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FOUNTAIN HILL UNDERWEAR MILLS v. AMALGAMATED CLOTHING WORKERS' UNION AMERICA. (06/30/58)

June 30, 1958

FOUNTAIN HILL UNDERWEAR MILLS, APPELLANT,
v.
AMALGAMATED CLOTHING WORKERS' UNION OF AMERICA.



Appeals, Nos. 17 and 18, Jan. T., 1959, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Carbon County, Jan. T., 1958, No. 5, in equity, in case of Fountain Hill Underwear Mills et al. v. Amalgamated Clothing Workers' Union of America et al. Order reversed.

COUNSEL

E. G. Scoblionko, with him Maxwell e. Davision, George Kerestes, Frank A. Doocey, and Loose, Kerestes@ 6. & Bayer, and Scoblionko & Frank, for appellants.

Orrin E. Boyle, with him Harold Caplan and George A. Shutack, for appellees.

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

Author: Jones

[ 393 Pa. Page 387]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BENJAMIN R. JONES

This appeal questions the dismissal by the Court of Common Pleas of Carbon County of plaintiffs' complaint in equity seeking an injunction to restrain the Amalgamated Clothing Workers' Union of America (herein called Union), and George Nejmeh, its staff representative (herein called Nejmeh), from the unlawful picketing of plaintiffs' plant located in Palmertion, Pennsylvania.

Plaintiff, Fountain Hill Underwear (herein called Fountain Hill), is a partnership engaged in the manufacture and sale of clothing with its principal place of business in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The employees of the Bethlehem plant are represented by the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union (herein called ILGWU). On September 1, 1956, Fountain Hill and the ILGWU executed a collective bargaining agreement, presently in effect, which provides that the terms and conditions of the agreement would apply to any plants that Fountain Hill might open in the future. Fountain Hill subsequently organized the Palmerton Mills, Inc. (also a plaintiff herein) - a wholly owned subsidiary - to extend its operations to a factory building located in Palmerton, Pennsylvania. This building had been leased previously by the Palmer Shirt Co., a corporation without any relationship to plaintiffs, whose employees were represented for collective bargaining purposes by the Union.

[ 393 Pa. Page 388]

Plaintiffs allege that, shortly after the acquisition of the Palmerton factory, the Union demanded a written contract providing for its recognition as the sole and exclusive bargaining agent for all persons to be employed by the plaintiffs at the Palmerton plant because it had represented the employees of the previous occupant of the factory. Plaintiffs were further advised by the Union that, unless there was compliance with its demands, the Palmerton factory would never open.

On December 17, 1957, after plaintiffs had hired approximately fifty persons, the Union picketed the plaint entrance. The complaint avers that approximately two hundred pickets completely obstructed the sole entrance to the plant preventing those employed from entering the building and that numerous acts of violence were committed. Two days after these incidents - on December 19, 1957 - plaintiffs filed this complaint in equity requesting the court to enjoin the Union and Nejmeh preliminarily, until hearing, and permanently thereafter, from (1) mass picketing; (2) acts of violence; (3) preventing entrance to the plant by employees; (4) doing any act calculated to bring about a breach of the contract between plaintiffs and the ILGWU.

The court issued a rule to show cause why a preliminary injunction should not be granted; after a hearing on January 3, 1958, this rule was discharged. The preliminary hearing was limited - in the language of the court - to the question of determining "whether or not there is such violation and interference down there in the operation of ...


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