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BOWE v. JUDSON C. BURNS

September 17, 1942

BOWE et al.
v.
JUDSON C. BURNS, Inc., et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: KALODNER

The complainants were at one time employees of the defendant, Judson C. Burns, Inc. In 1938 they filed a complaint in the Federal Court against that corporation (not the present complaint) under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended, c. 676, Sec. 1 et seq., 52 Stat. 1060, 29 U.S.C.A. § 201 et seq., alleging that they had been required to work in excess of the maximum number of hours stipulated in the Statute without being paid the compensation required therein.

Subsequently, the same complainants filed the present complaint, setting forth that after the first suit had been instituted the defendants named herein (including the corporation Judson C. Burns, Inc., its president, and the members of the defendant labor organization, Local Union No. 107) had conspired together to force the complainants to withdraw the prior suit by threats and coercion; and that the said defendants had also ultimately brought about the discharge of the complainants from their employment with the corporation Judson C. Burns, Inc., and the expulsion of the complainants from Local Union No. 107 because the suit was not withdrawn. Among other things the relief prayed for includes a request for an injunction.

 Thereupon, Local No. 107 filed this motion to dismiss upon the following grounds:

 (a) The complaint fails to show that the complainants were engaged in interstate commerce;

 (b) The case upon its facts comes under the Norris-LaGuardia Act, since it involves a labor dispute and the complaint is defective because it does not show that the complainants have complied with the requirements of the Norris-LaGuardia Act.

 (c) The Fair Labor Standards Act does not under these circumstances allow an injunction to be issued against the labor organization.

 As to the defendant's first contention:

 I stated at the hearing of this case that the failure to show that the complainants themselves, as distinguished from their employer, were engaged in interstate commerce, is at most a formal and amendable defect, and that I would not dismiss upon that ground. I adhere to that position now.

 As to the defendant's second contention:

 I do not agree with the moving defendant's second contention, to wit, that an injunction may not issue against it (Local No. 107) because there has been no compliance with the Norris-LaGuardia Act, 29 U.S.C.A. § 101 et seq.

 The complainants have admitted that they have not complied with the requirements of that Act. The only question left, therefore, is whether or not a labor dispute is involved here insofar as Local No. 107 is concerned. If it is, the complaint must fall, at least with regard to Local No. 107. If no labor dispute is involved with regard to Local No. 107, then the complaint based upon that ground remains valid.

 It becomes necessary to analyze the relevant provisions of the Norris-LaGuardia Act. The language relied upon by the moving defendant is as follows (29 U.S.C.A. § 113): "(c) The term 'labor dispute' includes any controversy concerning terms or conditions of employment, or concerning the association or representation of persons in negotiating, fixing, maintaining, changing, or seeking to arrange terms or conditions of ...


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