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PIANO & MUSICAL INST. W.U., L. 2549 v. W.W. KIMBALL

September 13, 1963

THE PIANO AND MUSICAL INSTRUMENT WORKERS UNION, LOCAL NO. 2549 OF THE UNITED BROTHERHOOD OF CARPENTERS AND JOINERS OF AMERICA, AFL-CIO, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
W.W. KIMBALL COMPANY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Parsons, District Judge.

During that period of time between October 1, 1960, and October 1, 1961, defendant and the plaintiff Union were parties to a collective bargaining agreement covering the wages, hours, and working conditions of Kimball's production and maintenance employees. In August of 1961, Kimball decided to discontinue its Melrose Park, Illinois, operation and to transfer the same to French Lick-West Baden, Indiana. Pursuant to this decision, Kimball began the process of discharging all its employees at Melrose Park. The French Lick Plant began its operation on October 9, 1961, and on that date, nine days after the collective bargaining agreement had "terminated", Kimball began hiring new employees for its French Lick Plant, none of whom had been previously employed at the Melrose Park Plant.

The pertinent provisions of the collective bargaining agreement include the following:

Article III — Section 2:

  "6. When re-employment occurs employees will be
  called back to work in the order of their
  seniority.
  "9. Employees who are not recalled within two (2)
  years following a lay-off are deemed to have lost
  their seniority standing."

Article VIII — Section 1:

  "Any difference arising from the interpretation
  or application of this agreement between the
  parties hereto, which cannot be settled directly
  by the parties concerned, will be referred to a
  board of arbitrators. * * *"

Article XI:

  "It is understood that this agreement shall
  continue to be in full force and effect from 12
  noon, October 1, 1960, to October 1, 1961. * * *"

Plaintiff's filed a complaint on September 14, 1962, charging that defendant breached its collective bargaining agreement by refusing to hire at Kimball's plant in French Lick those employees laid off when Kimball's plant in Melrose Park was closed down.

In Count I of the complaint, the Union alleges that Kimball's refusal to hire and to grant vacation pay to certain employees created arbitrable disputes under the collective bargaining agreement and the Union demands that Kimball be compelled to submit the alleged disputes to arbitration. In Count II, the Union and the individual plaintiffs representing a class seek to obtain vacation pay for former Melrose Park employees and damages for wages allegedly lost because of Kimball's refusal to rehire the former Melrose Park employees at the French Lick Plant. And, in Count III, the Union seeks damages for membership dues allegedly lost as a result of the same refusal to rehire.

Insofar as Counts I and II seek vacation pay, the same have been dismissed pursuant to a stipulation of the parties filed on May 28, 1963. Consequently, all three counts are narrowed to the claim that defendant breached the collective bargaining agreement by failing to rehire the former Melrose Park employees at the French Lick Plant.

Plaintiffs have filed, as to Count I, a motion for judgment on the pleadings, which has been taken as a motion for summary judgment, and defendant has filed a motion for summary judgment as to all three counts.

It appearing that this Court has jurisdiction and that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact, the Court may thus proceed to rule upon the respective motions and issues of law thereby presented. The basic issue simply is whether or not there is any arbitrable dispute or difference arising from ...


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