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BASF WYANDOTTE CORP. v. LOCAL 227

July 2, 1984

BASF WYANDOTTE CORPORATION, Plaintiff, against LOCAL 227, INTERNATIONAL CHEMICAL WORKERS UNION, AFL-CIO, JOSEPH LaMOUNTAIN, President and in his individual capacity, and ROGER SCALES, Secretary and in his individual capacity, Defendants.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: MINER

ROGER J. MINER, D.J.

MEMORANDUM-DECISION and ORDER

 I

 This action involves an alleged violation of the provisions of section 302 of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 186. Jurisdiction in this Court is invoked pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1337. Plaintiff BASF Wyandotte Corporation ("BASF"), an employer within the meaning of 29 U.S.C. § 302, seeks a declaration that certain payments it has contracted to make to representatives of defendant Local 227, International Chemical Workers Union, AFL-CIO ("Union") are prohibited by the proscription found in § 302 (A)(2), 29 U.S.C. § 186(A)(2). *fn1" Defendants LaMountain and Scales are the past president and secretary, respectively, of defendant Union. Before the Court is plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a).

 II

 BASF maintains a chemical manufacturing facility in the City of Rensselaer, New York. It has operated that plant since April 1, 1978. Defendant Union has been the exclusive bargaining representative of the production and maintenance workers at the plant since the 1940s and has continued in that capacity since the purchase of the plant by BASF.All of the Union's approximately 200 members are employed by BASF at the Ronsselaer facility.

 The dispute herein concerns a "no-docking" provision in the collective bargaining agreement between these parties. Stated simply, a no-docking provision allows an employee to take time off from work without any loss of pay.

 According to the Union, its two primary officers are its president and its secretary. At the time this action was commenced, those positions were held by defendants LaMountain and Scales, respectively. Prior to BASF's acquisition of the Rensselaer facility, these officers were permitted an aggregate of six hours a day, without loss of pay, to attend to union business. In 1978, however, the parties re-negotiated this no-docking term to provide for a maximum aggregate of only four hours a day, and in 1981, this no-docking provision was continued in a subsequent collective bargaining agreement. The no-docking provision is contained in Article II, § 4 of the collective bargaining agreement and provides in part:

 Official representatives of the Union shall be permitted time as necessary during scheduled working hours to attend meetings with the Company. Representatives released for these purposes shall be paid for time spent in attending meetings with the Company to the extent that time spent at these meetings is during their regularly scheduled working hours, at their regular basic straight time rate, exclusive of all premiums and differentials.

 The Company will permit the Union President and/or Secretary time off to an aggregate of four (4) hours each day for the purpose of conducting union business during normal working hours on Company property, and will pay the time at regular basic straight time rate, exclusive of all premiums and differentials. *fn2"

 Pursuant to this agreement, both the president and secretary of the Union were paid for an eight-hour day, notwithstanding that some of these employees' time presumably was spent on other than "company" business. The officers were not paid for time spent in excess of an eight-hour day, nor were they compensated for time spent away from company premises.

 In September of 1982, BASF informed LaMountain and Scales that, notwithstanding the bargained for no-docking provision, BASF no longer would make payments to union officers for time spent on union business, with the limited exception of payments made for actual time spent meeting with management. The notice was given pursuant to BASF's conclusion that payments to union officials for time spent on union business, other than at actual meetings with management, are proscribed by the provisions of 29 U.S.C. § 186(a).

 Based on this refusal by BASF to honor the no-docking provision, as well as certain other antagonistic actions taken by BASF, the Union filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB"). On February 15, 1984, an administrative law judge ("ALJ") found that BASF's repudiation of the no-docking agreement constituted an unfair labor practice within the meaning of 29 U.S.C. § 1581(a)(1), (5). *fn3" The ALJ found specifically that he was without jurisdiction to determine ...


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