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June 30, 1959


Appeal, No. 109, Jan. T., 1959, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, Nov. T., 1958, No. 5, in case of Northampton Area Joint School Authority et al. v. Building and Construction Trades Council of Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton et al. Order affirmed. Equity. Before PALMER, J. Adjudication entered granting a preliminary injunction against defendants, and order entered. Defendants appealed.


Philip J. Gahagan, for appellants.

Bruce E. Cooper, with him Jerome W. Burkepile, Jr., and Rhoads, Sinon and Reader, for appellees.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Mcbride, JJ.

Author: Jones

[ 396 Pa. Page 566]


This is an appeal from the grant of a preliminary injunction by the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, sitting in equity.

Seven school districts in Northampton County (one third class district and six fourth class districts) joined in the formation of a joint school district called the "Northampton Area Joint School District". Due to an increase in school enrollment the public schools in the area have become seriously overcrowded and approximately 2,000 children are affected by these overcrowded school conditions. For the purpose of building a new high school to alleviate this situation, on August 23, 1956 the seven school districts and a joint school district comprising all seven school districts (herein called joint district) formed a municipal authority, known as the Northampton Area Joint School Authority (herein called Authority). This Authority, acting in compliance with the Municipal Authorities

[ 396 Pa. Page 567]

Act of 1945,*fn1 duly advertised for bids for the construction of a new high school. After the bids were received, opened and considered, on January 28, 1958 contracts in connection with the proposed high school construction were awarded as follows: Luria Engineering Co. (herein called Luria) the general contract; John F. Miles (herein called Miles) the heating contract; George F. DeLallo (herein called DeLallo) the plumbing contract; William A. Donmoyer Co. (herein called Donmoyer) the electrical contract. Luria, Miles and DeLallo were so-called "union contractors" in that they employed only union labor, while Donmoyer was a so-called "non-union contractor" in that he employed no union labor.*fn2

The work of construction began on or about March 15, 1958 and from that time until August 25, 1958 the general contractor, the plumbing contractor and the heating contractor were all working on the project. Donmoyer did not begin his work until August 25, 1958 and his employees worked on the project from August 25 to August 29, inclusive, 1958. On September 2, 1958, Local 375 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (herein called Union) and the Buildings & Construction Trades Council of Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton,*fn3 (herein called Trades

[ 396 Pa. Page 568]

Council) began picketing the construction site, with sometimes one and at other times two pickets.*fn4 The result was that the employees of Luria, DeLallo and Miles - all members of unions but not of the Union herein involved - refused to cross the picket lines and the work of construction of this high school ceased.

After the construction work had been at a standstill for approximately two months, the seven school districts, the joint district and the Authority, together with Donmoyer, filed a complaint in equity against the Union, the Trades Council, Harry B. Parks (the Union's Business Agent and President of the Trades Council) and one Louis Greenberg, the only identified picket. A preliminary injunction was sought and the court below granted a rule to show cause why a preliminary injunction should not issue, said rule being made returnable before Judge C.B. Palmer.

The defendants filed both an answer and preliminary objections to the complaint.

A hearing was held at which the plaintiffs presented evidence but the defendants, although they had full opportunity to do so, presented no evidence. After this preliminary hearing, the court below dismissed defendants' preliminary objections and, preliminarily, enjoined and restrained all four defendants "from doing any act calculated or intended to compel [Donmoyer] to require its employees to become members of either [the Union] or [the Trades Council] by picketing the school building site ..., or, in furtherance of such purpose, conspiring, combining, agreeing, or arranging with any person or persons, with each other, with any organizations, associations, or trade unions to induce, coerce or intimidate any person or persons who have in the past or who are presently working on the

[ 396 Pa. Page 569]

[school] project from working on said project or from entering the premises thereof, or, in furtherance of said purpose, interfering with the construction of said school building by [Luria], [DeLallo], [Miles], [Donmoyer], or any of their sub-contractors."

The court below found, inter alia: (1) on December 18, 1957, after the receipt of sealed bids but before the award of any contracts, one Mr. Toman (an agent for a union not herein involved and vice-president of District 2, Pennsylvania State Building Trades) appeared at a meeting of the Authority, and stated that he represented the trade unions, that he hoped the contract would be awarded to union contractors, and either stated or intimated that "there might be trouble if the union wasn't satisfied"; (2) in the middle of February, 1958, after the contracts had been awarded, two representatives of Luria attended a conference in the Trades Council office in Allentown, at which Parks and Toman were present and Parks then stated that there would possibly be trouble if the electrical workers went to work and that there would probably be a picket line; (3) that there exists no strike, lockout or labor dispute between the Authority, the joint district, Luria, DeLallo, Miles, Donmoyer and their respective employees; (4) since January 28, 1958 to the time of hearing none of Donmoyer's employees were invited or asked to join any union; (5) that the purpose of the picketing was to coerce Donmoyer "to become union-shop in order thereby to compel its employees to join [the Union] or lose their ...

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