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Local 787, Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers v. Collins Radio Co., 317 F.2d 214 (5th Cir. 1963) (full-text).
Factual Background Edit
The union and Collins entered into a collective bargaining agreement, effective Julv 1, 1960. The contract provided for arbitration in the event of a grievance arising between Collins and current employees. The contract expressly excluded arbitration as a means for settling any grievances arising out of pre-contract occurrences. In September 1960, the union protested Collins treatment of thirty-eight former employees, all of whom were dismissed before the present agreement was executed. The union sought to arbitrate this grievance.
In order to compel arbitration, the union had to affirmatively prove that a controversy did exist. To do this, they had to introduce evidence showing that these thirty-eight men had regained their status as employees subsequent to the July lst agreement. If the union could not establish this, no controversy would exist since only grievances arising subsequent to the contract date could be settled by arbitration.
The union introduced a printout that listed the names of these thirty-eight men as employees who paid union dues during July and August. The printout was introduced solely for the purpose of showing that arbitration was appropriate, and not to prove any issue in the dispute.
Appellate Court Proceedings Edit
The court determined that, since the union had introduced evidence on the question of arbitration, the court could hear all evidence pertaining to that single issue. Though at this point in the proceedings the court could not weigh the evidence, it could nevertheless determine whether there was any evidence to establish a legitimate grievance. The court determined that all the remaining evidence and testimony indicated that none of the thirty-eight men had been employed subsequent to July 1, 1960. Thus, the union's evidence failed to establish a controversy and the denial of their motion to compel arbitration was proper.