States District Courts with jurisdiction over "suits for violations of contracts between the Postal Service and a labor organization representing Postal Service employees" without respect to the amount in controversy. 39 U.S.C. § 1208(b).
(5) On November 18, 1970, by memorandum of agreement, plaintiffs and the Post Office Department reduced to eight years of satisfactory service the period for attaining the highest level of pay grade. This is the so-called "compression agreement."
(6) After having bargained collectively in accordance with the mandate of § 10(a), supra, plaintiffs and defendant Postal Service (operational on July 1, 1971) concluded a working agreement on July 20, 1971 which incorporated the November 18, 1970, "compression agreement," providing for accelerated ingrade advancement, and also provided for five separate wage increments of $250 per annum for all covered employees, to be effective, respectively, July 20, 1971, October 20, 1971, January 20, 1972, July 20, 1972, and January 20, 1973.
(7) On August 15, 1970, the President signed into law the Economic Stabilization Act of 1970, Pub. L. No. 91-379, 84 Stat. 799, which empowered the President "to issue such orders and regulations as he may deem appropriate to stabilize prices, rents, wages, and salaries at levels not less than those prevailing on May 25, 1970." Pub. L. No. 91-379, § 202. In May, 1971, this Act was extended through April 30, 1972. Pub. L. No. 92-15, 85 Stat. 38.
(8) Further on August 15, 1971, the President, purporting to exercise the powers delegated to him by Congress in the Economic Stabilization Act of 1970, issued Executive Order No. 11615. Section 1(a) of that Order directed that "prices, rents, wages and salaries" be stabilized for a period of 90 days from August 15, 1970 "at levels not greater than the highest of those pertaining to a substantial volume of actual transactions by each individual, business, firm or other entity of any kind during the 30 day period ending August 14, 1971, for like or similar commodities or services." Section 2(a) established the defendant "Cost of Living Council" [hereinafter COLC] as an executive agency of the Federal Government, and Section 3(a) delegated to COLC all powers vested in the President by the Economic Stabilization Act of 1970 except those specifically reserved.
(9) COLC in turn, on August 20, 1971, delegated to the Director, Office of Emergency Preparedness [hereinafter OEP] the responsibility and authority to implement, administer, monitor, and "enforce the stabilization of prices, rents, wages and salaries as directed by Section 1 of the [Executive Order No. 11615]." Cost of Living Council Order No. 1, 36 F.R. 16215.
(10) On August 21, 1971 OEP issued Economic Stabilization Regulation No. 1, 36 F.R. 16515. Section 3(c) of that regulation provides:
" Wages and Salaries. Deferred wage or salary increases which were negotiated to take effect in the future, cost of living increases built into wage contracts or provided by management, and routine in-grade increases not in effect on or before August 14, 1971, are not permitted. Regardless of any right or contract heretofore or hereinafter existing, no change or adjustment shall be made in rates of wages, salaries, or other forms of compensation whether by retroactive increase or otherwise."