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01/08/71 Dallas Mailers Union, v. National Labor

January 8, 1971

MAILERS UNION, PETITIONERS

v.

NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, RESPONDENT 1971.CDC.6 DATE DECIDED: JANUARY 8, 1971



McGowan, Tamm and Leventhal, Circuit Judges.

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT

Dallas Mailers Union, Local No. 143, and International

Rehearing Reported at: 445 F.2d 730 at 733.

APPELLATE PANEL:

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE TAMM

In this case petitioners ask us to review the decision and order of the National Labor Relations Board, which has cross-applied for enforcement of its order, which, among other things, directed the petitioners to rescind the act of expelling one Leon Colston from membership in their organizations, i.e., the Dallas Mailers Union, No. 143 (hereinafter "the Local") and the International Mailers Union (hereinafter "the International").

The dispute was poured into the legal conveyor belt as a result of an altercation occurring in the mailing room of the Dow Jones Company, Inc. between Leon Colston, the mailing room foreman, and Welmar Cantrell, one of the mailing room employees. Apparently Colston's promotion from a rank-and-file employee to foreman of the mail room was not enthusiastically greeted by many of the other employees, including Cantrell, who had previously been foreman for approximately 18 years. On one or more occasions, Colston criticized Cantrell's working habits in the mail room. Colston directed that Cantrell should step a distance of one foot or so from his self-selected position to pick up certain papers while Cantrell, on the other hand, claimed the job could be done while reaching from a flat-footed position. Out of such molehills are mountains made, and incredible though it may seem to those unlearned in the processes of administrative law, two years of proceedings have to date been devoted to this mini-spectacular.

The International pursuant to the request of the Local *fn1 agreed to assume jurisdiction of Cantrell's charge that Colston was acting in a manner unbecoming a union man by allegedly requiring Cantrell to perform duties not required of others. This charge referred to the stepping down or walking the one foot or so. Cantrell was told to send five copies of his charges to the International and a copy to Colston and Colston was told to send five copies of his reply to the International. On the advice of Dow, Colston refused to send a reply to the International. Because of his refusal Colston was expelled from the Union, *fn2 thereby losing the many benefits attached to membership therein.

The Board's General Counsel and Dow maintain that the charges brought against Colston and his expulsion from the Union were incidents of harassment by the Union against Colston designed to restrain and coerce Dow in its choice of a foreman to represent the Company in bargaining and/or in the adjustment of grievances all in violation of section 8(b)(1)of the National Labor Relations Act. *fn3 They also maintain that Cantrell should have followed the procedures for settling grievances set out in the contract between the Company and the Local. The Union characterizes the altercation as merely a personal feud between two of its members, thus bringing it within the Union's jurisdiction.

It is manifestly clear from reading the contract that such trivial disputes were not intended to require a hearing before a trial examiner, an appeal to the National Labor Relations Board and finally an appeal to us. Section 8 of the contract provides in pertinent part that "the foreman shall select and employ all help and shall direct, control and assign all employees in his department." (J.A. 69) In subsection (a) of section 9 of the contract it is stated:

There shall be a standing committee, called the Joint Standing Committee, composed of two representatives of the [Local] and two representatives of the [Company], to which committee shall be referred all disagreements, between the parties to this contract, concerning differences in the interpretation and enforcement of the terms of this contract, which cannot be settled by conciliation.

(J. A. 70.) It is provided further in subsection (d):

It is agreed that the procedures herein provided for settling disputes by arbitration shall be used to the exclusion of any other means available. It further being understood all arbitration decisions rendered under the terms ...


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