Arbitration - Dispute Involving Hazardous Working Conditions Is Within the Scope of Broad Arbitration Clause of a Collective Bargaining Agreement in Absence of Forceful Indication of Exclusionary Intent; Gateway Coal Co. v. United Mine Workers
The collapse of a ventilation structure substantially reduced the air flow into a mine operated 'by the Gateway Coal Co., seriously increasing the danger of accumulation of dust, flammable gas and possible explosion. Three assistant foremen, whose duties included checking and recording the airflow in the mine, made false entries in their logbooks that failed to disclose the reduced air flow. The three foremen were suspended, and criminal proceedings were instituted against them. While the charges remained pending, the Company, after receiving permission from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources, reinstated the foremen. Ruling that the continued presence of the foremen in the mines constituted a safety hazard, the union struck. Gateway then sought to arbitrate under the collective bargaining agreement. The Company invoked jurisdiction of the District Court under Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act. The District Court determined the issue arbitrable and thereby enjoined the strike and ordered immediate arbitration. On appeal, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuits reversed the judgment and vacated the preliminary injunction. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.6 In reversing the decision of the Appellate Court the Supreme Court determined that the presumption of arbitrability formulated by the Steelworkers' Trilogy applies to safety disputes; the collective bargaining agreement then in force between the parties imposed a compulsory duty to submit safety disputes to arbitration and this duty to arbitrate implied a no-strike obligation supporting the issuance of the injunctive order.
Royko, Raymond T.
"Arbitration - Dispute Involving Hazardous Working Conditions Is Within the Scope of Broad Arbitration Clause of a Collective Bargaining Agreement in Absence of Forceful Indication of Exclusionary Intent; Gateway Coal Co. v. United Mine Workers,"
Akron Law Review: Vol. 7
, Article 12.
Available at: http://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/akronlawreview/vol7/iss3/12