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USCA1 Opinion

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS


UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FIRST CIRCUIT
FOR THE FIRST CIRCUIT

_________________________

No. 95-1881

JOSE AYALA, ET AL.,

Plaintiffs, Appellants,

v.

UNION DE TRONQUISTAS DE PUERTO RICO, LOCAL 901, ET AL.,

Defendants, Appellees.

_________________________

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICO

[Hon. Hector M. Laffitte, U.S. District Judge]


___________________

_________________________

Before

Selya, Circuit Judge,


_____________

Aldrich and Coffin, Senior Circuit Judges.


_____________________

_________________________

John Ward Llambias on brief for appellants.


__________________

Ana Rosa Biascoechea,


_____________________

Raquel M. Dulzaides,
____________________

and

Jimenez,
________

Graffam & Lausell on consolidated brief for appellees.


_________________

____________________

January 24, 1996


____________________

SELYA, Circuit Judge.


SELYA, Circuit Judge.
_____________

This is a hybrid action

brought

pursuant to section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29

U.S.C.

185 (1994).

de Tronquistas de

dereliction

employer,

In it, the plaintiffs complain that

Puerto Rico,

of its duty

Local 901 (the

Transport, Inc.

the collective bargaining agreement (the CBA)

at

the

times

relevant

Union) acted

of fair representation,

Crowley American

hereto.

The

In

due course,

(Crowley), violated

that was in effect

defendants

allegations.

granted the

defendants' motion for summary judgment.

slip op. (D.P.R. June

16, 1995).

denied

the district

Union de Tronquistas de P.R., Local 901, C.A.


__________________________________________

(HL),

in

and that their

plaintiffs'

v.

Union

the

court

See Ayala
___ _____

No. 94-2234

The plaintiffs appeal.

We summarily affirm.

There is no need to tarry.

Having

read the record and

carefully

considered the

parties' briefs,

the district

precise

contrary, we regard this as a paradigmatic case in which

to put

into practice our stated belief that, when "a trial court

produced a

should

work product,

36,

38

(1st Cir.

tribunal

1993).

Consequently,

we affirm

the

reasons elucidated in the opinion

We add only three brief comments.

First:
First:
_____

urge

the

In re San Juan Dupont Plaza Hotel Fire Litig., 989


________________________________________________

judgment for substantially the

below.

a reviewing

To

hesitate to wax longiloquent simply to hear its own words

resonate."

F.2d

first-rate

well-reasoned decision.

basis to

disturb

has

court's

we find no

that

they

The plaintiffs

were

(who are members of

entitled

to

seniority

Local 901)

rights

by

classification,

and

that,

therefore,

the

Union

should

have

safeguarded them against being "bumped" from their laborers' jobs

by

non-laborers

with

greater

exhortation is unavailing.

on the key

company-wide

This

While the CBA is admittedly ambiguous

point of what sort of seniority

classification)

seniority.

(company-wide or in-

prevails in respect to laborers' positions, past

practice over many years

the so-called law of the

shop

makes

it

transpicuously clear that

CBA favors

In

the most plausible

company-wide seniority

this situation,

Steelworkers
____________

the law

as the

of the

reading of the

appropriate measure.1

shop controls.

v. Warrior & Gulf Navig. Co.,


___________________________

See United
___ ______

363 U.S.

574, 580

(1960).

Second:
Second:
______

possess

an

In all

absolute

events, disaffected employees

right

to

complaint through the grievance

the

context

representation

pursue

of

is

grievance

employee

not a

have

union

shepherd

process to the bitter end.

grievances,

straitjacket

remedies

their

do not

under

the

the

which

duty

of

forces unions

collective

"In

fair

to

bargaining

agreement in every case where an employee has a complaint against

the company.

. . .

in dealing

with

interests

of all

union is accorded considerable discretion

grievance

matters,

its members

and it

may

when deciding

consider

whether or

not to

press the claims

of an

individual employee."

Seymour v.
_______

Corp., 666 F.2d


_____

202, 208

(Former 5th Cir.

Put

1982).

the

Olin
____

another

____________________

1It

is worthy of note

themselves,

on

earlier

that several of
occasions,

the plaintiffs were

beneficiaries

interpretation that they now strain to repudiate.

of

the

way,

not

a union, caught in the middle between dueling employees, is

obliged to throw some union members

to the wolves merely to

placate others.

In this case,

the Union offered to process a grievance

that presented both sides of the

story.

have

withdrawn.

this

substitute

proposed

in

presentation and

version.

place

a grievance

They

containing

adamantly insisted that the

Understandably, the

undisputed facts

offering

its

grievance

The plaintiffs asked to

to

one-sided

Union embrace this

Union declined

reveal that the Union acted

sought

to

do so.

The

reasonably both in

to press a balanced grievance and in refusing to grieve

on the plaintiffs' terms.


________________________

No

more is exigible.

See, e.g., Vaca


___ ____ ____

v. Sipes, 386 U.S.


_____

171, 190-91 (1967); De Arroyo v. Sindicato de


_________
____________

Trabajadores Packinghouse, 425


__________________________

F.2d

281, 284

n.2 (1st

Cir.),

cert. denied, 400 U.S. 877 (1970).


_____ ______

This

observation.

CBA, its

observation

leads

directly

misconstruction,

member

There

of

is no breach

the

simpliciter, does
___________

further

v. O'Neill,
_______

bargaining

bad faith."

499 U.S.

65, 67

not

constitute

See Vaca, 386 U.S. at


___ ____

unless the union's

collective

discriminatory or in

Ass'n
_____

Vaca teaches that, even if a union misconstrues the


____

breach of its duty of fair representation.

190.

to

"conduct toward

unit

Id.; accord
___ ______

is

arbitrary,

Air Line Pilots


________________

(1991); Alicea
______

v. Suffield
________

Poultry, Inc.,
______________

instance, no

902 F.2d

125, 130

rational factfinder

(1st

Cir. 1990).

In this

could conclude that

the Union

crossed that line.

Third:
Third:
_____

robust than

The plaintiffs' case against Crowley is no more

their case against the Union.

In point of fact, the

inadequacy of

the

the plaintiffs'

inadequacy

excuse

their

of their

failure to

claim against the

claim against

exhaust

Union presages

Crowley.

contractual

In

order to

remedies in

the

conventional manner and prevail in a hybrid section 301 action on

theory

that

the

employees

must

first

claim.

violated

prevail on

DelCostello v.
___________

their

CBA,

unfair

disgruntled

representation

151,

164-65

International Bhd. of Teamsters, 462


________________________________

(1983);

Chaparro-Febus
______________

Longshoremen Ass'n, Local 1575,


________________________________

1992).

the

See Breininger v. Sheet Metal Workers Int'l, 493 U.S. 67,


___ __________
_________________________

82 (1989);

U.S.

employer

Failing in

983 F.2d

v.

325,

International
_____________

330 (1st

the first instance, the plaintiffs

Cir.

also fail

in the second instance.

Mindful,

as

we

are,

of the

district

court's

more

exegetic

treatment of these (and

further.

The judgment below is summarily affirmed.

R. 27.1.

Affirmed.
Affirmed.
________

other) matters, we

need go no

See 1st Cir.


___