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SEABOARD WORLD AIRLINES, INC. v. AIR TRANSP. DIV.

July 26, 1977

SEABOARD WORLD AIRLINES, INC., Plaintiff, against AIR TRANSPORT DIVISION, TRANSPORT WORKERS UNION OF AMERICA, AFL/CIO; TRANSPORT WORKERS UNION OF AMERICA, AFL/CIO, LOCAL 504; WILLIAM LINDNER, AS DIRECTOR OF THE TWU AIR TRANSPORT DIVISION; MICHAEL MANCINI, AS PRESIDENT OF TWU LOCAL 504; LOUIS FORTE; ANDREW STROLIGO, Defendants.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: NEAHER

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

NEAHER, District Judge.

 Plaintiff Seaboard World Airlines, Inc. ("Seaboard"), a Delaware corporation having its principal office in Jamaica, New York, is engaged in the international carriage of cargo by air. Defendants Air Transport Division, Transport Workers Union of America, AFL/CIO, and Transport Workers Union of America, AFL/CIO Local 504 (collectively, "TWU") are labor organizations representing airline mechanics, stock clerks, traffic agents and cargo service men employed by plaintiff. Plaintiff brought this action under Section 3, First (q) of the Railway Labor Act, 45 U.S.C. § 153, First (q), to set aside an award of the Seaboard World Airline System Board of Adjustment ("Adjustment Board") or to remand the award to the Adjustment Board for clarification. Defendants filed a counterclaim to affirm and enforce the award. Both sides have now moved for summary judgment.

 The contested award resulted from the Adjustment Board's consideration of the following issue:

 "When an employee receives an award from the Workmen's Compensation Board for Temporary Total Disability and Permanent Partial Disability is the Company entitled to any reimbursement of payments which it made to the employee?"

 Resolution of this issue turned on the proper interpretation of Article 19(A) and (B) of the collective bargaining agreement between Seaboard and the TWU, which provides:

 "ARTICLE 19 - OCCUPATIONAL ILLNESS OR INJURY

 "(A) In the event that an employee is disabled by an occupational illness or injury which is compensable under the applicable workmen's compensation laws, the employer shall pay to the disabled employee:

 "1. His normal wage (regular pay at straight time rates) for a period not to exceed fourteen (14) consecutive calendar days.

 "2. During any period of continued disability beyond fourteen (14) consecutive calendar days, eighty (80%) percent of the disabled employee's wage for an additional period not to exceed forty-five (45) consecutive calendar days.

 "(B) All workmen's compensation benefits that are received by the employee for the period of temporary total disability and during which the employer made payments in excess of the workmen's compensation benefits, shall be refunded by the employee to the employer. The refunding of benefits to the employer shall not apply to any workmen's compensation benefits received as an award for permanent injury, and which might exceed his total wages for the period of time lost from employment."

 The issue was presented to the Adjustment Board in the context of grievances filed by defendants Louis Forte and Andrew Stroligo, mechanics employed by Seaboard and represented by the TWU.Each grievant received an occupational job injury as to which the Workmen's Compansation Board granted him an award for both temporary total disability and permanent partial disability.

 In Stroligo's case, the Compensation Board found that he was totally disabled for 6-4/5 weeks. Since at that time compensation for a temporary total disability was $95.00 per week, Stroligo was awarded $646.00. In addition, the Compensation Board found that he had suffered a 20% loss of his left great toe. According to the schedule set forth in New York Workmen's Compensation Law § 15, such a permanent partial disability involving a great toe entitles an employee to 7-3/5 weeks of compensation at $80.00 per week. The Compensation Board then subtracted the period of the temporary total disability, 6-4/5 weeks, from the 7-3/5 weeks, and multiplied the remainder of 4/5 weeks by $80.00 to obtain an award of $64.00 for the permanent partial disability. When this was added to the award of $646.00, the total award came to $710.00.

 Forte's award followed a similar pattern. The Compensation Board granted him $266.00 for his temporary total disability, $328.00 for his permanent partial ...


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