Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

SPICA v. INTERNATIONAL LADIES GARMENT WORKERS' UNION (03/29/57)

March 29, 1957

SPICA
v.
INTERNATIONAL LADIES GARMENT WORKERS' UNION, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 241, Jan. T., 1956, from order of Court of Common Pleas No. 2 of Philadelphia County, Sept. T., 1954, No. 8678, in case of Josephine Spica v. International Ladies Garment Workers' Union et al. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Morris P. Glushien and Bernard N. Katz, with them M. Herbert Syme, for appellant.

Peter P. Liebert, 3rd, for appellee.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno, Jones and Cohen, JJ.

Author: Chidsey

[ 388 Pa. Page 384]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE CHIDSEY

The sole but important question presented by this appeal derives from a preliminary objection filed by the defendant International Ladies Garment Workers' Union, hereinafter called the International, that service of process upon the Secretary-Treasurer of the Philadelphia Dress Joint Board, International Ladies Garment Workers' Union, hereinafter called the Joint Board, at the Joint Board Headquarters in Philadelphia, was insufficient to properly being the International before the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County.

The International is an unincorporated labor union having its main headquarters in New York City. The Joint Board is an aggregation of Local Unions of the International Ladies Garment Workers' Union in the Philadelphia area having its headquarters in a building on North Board Street in Philadelphia, which building also serves as headquarters for the Local Unions.

Josephine Spica, the plaintiff, brought this action in equity against the International and against William Ross, Business Manager of the Joint Board, alleging that the defendants had wrongfully caused her removal as Business Agent of Local 15, to which office she had been elected in accord with the Constitution and By-Laws of the International. Her removal came after a hearing before the Board of Directors of the Joint Board on July 27, 1954, and was affirmed by he General Executive Board of the International on October 8, 1954.

Service was made by a Philadelphia Deputy Sheriff delivering a copy of the complaint to one Abraham Bloomfield, Secretary-Treasurer of the Joint Board, at the headquarters on North Broad Street in Philadelphia.

[ 388 Pa. Page 385]

Defendants' preliminary objection alleged that the court had no jurisdiction over the International since service of process upon the latter was invalid in that the North Broad Street building is not a place of business of the International, that Mr. Bloomfield is not an officer, employe or agent of the International, and the International neither conducts any business at the North Broad Street building nor has any agents, employes or officers at that location. In support of this objection, depositions were taken of the Assistnat Executive Secretary of the International and of Mr. Bloomfield, the Secretary-Treasurer of the Joint Board.

The court below, in an opinion by President Judge LEWIS, held that service upon the International was valid, that the court had jurisdiction, and overruled the preliminary objection. This appeal by the International followed.

The requirements of service upon an unincorporated labor union are prescribed by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 2157(a), which reads: "(a) Service of process upon an officer or a registered agent of an association, or upon the manager, clerk or other person for the time being in charge of any place where such association regularly conducts any business or association activity shall be deemed service upon the association, provided that the person served is not a plaintiff in the action.".

It is admitted that Abraham Bloomfield is the Secretary-Treasurer of the Joint Board, and it appears that he is not directly "an officer or a registered agent of" the International, unless it can be said that, for purposes of Pa. R.C.P. 2157(a) he is "an officer" of the International by virtue of his office with the Joint Board. It is unnecessary to so decide if it be found that the International "regularly conducts any

[ 388 Pa. Page 386]

    business or association activity" at the North Broad Street office in Philadelphia, for it is not disputed that Mr. Bloomfield upon whom service was made , was "for the time being in charge" of that office. The position taken by appellant is that the general office of the International is in New York City, that it has no office in Philadelphia, nor that there is "any place" in Philadelphia where it "regularly conducts any business or association activity".

An examination of the International's Constitution and By-Laws is most pertinent. The object of the International is set out in Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution and By-Laws, "The object of the I.L.G.W.U. shall be to obtain and preserve for all workers engaged in the ladies' garment industry just and reasonable conditions of work with respect to wages, work hours and other terms of employment; to secure sanitary surroundings in their places of work and humane treatment on the part of the employers; to aid needy workers in the industry; to cultivate friendly relations between them and generally to improve their material and intellectual standards. Such objects shall be accomplished through negotiations and collective agreements with employers, the presentation, adjustment and settlement of justified grievances of workers against employers, the dissemination of knowledge by means of publications and lecture courses, through concerted efforts to organize the unorganized workers in all branches of the industry and through all other lawful and peaceable means and methods customarily employed by organized workers to maintain or better their standards of life.". The membership of the International "shall consist of individual workers organized in Local Unions in the manner provided in this Constitution", Article 1, Section 4. The Local Unions are chartered by the International, provided

[ 388 Pa. Page 387]

    that "(a) The charter and outfit granted to a [Local Union] shall always remain the property of the [International] to be used by the [Local Union] as long as such [Local Union] and its members comply with the Constitution and By-laws of the [International].", Article 1, Section 6. The same article and section further provides that "(c) All funds and other property of [Local Unions] shall be and remain the property of the [International], but may be used by [Local Unions] for their associate purposes so long as they remain affiliated with the [International].".

