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June 3, 1960


Appeal, No. 253, Jan. T., 1959, from order of Court of Common Pleas No. 1 of Philadelphia County, June T., 1959, No. 3396, in case of Samuel Wax v. International Mailers Union et al. Order reversed.


M. H. Goldstein, with him Bernard L. Barkan, Michael Brodie, and Goldstein and Barkan, for appellants.

Richard S. Hoffmann, for appellee.

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

Author: Cohen

[ 400 Pa. Page 175]


This is an appeal from the dismissal by the Court of Common Pleas No. 1 of Philadelphia County of appellants' preliminary objections to appellee's amended complaint in equity. In his amended complaint the appellee, Samuel Wax, who earned his livelihood as a mailer,*fn1 alleges that he was a member in good standing of the appellant International Mailers Union (International) from 1915 to August 31, 1956; that he was also a member of the appellant Philadelphia

[ 400 Pa. Page 176]

Mailers Union No. 14 (Union) from 1922 to August 31, 1956, after which he was improperly expelled from both the International and the Union by the president of the International, in accordance with a resolution adopted by the Annual Convention of the International; that as a result of the invalid expulsion and continuously since then, he has been unable to obtain work as a mailer; and that appellee, in seeking relief, has exhausted the internal remedies available to him within said associations. The prayer of the complaint is for reinstatement and damages and for such other relief as the Court deems just and proper. The appellants filed amended preliminary objections, which in part challenge the lower court's jurisdiction to entertain the cause of action. Upon the lower court's dismissal of the objections based on jurisdiction, the instant appeal was taken under the Act of March 5, 1925, P.L. 23, § 1, 12 PS § 672.

In their preliminary objections, appellants contend that exclusive jurisdiction over the subject matter is vested in the National Labor Relations Board (N.L.R.B.) under the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (Taft-Hartley Act), 61 Stat. 136 et seq., 29 U.S.C.A. § 141 et seq., on the ground that appellee is in effect charging the appellants with having committed an unfair labor practice; that although the case arises out of a labor dispute, as defined in the Act of June 2, 1937, P.L. 1198, 43 PS § 206 (Anti-Injunction Act), the amended complaint does not allege any of the facts which said Act requires a court to find in order to acquire the jurisdiction necessary to grant the injunctive relief sought; and that the president of the International is an indispensable party and that appellee's failure to join him as a party-defendant renders the complaint totally defective. And finally, appellants contend that appellee's allegation of exhaustion of internal remedies in the amended complaint is insufficient.

[ 400 Pa. Page 177]

Although appellants' final contention was raised on demurrer and not as a jurisdictional question, and although it was not passed upon by the lower court, in view of our contemporaneous holding in Falsetti v. Local No. 2026, United Mine Workers of America, 400 Pa. 145, 161 A.2d 882 (1960), we deem it imperative to treat the matter as a jurisdictional question properly raised. There is ample authority for the proposition that once a question of jurisdiction is raised or involved in a proceeding before this Court, the parties may not limit our review to the issue raised and exclude all others which pertain to jurisdiction. Gardner v. Allegheny County, 382 Pa. 88, 96, 114 A.2d 491 (1955); Jacobs v. Fetzer, 381 Pa. 262, 112 A.2d 356 (1955); Fineman v. Cutler, 273 Pa. 189, 193, 116 Atl. 819 (1922).

As we stated in Falsetti, a plaintiff's mere allegation of exhaustion of remedies will not satisfy the requirement which must be met before our courts, in suits brought by members against their associations, may exercise jurisdiction. In his amended complaint, appellee makes the following cryptic allegation: "11. That the plaintiff has exhausted the remedies available within the INTERNATIONAL MAILERS UNION and the PHILADELPHIA MAILERS UNION NUMBER 14, and that he has no adequate remedy at law." Attached to appellee's amended complaint is Exhibit "A" which is a copy of Article XXI of the International's by-laws, in effect in August, 1956, and from which the ...

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