement to our attention only after we had issued our initial opinion and had granted a rehearing en banc.

The parties dispute the meaning and effect of the following language in the Settlement Agreement:

I. LEGAL ACTION

  1. The UAW will withdraw all legal action from Federal Court in Toledo with the exception of the UAW's first Amended Complaint. The UAW will take whatever action is necessary in order to assist the Company in recovering the daily fine imposed by Judge Young. The UAW agrees that it will not change or modify their amended Complaint in Toledo, Ohio, or take any action to process that matter further. However, it is recognized that the union has a right to take further legal action for the sole purpose of determining the legality of neutrality in the pending litigation. Therefore, the UAW agrees and promises that it shall not seek nor take any action to impose, and will ask the court not to impose damages, fines or any other...

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