General Warehousemen and Helpers Local 767 v. Standard Brands, Inc., Nos. 75-3797

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore BROWN, Chief Judge, TUTTLE, WISDOM, THORNBERRY, COLEMAN, GOLDBERG, AINSWORTH, GODBOLD, MORGAN, CLARK, RONEY, GEE, TJOFLAT, HILL, FAY, RUBIN, and VANCE; COLEMAN; TUTTLE, Circuit Judge, with whom WISDOM, GOLDBERG, ALVIN B. RUBIN and VANCE
Citation579 F.2d 1282
Parties99 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2377, 84 Lab.Cas. P 10,825 GENERAL WAREHOUSEMEN AND HELPERS LOCAL 767, affiliated with International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. STANDARD BRANDS, INC., Defendant-Appellee. GENERAL WAREHOUSEMEN AND HELPERS LOCAL 767, affiliated with International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, Plaintiff-Appellant Cross-Appellee, v. STANDARD BRANDS, INC., Defendant-Appellee Cross-Appellant.
Docket NumberNos. 75-3797,76-1579
Decision Date15 September 1978

Page 1282

579 F.2d 1282
99 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2377, 84 Lab.Cas. P 10,825
GENERAL WAREHOUSEMEN AND HELPERS LOCAL 767, affiliated with
International Brotherhood of Teamsters,
Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of
America, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
STANDARD BRANDS, INC., Defendant-Appellee.
GENERAL WAREHOUSEMEN AND HELPERS LOCAL 767, affiliated with
International Brotherhood of Teamsters,
Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of
America, Plaintiff-Appellant
Cross-Appellee,
v.
STANDARD BRANDS, INC., Defendant-Appellee Cross-Appellant.
Nos. 75-3797, 76-1579.
United States Court of Appeals,
Fifth Circuit.
Sept. 15, 1978.

Page 1284

James L. Hicks, Jr., Dallas, Tex., for plaintiff-appellant in both cases.

William L. Keller, Allen Butler, William F. Carroll, Dallas, Tex., for defendant-appellee in both cases.

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Before BROWN, Chief Judge, TUTTLE, WISDOM, THORNBERRY, COLEMAN, GOLDBERG, AINSWORTH, GODBOLD, MORGAN, CLARK, RONEY, GEE, TJOFLAT, HILL, FAY, RUBIN, and VANCE, Circuit Judges.

COLEMAN, Circuit Judge.

This suit was brought under § 301(a) of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185(a), by a Teamsters local, the appellant here, to enforce an arbitration award. A preliminary injunction was denied by the District Court. The Teamsters appealed that denial, but before we could hear the appeal the District Court reached the merits and denied enforcement of the arbitration award. This, too, was appealed. Standard Brands, Inc., cross appealed, asserting additional grounds for refusing to enforce the award. The appeals were consolidated. A divided panel of this Court reversed the District Court and ordered enforcement of the award, General Warehousemen and Helpers Local 767 v. Standard Brands, Inc., 5 Cir. 1977, 560 F.2d 700. Rehearing En banc, sought by Standard Brands, was granted.

The arbitration process was, itself, regular and had been pursued in accordance with the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement. The complication is that the Remedy prescribed by the arbitrator required the employer to violate the terms of another of its collective bargaining agreements with a bargaining unit duly certified by the National Labor Relations Board.

We affirm the denial of enforcement for the arbitrator's award, but we remand the case for further proceedings not inconsistent herewith.

I. THE FACTUAL BACKGROUND OF THE CASE

The basic facts are not in dispute. Standard Brands manufactures, among other things, margarine. Since at least 1943 it has operated a manufacturing plant in Dallas, Texas. Apparently, this plant was

Page 1285

quite old; it had been used by various companies for nearly fifty years. Standard had never owned it, however, but had operated it under a series of leases. It appears that there was no room for expansion of the three manufacturing lines: two quarter-pound (stick) margarine lines and one whipped (stick) margarine line.

At the outset of this litigation, some 48 Dallas employees of Standard were represented by the Teamsters local. Of this 48, three had over 30 years of service, five others had over 20, and eighteen others had more than 10 years. The Dallas agreement between the Teamsters and Standard, effective for the period May 1, 1973 April 30, 1976, contained provisions protecting the rights of the employees if the Dallas operations should be "transferred permanently to a new or existing plant . . . ." The provisions of that contract, which play a crucial role in the disposition of this case are printed in the margin. 1

As had been its custom, Standard executed a three-year extension of its lease on the Dallas plant on October 30, 1970. Sometime thereafter, Standard began searching for a new plant site in the Dallas area. The search narrowed to Denison, Texas some 75 miles away and on October 14, 1973, Standard announced selection of a tract of land at Denison. Shortly before this announcement, Standard entered into a letter agreement with the owners of the Dallas property for a one-year lease, with an option to renew for two additional one-year periods. On October 25, 1974, Standard exercised the first of its two Dallas options. A week later, November 1, 1974, the Denison plant was formally opened.

