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April 27, 1955


Appeal, No. 216, Jan. T., 1955, from orders of Court of Common Pleas No. 1, of Philadelphia County, March T., 1955, in Equity, No. 2150, in case of Philadelphia Marine Trade Association, The National Sugar Refining Company and Dugan & McNamara, Inc. v. International Longshoremen's Association, Local Union No. 1291, et al. Orders affirmed.


Abraham E. Freedman, with him Freedman, Landy & Lorry, for appellants.

Owen B. Rhoads, with him Raymond W. Midgett, Jr., Robert M. Landis, and Barnes, Dechert, Price, Meyers & Rhoads, for The National Sugar Refining Company, appellee.

Francis A. Scanlan, with him Robert G. Kelly and Kelly, Deasey & Scanlan, for Philadelphia Marine Association, appellee.

Thomas F. Mount, with him Rawle & Henderson, for Dugan & McNamara, Inc., appellee.

Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno and Arnold, JJ.

Author: Stern

[ 382 Pa. Page 328]

ORDER PER CURIAM, April 27, 1955:

And now, to wit, April 27, 1955, a majority of the Court being of opinion that the controversy between the parties must be settled by the arbitration provisions in Sections 28 and 29 of the Agreement between the Philadelphia Marine Trade Association and the International Longshoremen's Association for the Port of Philadelphia and Vicinity entered into the 12th day of March, 1954, the orders of the court below of March 23rd and March 25th, 1955, are affirmed; opinions to be filed later. Costs to abide the event.


Shortly after the argument on this appeal and because of the urgent need for a prompt decision we entered an order affirming the grant and the continuance of a preliminary injunction by the court below. This opinion is written in support of the decision thus rendered.

Philadelphia Marine Trade Association is a nonprofit corporation comprising in its membership steamship lines, steamship agents, stevedoring companies, tugboat and barge companies, marine terminal operators, warehouses and companies rendering other services in and to the marine industry in and about the Port of Philadelphia. On March 12, 1954, as collective

[ 382 Pa. Page 329]

    bargaining agent for those of its members who employ longshoremen, it entered into an agreement with the International Longshoremen's Association for the Port of Philadelphia and Vicinity and its affiliated Locals 1290, 1291, 1332, 1566 and 1694, as collective bargaining agent for deep-sea longshoremen in the Port of Philadelphia. The agreement, which was to be in effect until September 30, 1955, contained various provisions in regard to the loading and unloading of ocean-going ships in the Port of Philadelphia and vicinity. One of its obvious purposes was to prevent work stoppages, a joint sub-committee of the parties being established to make recommendations for that purpose.

In February, 1955, the National Sugar Refining Company, which is a member of the Philadelphia Marine Trade Association and owns and operates a pier on the Delaware River where ocean-going vessels berth for the purpose of discharging raw sugar to be refined at its refinery, contemplated putting into operation at its pier certain improved unloading facilities known as a monorail system. This innovation apparently involved the displacement of a number of longshoremen engaged in the handling of the cargoes of sugar, but Local 1291 did not concede that such a result necessarily followed. The question of the number of men to be employed at the pier upon the installation of the new system thus became a matter of controversy between the Trade Association and the Union.

The collective bargaining agreement between the parties provided (Paragraph 11(d)) as follows: "Nothing herein contained shall be construed as warranting a demand on the part of the union to change established methods of operation or to change the number of men heretofore employed in gangs, providing that a committee of three representatives of the union and three representatives of the employers shall immediately

[ 382 Pa. Page 330]

    following the execution of this agreement hold meetings for the purpose of reaching an agreement upon the number of men on certain commodities where disputes regarding the number of men may exist. In the event that technological advancements in machinery or methods in the future are introduced by the employers, the number of men thenceforth to be employed for handling the particular commodities shall be the subject of negotiation between the sub-committee [sic] herein created."

