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GRIMALDI v. LOCAL NO. 9 (07/02/59)

July 2, 1959


Appeal, No. 298, Jan. T., 1958, from decree of Court of Common Pleas No. 5 of Philadelphia County, June T., 1956, No. 6964, in equity, in case of Louis J. Grimaldi v. Local No. 9, Journeymen Barbers, Hairdressers and Cosmetologists International Union et al. Decree affirmed. Equity. Before WEINROTT, J. Adjudication filed granting injunction against defendants; defendants' exceptions to adjudication dismissed and decree entered. Defendants appealed.


Louis H. Wilderman, with him Richard H. Markowitz, and Wilderman & Markowitz, for appellants.

John Ryan, with him James L. J. Pie, for appellee.

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

Author: Musmanno

[ 397 Pa. Page 2]


Louis J. Grimaldi is the owner of, and the only barber in, a barber shop located at 1438 South 58th Street, Philadelphia. Thus, he has no employees, and at the same time he has no employer. He is a one-man operation, solely and exclusively. He opens his shop when he pleases, he closes it when it suits his will to do so. He has no labor trouble because he employs no labor. He has no dispute with an employer because, obviously, he has no employer. He is as much a one-man operation as a man on a unicycle. He has as much undisputed control over his barber shop as Robinson Crusoe had over his island on the Thursday before Friday arrived.

Although, as mentioned, Grimaldi has no labor problem within the confines of his domain, on July 31, 1956 a major trouble was deposited on his doorstep and a haunting threat began to walk his sidewalk, none of which dire visitations he provoked, and certainly did not desire. On that morning, there appeared outside his shop several men wearing sandwich signs calling upon Grimaldi to join Local No. 9, Journeymen Barbers,

[ 397 Pa. Page 3]

Hairdressers and Cosmetologists International Union (hereinafter to be referred to as Local No. 9). This union is made up of barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists who are employees in barber and beauty shops owned by others. Grimaldi is not qualified for membership in this union because he is not an employee. As already stated, and as will be repeated, he is a one-man institution. He works for no one else. He toils only for himself. He cuts hair, shaves faces, administers shampoos, applies lotions and does all that is traditionally expected of a barber. As absolute owner of his place of business, and as master of himself and his work, he would be entirely out of place in a union composed of men who are employees in shops in which they do not have the slightest proprietary interest.

At meetings of Local No. 9, the discussions naturally revolve around such subjects as wages to be asked of employers, working conditions to be requested of employers, vacations to be sought of employers. Grimaldi could not participate in such discussions because it would be grotesque for him to ask himself how much salary he should pay himself, how much vacation he should allow himself, and what working conditions he should demand of himself.

Nevertheless, on July 31, 1956, pickets appeared in front of Grimaldi's place of business with signs urging prospective customers to stay away. The picketing was effective. Many patrons turned on their heels when they read the signs; men with supplies refused to cross the picket line; deliveries of towels ceased. Stagnation was immediate and decisive. With customers frightened away, supplies cut off, and laundry service severed, it could only be a matter of days until Grimaldi's business would expire like an undersea diver whose oxygen line has knotted. He appealed to the courts. He petitioned the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia

[ 397 Pa. Page 4]

County to restrain and enjoin Local No. 9, with its officers and members, from picketing his shop, from interfering with his business, and from intimidating or attempting to intimidate him to join Local No. 9.

After a hearing before Judge WATERS, a preliminary injunction issued, and then, on March 20, 1958, a full hearing on the merits of the cause was heard before Judge WEINROTT of Court of Common Pleas No. 5 who, on January 8, 1958, entered a final decree which granted the plaintiff the full relief prayed for. The defendants filed exceptions which were dismissed by Judge REIMEL, speaking for the court en banc. Local No. 9 and its named officers and members appealed to this Court.

The decree must be affirmed. The picketing attempted by Local No. 9 is a flagrant violation of the law and cannot be supported. The picketing of a one-man establishment is an invasion of an American's freedom to determine his own economic destiny when he stands alone in an enterprise of his own. Labor unions have the right to picket for organizational purposes, that is, to persuade non-union employees of an establishment to join a union. Such peaceful picketing is constitutionally protected and cannot be enjoined (Pappas v. Local Joint Exec. Bd., 374 Pa. 34). But the picketing in this case was not for organizational purposes and could not be for that purpose. There are no non-union employees in Grimaldi's shop. On what basis then, can there be lawful picketing for organizing employees? What is to be organized? Who are to be united?

Local No. 9, through its secretary Vincent Pace, of whom more will be said later, inflicted upon Grimaldi an harassment and intimidation which violated his rights and prerogatives as a United States citizen. Because he refused to join something he did not need and which could not help him he was threatened with economic

[ 397 Pa. Page 5]

    extinction - and then the means to so extinguish him were put into motion. The action of Local 9 also obviously offended against the recognized policy of organized labor, as announced by responsible labor leaders at legislative hearings and as they have been reviewed by the courts in recorded legislation.