The potentially adverse impact of the Denison plant was not lost on the Dallas employees or their union. As early as November 8, 1973, the Teamsters formally began efforts to obtain information from Standard and to arrange a solution to what they perceived to be a serious problem. A long series of letters and a few brief conversations between the Teamsters and

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Standard produced little more than Standard's disclaimer that it had any intention of closing the Dallas plant at that time. A more formal letter, propounding questions concerning the future of the Dallas plant, received a response from Standard that operations would not be transferred or eliminated, either immediately or in the near future.

Standard, however, did intend to open some lines to produce quarter-pound stick margarine at Denison. The original plans called for those lines, and machinery was ordered for two lines, with delivery scheduled for the summer of 1974. By the latter part of August, 1974, all of the machinery for one line had been received and stored in the Denison production area, and Standard had closed the bidding for the installation work. For reasons not revealed in the record, the Company suddenly made a decision to store this machinery in a warehouse and not to install it at that time.

The Teamsters, who seemingly had been content with the earlier answers to its specific questions, grew more anxious about the developing situation and, in August, fired off a series of letters to various Standard Brands officials. In one of these letters, dated August 27, the Teamsters demanded that the Dallas employees have job rights at the Denison plant. A brief response by Standard was followed by another letter from the Teamsters dated September 16. Apparently, Standard sent no further response. On the very day that the Denison plant opened, November 1, officials of Standard met with several Teamsters representatives in Dallas and reiterated their lack of knowledge of any plans to close the Dallas plant. On November 15, the Teamsters demanded transfer rights for 30 Dallas employees, but they received no response. Six days later, the Teamsters filed a grievance which asserted that the operation of the new plant would result in the closing of the old one and which sought to protect the contractual rights of the Dallas employees in that event.

The arbitrator, Professor Charles J. Morris, did not hold his first hearing until February 28, 1975, after several other important events had taken place.

At Denison, a second union, the International Association of Machinists, began an organizing campaign as soon as the plant opened. On December 6, 1974, it filed an election petition with the NLRB. Teamster representatives were notified, the NLRB held a hearing at Fort Worth, and all the parties (Standard, the IAM, and the Teamsters) entered into a consent agreement that the Board should conduct an election at the Denison site. The Teamsters appealed, arguing that the Dallas employees should be entitled to vote in that election, but the NLRB on January 14, 1975, ruled that the election should be held. The IAM won the January 23 election by a vote of 19-4, and after a series of Teamster appeals the NLRB ordered on May 22, 1975, that the IAM be certified as the exclusive bargaining agent for the Denison employees. By June 8, Standard and the IAM signed a contract covering the employees in the certified unit. This contract was to expire June 11, 1978.

The arbitrator held two formal hearings in February and March, took extensive testimony, received numerous exhibits and comprehensive briefs, and personally visited the Dallas plant. The arbitrator received appropriate notice of the events detailed in the preceding paragraph, as well as a copy of Standard's September 2, 1975, announcement of its intention to close the Dallas plant effective one month later. Standard claimed that its decision to close the Dallas plant was due to managerial changes, a radical downturn in the sales of margarine, and economic unfeasibility of continued operation at the Dallas plant. On September 20, the arbitrator rendered his decision, sustaining

Page 1287

the grievance. He found that in response to the union's requests the company had failed to provide the adequate and honest disclosures that the law required, that Standard had not provided the reasonable notice and opportunity to fill the Denison jobs to which the Dallas employees were contractually entitled, and that Standard had "discriminated against the Dallas employees because of their union membership and activities. . . ."

The arbitrator was convinced that these breaches of the collective bargaining agreement warranted a thoroughgoing remedy, in which he avowedly attempted to balance the rights of the Dallas employees against those of the Denison employees, who, of course, were not parties to the dispute. He refused to order the displacement of any Denison employees. Instead, he ordered that all Dallas employees who desired to transfer be permitted to do so and that Standard provide suitable employment for such transferees on stick or bulk margarine lines (equivalent to the Dallas operations and equipment). In addition, Dallas employees not otherwise assigned were to have first preference for new jobs for which they were qualified. The transferees were to be given "superseniority", based upon the first day of Denison operations rather than the first day of their work in the new plant, and they were to receive "compensation and other benefits" under the provisions of the then extant Dallas Teamsters contract.

