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WILLIAMS v. MASTERS (03/13/56)

March 13, 1956

WILLIAMS
v.
MASTERS, MATES & PILOTS OF AMERICA, LOCAL NO. 2, APPELLANT



Appeals, Nos. 291, 292, 293, and 294, Jan. T., 1955, from decree of Court of Common Pleas No. 6 of Philadelphia County, June T., 1951, No. 3994, in equity, in case of Hugh D.C. Williams et al. v. National Organization, Masters, Mates & Pilots of America, Local No. 2, et al. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Avram G. Adler, with him Abraham E. Freedman and Freedman, Landy & Lorry, for appellants.

John J. O'Brien, Jr., with him Meehan, O'Brien & Richette, for appellees.

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

Author: Chidsey

[ 384 Pa. Page 415]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE CHIDSEY

Appellees, Hugh D.C. Williams and Charles Sunderland, were plaintiffs in an action in equity brought against Local No. 2, Masters, Mates and Pilots of America, certain of its officers and the individual members thereof. Local No. 2 is an unincorporated labor organization with its principal offices in the City of Philadelphia. It is a subordinate unit of the parent body, National Organization, Masters, Mates and Pilots of America. All members of the local union are members of the National Organization.

Appellees, who had been expelled from the local union, sought by their complaint in equity reinstatement and damages resulting from their removal. After a lengthy hearing at which evidence was adduced by both sides to the controversy, the court, for the reasons hereinafter appearing, did not order the plaintiffs' reinstatement but entered a decree nisi in favor of the plaintiffs Williams and Sunderland, in the sum of six cents each,*fn1 which was modified by the court en banc by a final decree awarding the sum of $2,600 to the

[ 384 Pa. Page 416]

    plaintiff Williams and the sum of six cents to the plaintiff Sunderland. This decree was opened upon defendants' petition; further testimony was taken after which the court confirmed the final decree previously entered. From this final decree defendants appeal.

The plaintiffs were expelled from Local No. 2 for alleged offenses of misconduct which, through stipulation of counsel, were not considered on their merits by the lower court, and are not in issue here. The only questions to be decided are (1) the validity and effect of certain orders made by the Executive Committee of the National Organization on July 9, 1951 and October 16, 1952, respectively, and (2) whether plaintiffs were entitled to damages and if so, in what amount.

The Constitution and By-Laws of Local No. 2 provide, inter alia, that all charges preferred against a member shall be presented to the Local in writing and signed by a complainant who must be a member in good standing; that upon charges being preferred, a trial committee shall be appointed which will furnish the accused member with a copy of the charges and notify him of the time and place of trial. After the hearing, the findings of the trial committee are submitted to the membership of the local which can accept or reject them. The Constitution and By-Laws provide further in Article III, Section 7 that "Any member convicted in the regular manner of an offense against the local may appeal first to the Executive Board of the Local, second to the Excutive Board of the National Organization and third to the National Convention of Masters, Mates and Pilots of America.".

Written charges, signed by members in good standing, were preferred against plaintiffs. A trial committee was appointed which notified plaintiffs of the time and place of the hearing and furnished them ...


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