Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

FOOD HANDLERS LOCAL NO. 425 v. ARK. POULTRY COOP.

December 15, 1961

FOOD HANDLERS LOCAL NO. 425, AMALGAMATED MEAT CUTTERS AND BUTCHER WORKMEN OF NORTH AMERICA, AFL-CIO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ARKANSAS POULTRY COOPERATIVE, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John E. Miller, Chief Judge.

On May 19, 1961, plaintiff filed its complaint against defendant seeking to restrain and enjoin defendant from violating a collective bargaining agreement, alleged to exist between plaintiff and defendant, by refusing to arbitrate the differences, disputes and complaints between plaintiff and defendant in connection with the discharge of one Arlie Bray, and that the court order the defendant to submit said differences, disputes and complaints to arbitration in accordance with the terms of the agreement.

On August 1, 1961, defendant filed its answer in which it admitted that a collective bargaining agreement was entered into on August 20, 1958, between plaintiff and defendant, and that the agreement covered such matters as hours, wages, rates of pay, dues deduction, job posting, seniority and discharges, but denied that the agreement was renewed and extended or that it was in force and effect after November 15, 1959, the date of expiration fixed by the terms of the contract.

The defendant alleged that the agreement contained a termination clause allowing either party to terminate said agreement by giving to the other 60 days notice prior to November 15, 1959, and that the plaintiff gave defendant notice of cancellation and termination by letters of September 5 and 8, 1959; that after said notice was given to the defendant, the parties entered into negotiations in an effort to agree upon the provisions of a new collective bargaining agreement, which meetings were held intermittently until April 17, 1961, at which time negotiations were terminated.

The defendant admitted that it discharged one Arlie Bray on or about January 31, 1961, and alleged that it bargained in good faith with plaintiff relative to such discharge, but denied that the collective bargaining agreement dated August 20, 1958, was in full force and effect as of January 31, 1961.

The case proceeded to trial to the court without a jury on November 13, 1961, and at the conclusion of the testimony and arguments of counsel for the respective parties, the case was submitted and taken under consideration, and now, having considered the ore tenus testimony of the witnesses with the exhibits to said testimony, and the briefs submitted in support of their respective contentions, this opinion is filed embodying the findings of fact and conclusions of law in accordance with Rule 52(a), Fed.R.Civ.P., 28 U.S.C.A.

The plaintiff is an unincorporated association, a labor organization and trade union engaged in representing employees for the purposes of collective bargaining, having its main office in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

The defendant is a corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the State of Arkansas, with its principal place of business at Bentonville, Arkansas, and is engaged in the processing of poultry.

The employees of the defendant had prior to August 20, 1958, been represented for several years by the plaintiff labor organization under a written contract. The last written agreement was entered into by the parties on August 20, 1958, and provided that it should be in full force and effect from July 21, 1958, to November 15, 1959, and that if the agreement was not canceled upon 60 days written notice prior to the anniversary date, it would be considered to be in full force and effect for each succeeding contract year.

On September 5, 1959, the president of the plaintiff wrote the manager of the defendant as follows:

    "Please accept this letter as notice of our desire
  to terminate the Labor Agreement between our
  organization and your company, covering the employees
  at the Bentonville plant. Such termination is for the
  purpose of negotiating a new agreement.
    "This is the 60 day written notice required by the
  labor agreement now in effect.
    "We shall be pleased to meet with you at your
  earliest convenience for the purpose of completing
  negotiations of a new labor agreement to replace the
  present one, prior to its expiration date."

On September 8, 1959, another letter was written by the president of the plaintiff to the manager of the defendant only for the purpose of substituting the word "cancel" for the word "terminate" in the letter of September 5, 1959.

The contract was introduced in evidence as plaintiff's Exhibit 1, and contained provisions fixing the hours, wages, rates of pay, and working conditions. It also contained provisions for job posting, seniority, and seniority lists, grievance procedure, insurance payments and check off of dues. After the notice of cancellation was given by plaintiff, the parties proceeded to negotiate from time to time, but were unable to agree upon a new contract. The chief question in dispute was wages.

During all of the negotiations between the parties the defendant continued to deduct or check off the dues of the various employees, maintained a seniority list, and settled some minor grievances.

Since the parties were unable to agree upon a new contract, the president of the plaintiff on September 16, 1960, submitted another letter (Plaintiff's Ex. 5), to the then manager of the defendant, in which he stated:

    "Inasmuch as the agreement between our organization
  and your company has been extended and the common
  expiration date is November 15, please accept this
  letter as notice that we desire to cancel the
  agreement now in effect for the purpose of
  negotiating a new agreement. We desire to meet and
  consummate a new agreement prior to the expiration
  date.
    "This is the 60 day notice required by Article XII
  of the agreement now in effect."

On January 31, 1961, prior to the termination of the negotiations, the defendant discharged the employee, Arlie Bray. The president of the plaintiff wrote the manager of the defendant on February 2, 1961 (Plaintiff's Ex. 8), as follows:

    "Please accept this letter as notice that our
  organization is submitting the grievance for the
  discharge of Arlie Bray to arbitration. It is my
  understanding from our telephone conversation, today,
  that you are refusing to re-instate this employee.
    "We contend the accident that occurred on January
  31, 1961, was not just cause for discharge.
    "It is also my understanding of the telephone
  conversation, that you are willing to waive Article
  3-A of the Agreement now in effect. We would be
  agreeable to use as arbitrator a professor from the
  University of Arkansas, who has had considerable
  experience in this work.

"May I hear from you at your earliest convenience."

On February 6, 1961, the manager of the defendant wrote the president of the plaintiff (Plaintiff's ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.