Appeal, No. 81, Oct. T., 1956, from order and judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Berks County, Nov. T., 1949, No. 16, in case of Adam Horn et al. v. $1,950.00. Order and judgment affirmed.
Charles F. McKenna, with him Grant E. Wesner, and Ernest G. Nassar, for appellants.
Darlington Hoopes, for appellee.
Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ.
[ 184 Pa. Super. Page 322]
This action originated in assumpsit against Karl Lieberknecht, Inc. by the appellees on behalf of 898 of said employes to recover the sum of $1,950.00 deducted by the employer on May 6, 1949 from their respective pays. Another action was brought against the said defendant by United Steelworkers of America, C.I.O. (hereinafter referred to as the "union"), for the sum withheld. The employer filed a petition for interpleader and obtained permission to and did pay the said sum of money into court. Appellees and appellants were interpleaded against the fund. Appellants thereupon filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, which was refused by the lower court for the reason that the pleadings raised a question of fact which had to be determined before judgment could be entered. Appellants then appealed to the Superior Court, which affirmed the action of the lower court (170 Pa. Superior Ct. 348, 85 A.2d 623) and the matter
[ 184 Pa. Super. Page 323]
thereupon went back for a hearing. The parties stipulated that the matter should be heard by the court without a jury. After the taking of testimony and argument, the hearing judge entered a verdict for the union. Appellees filed exceptions thereto and the court then reopened the proceedings for the purpose of taking further testimony. After the taking of this testimony the matter was again argued before the court in banc, which court sustained certain of appellees' exceptions and entered a verdict in favor of each of the five original plaintiffs and on behalf of the 893 others who authorized this action, and against the fund of $1,950.00, in the amount of $2.00 each, less proportionate shares of the costs. Appellants filed exceptions which were argued before the court in banc, which court thereafter made an order dismissing the exceptions and entering judgment in favor of the appellees, from which judgment this appeal was taken.
The facts are as follows: The employer and the union entered into a collective bargaining agreement which became effective on May 1, 1947 and was to continue in full force and effect until May 1, 1949. This agreement provided that on an employe's first payday of each month the employer would deduct union dues from the pay of all such employes who had worked at least 40 hours in the preceding calendar month and forward the same to the union. The agreement also provided that "The Union will supply to the Company, cards signed by its members, authorizing the Company to deduct from the wages of Employees who signed said cards, the monthly Union dues and initiation fees, and assessments, if any." This section of the agreement clearly contemplated that the deductions shall be made in accordance with the provisions of the authorizations signed by the members of the union. These written authorizations signed by the employes were in
[ 184 Pa. Super. Page 324]
fact furnished to the employer by the union and they contained the following pertinent language: "This assignment and authorization shall be effective and cannot be cancelled for a period of one (1) year from the date appearing above or until the termination date of the current collective bargaining agreement between the Company and the Union, whichever occurs sooner.
"I hereby voluntarily authorize you to continue the above authorization and assignment in effect after the expiration of the shorter of the periods above specified, for further successive periods of one (1) year from such date, provided there is then a collective bargaining agreement between the Company and the Union providing for a check-off of union membership dues. I agree that if appropriate under Federal Law this authorization and assignment shall become effective and cannot be cancelled by me during any of such years, but that I may cancel and revoke by giving to the appropriate management representative of the plant in which I am then employed, an individual written notice signed by me and which shall be postmarked or received by the Company within fifteen days following the expiration of any such year or within the fifteen days following the termination date of any collective bargaining agreement between the Company and the Union covering my employment if such date shall occur within one of such annual ...