Hines v. Anchor Motor Freight: Another Step in the Seemingly Inexorable March Toward Converting Federal Judges (and Juries) into Labor Arbitrators of Last Resort
Western New England University School of Law
Connecticut Law Review, Vol. 9, p. 627, 1977
This Article, directed to the courts, and especially to the federal bench, carries this message: you are in danger of converting the federal judiciary into a panel of labor arbitrators. The advance sheets of the federal courts are beginning to read like Labor Arbitration Reports. The kinds of disputes that in the past were resolved by private arbitration are beginning to appear at an increasing rate on the dockets of the federal courts: Did the company have just cause when it discharged the grievants for allegedly falsifying their expense accounts? Did the company violate the agreement with the union when it assigned the grievants to night work? Was the employer justified in discharging the grievant for allegedly striking her superior? Did the grievant place the meat on the loading dock, intending it to be picked up by accomplices, and did that constitute grounds for discharge? Was the company justified in discharging the grievant for possessing a bandsaw stolen from the company? Was the grievant, who signed a confession admitting his theft, discharged for cause? Should the company have given credit to the grievant for seniority earned while working in South America? Was the grievant, a truck driver who admittedly sought pay for time not worked, guilty of theft of company time, and thus properly discharged? Was the grievant discharged for cause after he struck a bridge with his truck? Was the grievant's alleged intoxication sufficient cause for his discharge? Did past practice justify paying the grievant a lower rate of pay for piloting a smaller boat? Is alcoholism an illness, entitling the grievant to sick leave under the contract? Was the grievant, who had only one good eye, properly laid off when his job was changed to require him to drive? Was the grievant's job classification proper? Did the company assign the correct seniority date to the grievant? Was the grievant's explanation of why he allowed an unauthorized female passenger on a charter bus believable, or was he discharged for cause? Should the grievant, who while off duty and away from the factory assaulted his foreman, be reinstated with back pay, or was discharge an appropriate penalty? These cases, taken from the reports of the federal courts, involve issues no different from those in the hundreds of reported cases in the CCH Labor Arbitration Awards or in the BNA Labor Arbitration Reports, not to mention the thousands of arbitration decisions that go unreported. If the courts would prefer to handle more of these cases-and there are more where these came from, namely from the daily frictions of the working place-all they need do is give a broad reading to Hines v. Anchor Motor Freight.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 26
Keywords: labor arbitration, federal judiciary, federal courts, labor arbitrators
JEL Classification: K31
Date posted: December 8, 2011