769 F.2d 330 (6th Cir. 1985), 83-3392, Adkins v. International Union of Elec., Radio & Mach. Workers, AFL-CIO-CLC

Docket Nº:John J. ADKINS, et al., (83-3392, 83-3416),
Citation:769 F.2d 330
Case Date:July 18, 1985
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
 
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Page 330

769 F.2d 330 (6th Cir. 1985)

John J. ADKINS, et al., (83-3392, 83-3416),

Plaintiffs-Appellants, Cross- Appellees,

v.

INTERNATIONAL UNION OF ELECTRICAL, RADIO & MACHINE WORKERS,

AFL-CIO-CLC; Local 801, International Union of

Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers,

AFL-CIO-CLC, Defendants-Appellees,

General Motors Corporation, Defendant-Appellee, Cross-Appellant.

ASSOCIATION OF FRIGIDAIRE MODEL MAKERS, et al., (83-3754,

83-3793), Plaintiffs- Appellants, Cross-Appellees,

v.

INTERNATIONAL UNION OF ELECTRICAL, RADIO & MACHINE WORKERS,

AFL-CIO-CLC; Local 801, International Union of

Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers,

AFL-CIO-CLC, Defendants-Appellees,

General Motors Corporation, Defendant-Appellee, Cross-Appellant.

FORMER FRIGIDAIRE EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION, et al., (83-3820),

Plaintiffs- Appellants,

v.

LOCAL 801, INTERNATIONAL UNION OF ELECTRICAL, RADIO &

MACHINE WORKERS, AFL-CIO- CLC; et al.,

Defendants-Appellees.

Nos. 83-3392, 83-3416, 83-3754, 83-3793 and 83-3820.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

July 18, 1985

Submitted May 9, 1985.

Rehearing Denied Aug. 20, 1985 in Nos. 83-3392 and 84-3416.

Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc Denied Sept. 17, 1985 in

Nos. 83-3754 and 83-3793.

Page 331

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 332

Irving I. Saul, Irving I. Saul Co., L.P.A., Dwight D. Brannon, Dayton, Ohio, for Adkins, et al.

J.R. Wheatly, General Motors Corp., Detroit, Mich., Richard F. Rice, Kettering, Ohio, Joseph P. Buchanan, Dayton, Ohio, Carole W. Wilson, Washington, D.C., for GMC.

David L. Hall, Slicer, Hall & Slicer, Dayton, Ohio, for Association of Frigidaire Model Makers and Former Frigidaire Employees Ass'n, et al.

Before ENGEL and MARTIN, Circuit Judges, and PHILLIPS, Senior Circuit Judge.

BOYCE F. MARTIN, Jr., Circuit Judge.

These cases are all hybrid section 301/unfair representation claims stemming from the layoffs of various groups of employees by General Motors Corporation. Because all the cases evolve out of the same set of facts and present related issues concerning the application of the six-month statute of limitations adopted in DelCostello v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 462 U.S. 151, 103 S.Ct. 2281, 76 L.Ed.2d 476 (1983), they were consolidated for decision. We affirm in the Adkins and Frigidaire Employees cases and remand in the Model Makers case.

The General Motors facilities involved in this litigation were originally operated by its then Frigidaire Division in the cities of Moraine and Dayton, Ohio. At the time, Frigidaire manufactured household appliances and automobile air conditioners. In these plants all hourly rated employees were represented by Local 801 of the International Union of Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers, AFL-CIO-CLC, and all were paid wages keyed to the automobile industry, rather than the lower wages of the appliance industry.

In 1971, General Motors was able to negotiate a lower wage scale for its appliance workers in the Frigidaire Division. In exchange, these workers were allowed to "flow," or transfer, to the higher-paying automotive jobs as openings occurred, and to flow back to the appliance jobs to avoid layoffs when business declined, bumping less senior appliance workers if necessary. In 1974, the automobile air conditioner facilities were split off from Frigidaire into the Delco Air Conditioning Division, now Harrison Radiator Division, but the flow arrangement with the Frigidaire appliance workers was retained. In 1976, the parties memorialized the flow arrangement in a Bridge Agreement, which was due to expire in September 1979. This agreement provided that Frigidaire workers would retain their flow rights until all employees were given an opportunity to transfer to Delco and 900 new Delco workers were hired. Through 1979, some 2000 Frigidaire employees had transferred to Delco and some 3500 Frigidaire employees had retained but not exercised their flow privileges under the Bridge Agreement. During this period 2500 new Frigidaire employees had been hired after January 1, 1977, and held no rights under the agreement.

Page 333

In 1979, General Motors decided for economic reasons to sell the Frigidaire Division to White Consolidated Industries, retaining just the physical plants. The current employees also were not part of the sale. The plants were to be converted to the production of diesel engines and the assembly of light trucks under the company's Chevrolet Division. The conversion process was expected to take at least two years, during which time all their Frigidaire employees in these plants would be laid off, except for a few skilled craftsmen involved in the conversion.

The Unions and General Motors negotiated the effects of the layoff in a series of meetings held between January 31 and February 20, 1979. General Motors obtained its major objectives--termination of the Bridge Agreement and the right to lay off by product line rather than by seniority. The International Union also won its major objectives: laid-off Frigidaire workers would be hired in the new Chevrolet plants with unbroken seniority, and the International Union and Local 801 would continue to be the bargaining representatives of these new Chevrolet Division employees. Apparently General Motors had planned on this in any case. But...

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