Article 8, pertaining to membership, states: "Section 7. All members of the [Local Union] are primarily members of the [International] and subject to the orders, rulings and decisions of the [International] and the properly constituted authorities of the same. Section 7-A. By joining the [International], a member irrevocably designates and authorizes the [Local Union] or [Joint Board] or [District Council] to which he belongs, and the [International], to act exclusively as his agent and representative for the presentation, adjustment and settlement of all grievances against his employers and all other matters relating to terms and conditions of employment or arising out of the employer-employee relationship.".

While the supreme governing body of the International is the triennial convention, the effective interim control lies with the General Executive Board, under whose direction the President acts. Its authority is set forth in Article 4: "Section 3. The [General Executive Board] shall have general supervision over all the affairs of the [International] and shall have power to authorize strikes in accordance with this Constitution, issue charters, reprove and punish subordinate locals for violations of this Constitution or for misconduct; to take charge of and to supervise the elections

[ 388 Pa. Page 388]

    of local unions and joint boards or district councils, or to determine disputes in connection with the arrangement or contents of the ballot for any such election, and to designate or appoint any person or committee for that purpose, such person or committee to supersede the Election and Objection Committee of the [Local Union], [Joint Board] or [District Council]; in cases of emergency, to designate or appoint any person or committee to take over and administer the affairs of any local union, joint board or district council; adopt regulations not inconsistent with this Constitution for the government of the [International] and alter, amend or repeal the same; establish, print and supply all charters, constitutions, official receipts, books of accounts for the [Local Unions], withdrawal cards, transfer cards and traveling cards for all local unions of the [International]; levy such assessments for necessary revenue, as provided in this Constitution, and do all things necessary to promote the welfare of the [International]. It shall have the power to suspend or revoke charters or to reorganize [Local Unions] found guilty of violating any provisions of this Constitution, or of failure to comply with the order of the [General Exdeutive Board], orders or decisions adopted in convention or by referendum vote. The [General Executive Board] shall also have the power to adjust disputes between employers and employees and to make contracts with employers. It shall decide all questions involving the interpretation of this Constitution and all points of law arising under the jurisdiction of the [International] and shall also pass upon all claims, grievances and appeals from the decisions of subordinate organizations in the manner provided by this Constitution.*fn1 All decisions rendered

[ 388 Pa. Page 389]

    by the [General Executive Board] shall be binding on the subordinate locals and the members and must be complied with. Any local or member feeling aggrieved by a decision may, after complying with the same, appeal from it to the next regular or special convention of the [International]. The [General Executive Board] may issue referenda to the members of the [International] on any question whenever it may find it necessary. The [General Executive Board] may, in case of emergency and on request of a [Local Union, Joint Board or District Council], order or direct a special election of officers to be held in such [Local Union, Joint Board or District Council]. ...". It should be noted that "emergency" is not anywhere defined in the Constitution, and, presumably, the General Executive Board makes this determination under its power to decide questions involving the interpretation of the International's Constitution.

As to Joint Boards, the Constitution of the International, Article 6, Section 1 directs that a Joint Board shall be organized, "Whenever there are two or more [Local Unions] located in te same city or locality and engaged in various branches of the same trade, ...". "The main object of the [Joint Board] shall be to attend to, present, adjust and settle justified grievances and complaints of members against employers, to supervise and control union shops, to organize nonunion shops and to see to it that harmony prevails among the [Local Unions] affiliated with it. Adjustments by the [Joint Boards] of disputes with or grievances against employers shall be binding upon [Local Unions], and upon such individual members as may be involved. Where such [Joint Boards] exist, they shall have the sole power*fn2 to make collective agreements

