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BUTTRY v. GENERAL SIGNAL CORP.

December 22, 1994

LINDA BUTTRY and RICHARD LACEY, Plaintiffs,
v.
GENERAL SIGNAL CORPORATION, and NEW YORK AIR BRAKE CORPORATION, and GLASS, MOLDERS, POTTERY, PLASTICS AND ALLIED WORKERS INTERNATIONAL UNION, AFL-CIO, CLC, LOCAL NO. 78B, AND GLASS, MOLDERS, POTTERY, PLASTIC AND ALLIED WORKERS INTERNATIONAL UNION, AFL-CIO, CLC, Defendants.


FREDERICK J. SCULLIN, JR., U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE


The opinion of the court was delivered by: FREDERICK J. SCULLIN, JR.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

 This matter is before the court on defendant Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers International Union, CLC's ("International Union") motion for summary judgment from plaintiffs' claims of breach of duty of fair representation under the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 159 and breach of the collective bargaining agreement under § 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185.

 FACTS

 In late 1990 and early 1991, General Signal became interested in selling its Watertown, New York subsidiary New York Air Brake Company ("New York Air Brake"), and the subsidiary's three units: a brake unit, a pump unit and a foundry unit. Plaintiffs were employed by New York Air Brake in its pump unit and were represented by Local 78B. Local 78B was party to a collective bargaining agreement with New York Air Brake. Other workers at the pump unit were represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local No. 761 ("Machinists Union").

 In January 1991, General Signal sold part of its subsidiary, the brake unit, to Knorr Brake Holding Corp ("Knorr"). The unions, anticipating a sale of the pump unit, negotiated a supplement to the collective bargaining agreement with Knorr, New York Air Brake and General Signal, that provided union members a one-time opportunity to transfer to the new company should the pump unit be sold or otherwise moved out of Jefferson County by April 8, 1992. The Machinists Union entered into its supplemental agreement in January 1991; Local 78B entered into a similar supplemental agreement on February 5, 1991.

 One year later, on February 14, 1992, General Signal announced that it was closing its pump unit and that such closing would be completed by late 1992. That same day, Knorr announced that it would not honor the transfer rights claiming that the requirements of the supplemental agreement were not met because the plant would not close prior to April 8, 1992. On February 19, 1992, Local 78B and International Union representatives and Local 78B members, including plaintiffs, met to discuss the transfer rights under the supplemental agreement. The International Union unequivocally stated its position that the supplemental agreement was inapplicable and that it would not pursue transfer rights for its members. Local 78 did nothing. Plaintiffs did not initiate grievance procedures to enforce their transfer rights. Plaintiff Lacey was permanently laid off on September 4, 1992; plaintiff Buttry on October 30, 1992.

 In the meantime, the Machinists Union, in an effort to pursue transfer rights for its members, filed a grievance with General Signal and Knorr. Knorr immediately sought a judicial declaration of its rights under the Machinists Union's supplemental agreement and the Local 78B supplemental agreement, making Local 78B a party to the action. On June 5, 1992, Knorr, Local 78B, General Signal, and the Machinists Union entered into a stipulation to arbitrate the rights of the parties under the supplemental agreements. Neither the International Union nor Local 78B appeared in the arbitration, although clearly their representatives were called to testify on behalf of the other parties.

 Ultimately, on March 30, 1993, the arbitrator issued his award concluding that the supplemental agreement did provide the Machinists Union with transfer rights and ordering Knorr to honor such rights. The award did not, however, address Local 78B's transfer rights under its supplemental agreement, and Knorr has not honored the transfer rights of plaintiffs. Plaintiffs' attempts to intervene in the proceedings to confirm the arbitration award were denied.

 DISCUSSION

 I. STANDARDS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

 Summary judgment is appropriate only when the moving party shows that no genuine issue of material fact exists as a matter of law. See, e.g., Fed.R.Civ.Proc. 56(c); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 227, 250 (1986). An unresolved factual issue is one that a reasonable ...


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