In the early part of January, 1956, Vincent Pace, accompanied by three other men of Local 9, called on Louis Grimaldi in his barber shop and endeavored unsuccessfully to persuade him to join the union. Two or three other conferences followed with similar negative results. Then, on April 16, 1956 Vincent Pace, accompanied by five members of Local 9, met with Louis Grimaldi and five other self-employed barbers who were members of a social and educational organization known as the Pennsylvania League of Master Barbers. At this meeting Pace endeavored to induce the self-employed barbers to dissolve the Pennsylvania League of Master Barbers and to join up with Local No. 9. When Grimaldi and his companions stated they were not receptive to this idea, Pace became very abusive. He called the officers of the Pennsylvania League of Master Barbers opprobrious names and used language which was profane, vicious and obscene. He then outrightly threatened the organization and its members, declaring that if the self-employed barbers did not join his local, he would bestow upon them the "kiss of death." His threats were all garbed in a vileness of speech that offends the very paper on which it is printed.

Grimaldi and his companions refused to be intimidated and returned to their respective barber shops. On the morning of July 31, 1956, when Grimaldi arrived at his establishment to open it for business, he found two of Pace's men sitting at the curb in a "cream colored Cadillac." They informed him that it was his

[ 397 Pa. Page 6]

"turn to join." Grimaldi replied, "Look, fellows, how many times must you be told that I can't join your union? You know my position. I can't join your union.", and went into his shop to prepare for the day's work.

Several minutes later one of the Cadillac-borne men knocked at Grimaldi's door and informed him: "Well, we called up the office and we were told to picket your shop." Grimaldi replied, "Gentlemen, there's a big, wide sidewalk. Go ahead."

A few minutes later police arrived in response to a call made by the operator of a beauty shop in the vicinity. Still later the police captain of the district appeared, and when Grimaldi asked him "What can you do about this?" the police captain answered: "I can't do anything about it. The only thing I can do here is to see that nothing happens."

The pickets then, as Grimaldi was to testify later, "walked around the shop, you know, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth." And as they walked back and forth, Grimaldi's customers walked away.

The lower court found that this picketing was coercive and illegal and therefore enjoinable. Local 9, through its attorneys, argue that the court's injunction was illegal under the Labor Anti-Injunction Act of June 2, 1937, P.L. 1198, 43 P.S. § 206(a) et seq., as amended, which provides that no court shall have jurisdiction to issue an injunction "in any case involving or growing out of a labor dispute." But the Act has no application here. The Act specifically states that:

"(a) A case shall be held to involve or to grow out of a labor dispute when the case involves persons who are engaged in a single industry, trade, craft or occupation, or have direct or indirect interests therein, or who are employes of the same employer, or who are members of the same or an affiliated organization of employers or employes ..." (Emphasis supplied)

[ 397 Pa. Page 7]

It will be noted that the statute uses the plural throughout. It speaks of "persons," of "employes," and of "members." But there are no persons, employes or members in Grimaldi's shop. There is only one person there - and no employes or members at all.

In defining a labor dispute the Act says: "(c) The term 'labor dispute' includes any controversy concerning terms or conditions of employment, or concerning the association or representation of persons in negotiating, fixing, maintaining, changing, or seeking to arrange terms or conditions of employment or concerning employment relations or any other controversy arising out of the respective interests of employer and employe, regardless of whether or not the disputants stand in the proximate relation of employer and employe, and regardless of whether or not the employes are on strike with the employer." (Emphasis supplied)

The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Act of June 1, 1937, P.L. 1168 (43 P.S. § 211.1), which Local 9 also attempts to invoke in its behalf, offers no more legal support to its contention than the Labor Anti-Injunction Act. The Labor Relations Act specifically declares in its title that it is: "An act to protect the right of employes to organize and bargain collectively." (Emphasis supplied.) Here again we find the plural "employes." The Act then defines "labor dispute" as any controversy concerning: "(1) Terms, tenure or conditions of employment; or concerning (2) The association or representation of persons negotiating, fixing, maintaining, changing or seeking to arrange terms or conditions of employment, regardless of whether the disputants stand in the proximate relation of employer and employe."

Under the specific wording of both statutes, there was no labor dispute at 1438 South 58the Street. There was no controversy over conditions of employment and there was no discord arising out of "respective interests

[ 397 Pa. Page 8]

    of employer and employee." Nor could there be, since there was no employer or employee at Grimaldi's shop. Moreover, the Local did not claim, and does not now claim, that Grimaldi was charging unfair prices or that he was working improper hours, or that he was undermining in any way the working conditions of journeymen barbers - those employed in other shops.

The picketing of Grimaldi's shop had no bearing on conditions of labor or employment in other shops. In an Illinois case it was held that where the picketing is not designed to improve the conditions of labor of other employees it will be enjoined. In that case, the Appellate Court of Illinois (Second District) said: "There is no contention made by defendant that plaintiffs [self-employer owners of gasoline stations] were failing to meet the standards of wages and employment fixed by unions and thereby jeopardizing the rights of workingmen in the same industry, for the plaintiffs had no employees to whom they could pay wages ... It is, therefore, the considered judgment of this court that defendant's conduct was motivated by the illegal purpose of coercing self employed owners and operators of gasoline stations who hired no employees to join the union and sign an agreement, the net effect of which ...

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