Pursuant to this provision each of the parties designated three representatives to act on such a committee, but, after holding several meetings, the committee was unable to reach an agreement and the question then naturally arose as to what was to be done in view of the impasse.

Paragraph 28 of the agreement provided as follows: "All disputes and grievances of any kind or nature whatsoever arising under the terms of conditions of this agreement, and all questions involving the interpretation of this agreement, shall be referred to a Grievance Committee which shall consist of two members selected by the employer and two members selected by the Union. Should the Grievance Committee be unable to resolve the issue submitted, they shall immediately refer the matter to the Rev. Dennis J. Comey, S.J., as Impartial Arbitrator. The Impartial Arbitrator shall have unlimited authority in resolving any issues submitted to him, and shall likewise have unlimited authority to establish his own rules of procedure provided that he shall have no authority to change any of the terms or conditions of this agreement. Should it become necessary at any time during the effective period of this agreement to select a successor to the Impartial Arbitrator herein named, he shall be selected by agreement of the parties hereto and any

[ 382 Pa. Page 331]

    such successor shall have all of the powers and authority granted to the Impartial Arbitrator named herein."

Paragraph 29 provided: "No Steamship Company or Contracting Stevedore and no official, District Council or Local of the International Longshoremen's Association shall make any change in this agreement nor render any interpretation of any provision thereof which shall be binding on any of the parties hereto. A difference of opinion regarding the meaning of any provisions of this agreement, which cannot be amicably adjusted between the parties, shall be determined only by an Arbitration Committee appointed in accordance with Clause 28."

A definite proposal was made by the Trade Association for the settlement of the controversy but the Union rejected it. The Trade Association then called upon the Union to join in the submission of the matter to arbitration in accordance with the provisions of Paragraph 28, but the Union took the position that Paragraph 11(d) was not subject to the arbitration procedure prescribed by Paragraph 28 and refused to appoint representatives to serve on a Grievance Committee as therein provided. The Sugar Refining Company put the new operation into effect, reducing the number of men employed from some 160 to 108, whereupon the longshoremen refused to work at the pier unless as many of them were employed as before the new system was installed. The present action was then instituted by the Trade Association, the Sugar Refining Company and Dugan & McNamara, Inc., the last named being the contractor which furnishes all stevedoring services to the Sugar Refining Company at its pier and is the employer of the longshoremen here involved. The defendants named in the action were the Local Union No. 1291, certain of its officers and officials, and the 160 longshoremen employed by Dugan & McNamara,

[ 382 Pa. Page 332]

Inc. who had stopped work. Plaintiffs prayed for an injunction restraining the Union from violating the collective bargaining agreement, from failing and refusing to participate in the arbitration procedures prescribed by the agreement, from committing any action in violation of the no work-stoppage agreement, and from refusing to supply longshoremen to Dugan & McNamara, Inc. for stevedoring services at the pier. As a result of the work stoppage Dugan & McNamara, Inc. was prevented from fulfilling its contract with the Sugar Refining Company, all unloading of sugar cargoes ceased, and great numbers of the Company's employes were thrown out of employment. The court, on affidavits, issued a preliminary injunction as prayed for, and subsequently, after a hearing, continued the injunction until final hearing. From that order defendants filed the present appeal.

The Labor Anti-Injunction Act of June 2, 1937, P.L. 1198, ยง 4, as amended by the Act of June 9, 1939, P.L. 302, provides that it should not apply in any case involving a labor dispute which was in disregard, breach or violation of, or which tended to procure the disregard, breach or violation of, a valid subsisting labor agreement, arrived at between an employer and the representatives designated or selected by the employes for the purpose of collective bargaining.

Defendants present several questions for determination, one of which challenges the jurisdiction of the court below on the ground that plaintiffs' complaints are cognizable only in a Federal and not a State court. This contention is specifically answered by the decision of this court in General Building Contractors' Association v. Local Union No. 542, 370 Pa. 73, 87 A.2d 250 (cited with approval in Garner v. Teamsters, ...

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