[ 388 Pa. Page 390]

    in the industry over which they have jurisdiction.", Constitution, Article 6, Section 6. The powers of the Joint Boards are carefully laid out in the International's Constitution. Joint Boards have the power to adopt by-laws, but only with the approval of the General Executive Board. They have the power to discipline their membership and officers, with appeals to the General Exectuive Board. Local Unions "... affiliated with a [Joint Board] ... shall submit all disputes with employers to their [Joint Board] ... before declaring a strike. The [General Executive Board], however, may demand that it be consulted by the [Joint Board] ... Controversies which may lead to a strike involving two-thirds (2/3) of the industry in a locality must in any event be first reported to the [General Executive Board]. The [General Executive Board] may veto any proposed strike and such veto shall be binding and conclusive. Whenever any craft is involved in a strike or lockout, the [General Executive Board] shall have the power to order a strike in such other crafts in the same industry as it may deem necessary in order to assist the members on strike.", Article 7, Section 2. The Joint Boards have financial powers regarding assessments, investments, bank accounts, etc., but "(e) All funds and other property of [Joint Boards] and [District Councils] shall be and remain the property of the [International], but may be used by the [Joint Boards] and [District Councils] for their associate purposes so long as they remain affiliated with the [Internationsl].", Article 6, Section 3.

Any separate Death Benefit Funds appear to have been abolished by the Constitution as of July 1, 1953,

[ 388 Pa. Page 391]

    and there is now permitted only the single Death Benefit Fund of the International. Locals are prohibited from giving any such benefits on their own. As to health, welfare, retirement and vacation funds, while they may be administered locally, they are under the supervision of the International.

Looking at the organization as a whole, as the picture emerges from its constitution, we find an association wherein the ultimate power in terms of membership, officers, grievances, disputes and contracts with employers, and finances lies with the General Executive Board, the governing organ of the International, and where a direct supervision is exercised by the General Executive Board over vital contemporary labor functions such as monetary benefits and general strikes. All monies and property ultimately belong to the International. While many of the functions and purposes of the International are effectuated through Joint Boards, it seems clear that when the Joint Board functions, it does so under the direction and control of the International, and in order to effectuate the objects of the International,*fn3 not for some self-made or

[ 388 Pa. Page 392]

    self-generating purpose. It is of significance that the Philadelphia Dress Joint Board has no Constitution and By-Laws of its own, but functions under that of the International.

The testimony of the Assistant Exective Secretary of the International and of the Secretary-Treasurer of the Joint Board, while denying that the International "transacts business" in Philadelphia, makes clear that the above described picture is accurate.

The name of the International is displayed across the entire front of the North Broad Street building in large silver letters, whereas the name of the Joint Board appears only on the door; the dues cards carried by the individual members carry the signature of the President of the International and are styled "Official Dues Card of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, affiliated with A.F. of L."; the letterhead of the Joint Board bears the official seal of the International and is headed "Philadelphia Dress Joint Board, International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, American Federation of Labor"; and it appears that organizing activities carried on by agents of the Joint Board have been carried on either in the name of the Joint Board or in the name of the International, or both, in the discretion of the organizer. At least one collective bargaining agreement negotiated between the Joint Board and an employer bore the signature of Mr. David Dubinsky, President of the International, though it is denied that this was the standard practice.

A Mr. Ross is currently the Manager of the Joint

[ 388 Pa. Page 393]

Board. His predecessor as Manager was Mr. Samuel Otto, who, at the same time, was a Vice President of the International. Mr. Otto left as Manager in Philadelphia at the "request" of the President of the International to accept the directorship of the South Pacific territory of the International on the West Coast. To fill his place, the Philadelphia Dress Joint Board requested Mr. Dubinsky [President of the International] to send a replacement for Mr. Otto. This the President of the International did in the person of Mr. Ross, who was brought in from outside of the Philadelphia area.

In Stoner v. Higginson et al., 316 Pa. 481, 175 A. 527, 527, wherein we affirmed the constitutionality of two statutes which provided for service upon non-resident individuals doing business in Pennsylvania, we quoted from Simon v. Craft, 182 U.S. 427, at p. 436 of which the Supreme Court of the United States said: "... The essential elements of due process of law are notice and opportunity to defend. In determining whether such rights were denied we are governed by the substance of things and not by mere form. ...".

Parenthetically, we may point out that Stoner v. Higginson, supra, was relied on almost exclusively by this Court in Quinn v. Pershing (et al.), 367 Pa. 426, 80 A.2d 712, which affirmed the constitutionality of Pa. R.C.P. 2157 as it applied to service of process upon the International Fur and Leather Workers Union of the United States and Canada, by service upon its "District Manager" who was held to be an official of that International Union and also a "person for the time being in charge of any place where such association regularly conducts any business or association activity".

The Restatement, Conflict of Alws, ยง 75, supports the test quoted from Simon v. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.