Standard refused to comply with the literal terms of the award, but it did...

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44 practice notes
  • Pilot Freight Carriers v. INTERN. BROTH., ETC., No. C-219-WS-72.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Middle District of North Carolina
    • July 23, 1980
    ...Board rulings, force the commission of an unfair labor practice. General Warehousemen & Helpers Local 767 v. Standard Brands, Inc., 579 F.2d 1282, 1291 (5th Cir. 1978), cert. denied, 441 U.S. 957, 99 S.Ct. 2420 (1979); Glendale Manufacturing Co. v. Local 520, ILGW, 283 F.2d 936, 938 (4th Ci......
  • Iron Workers Local No. 272 v. Bowen, No. 78-1789
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • August 25, 1980
    ...General Warehousemen & Helpers Local 767 v. Standard Brands, Inc., 560 F.2d 700, 707-08 n.8 (5th Cir.), rev'd en banc on other grounds, 579 F.2d 1282 (1978), cert. denied, 443 U.S. 913, 99 S.Ct. 3103, 61 L.Ed. 877 (1979) (citing United Steel Workers of America v. United States Gypsum Co., 4......
  • LOCAL NO. P-1236, ETC. v. Jones Dairy Farm, No. 79-C-377.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. Western District of Wisconsin
    • August 17, 1981
    ...arbitration awards because the award conflicted with public policy. See, e. g., General Warehousemen & Helpers v. Standard Brands, 579 F.2d 1282 (5th Cir. 1978) cert. denied, 441 U.S. 957, 99 S.Ct. 2420, 60 L.Ed.2d 1075, 443 U.S. 913, 99 S.Ct. 3103, 61 L.Ed.2d 877 (1979) (affirming district......
  • WILKES-BARRE, ETC. v. NEWSPAPER GUILD, ETC., Civ. No. 79-1181.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • June 25, 1980
    ...Box Co. v. Courtney, 368 U.S. 502, 513, 82 S.Ct. 519, 525, 7 L.Ed.2d 483 (1962); General Warehousemen Local 767 v. Standard Brands, Inc., 579 F.2d 1282, 1289 (5th Cir. 1978), cert. dismissed, 441 U.S. 957, 99 S.Ct. 2420, 60 L.Ed.2d 1075 (1979). Guild International, however, contends that it......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
44 cases
  • Pilot Freight Carriers v. INTERN. BROTH., ETC., No. C-219-WS-72.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Middle District of North Carolina
    • July 23, 1980
    ...Board rulings, force the commission of an unfair labor practice. General Warehousemen & Helpers Local 767 v. Standard Brands, Inc., 579 F.2d 1282, 1291 (5th Cir. 1978), cert. denied, 441 U.S. 957, 99 S.Ct. 2420 (1979); Glendale Manufacturing Co. v. Local 520, ILGW, 283 F.2d 936, 938 (4th Ci......
  • Iron Workers Local No. 272 v. Bowen, No. 78-1789
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • August 25, 1980
    ...General Warehousemen & Helpers Local 767 v. Standard Brands, Inc., 560 F.2d 700, 707-08 n.8 (5th Cir.), rev'd en banc on other grounds, 579 F.2d 1282 (1978), cert. denied, 443 U.S. 913, 99 S.Ct. 3103, 61 L.Ed. 877 (1979) (citing United Steel Workers of America v. United States Gypsum Co., 4......
  • LOCAL NO. P-1236, ETC. v. Jones Dairy Farm, No. 79-C-377.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. Western District of Wisconsin
    • August 17, 1981
    ...arbitration awards because the award conflicted with public policy. See, e. g., General Warehousemen & Helpers v. Standard Brands, 579 F.2d 1282 (5th Cir. 1978) cert. denied, 441 U.S. 957, 99 S.Ct. 2420, 60 L.Ed.2d 1075, 443 U.S. 913, 99 S.Ct. 3103, 61 L.Ed.2d 877 (1979) (affirming district......
  • WILKES-BARRE, ETC. v. NEWSPAPER GUILD, ETC., Civ. No. 79-1181.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • June 25, 1980
    ...Box Co. v. Courtney, 368 U.S. 502, 513, 82 S.Ct. 519, 525, 7 L.Ed.2d 483 (1962); General Warehousemen Local 767 v. Standard Brands, Inc., 579 F.2d 1282, 1289 (5th Cir. 1978), cert. dismissed, 441 U.S. 957, 99 S.Ct. 2420, 60 L.Ed.2d 1075 (1979). Guild International, however, contends that it......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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