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MARCO INDUSTRIES v. UNITED STEELWORKERS AMERICA (10/10/60)

October 10, 1960

MARCO INDUSTRIES, INC.
v.
UNITED STEELWORKERS OF AMERICA, APPELLANT.



Appeals, Nos. 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29, Jan. T., 1961, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Berks County, No. 2771, Equity Docket, 1953, in case of Marco Industries, Incorporated v. United Steelworkers of America, AFL-CIO et al. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Sidney G. Handler, with him Edward Youngerman, and Daniel F. Knittle, for appellants.

F. Edenharter, for appellee.

Before Jones, C. J., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Eagen, JJ.

Author: Jones

[ 401 Pa. Page 300]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BENJAMIN R. JONES

Marco Industries, Inc. (appellee) on May 27, 1958 filed a complaint in equity in the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County against United Steel Workers of America, A.F.L.-C.I.O., William Norman, its business agent, United Steelworkers of America, Local 5184 and Arlene Light, its president. This complaint sought injunctive relief against the union and its representatives because of certain picketing and other concerted activities in connection with a labor dispute then existing between Marco and the union.

On that same date the court below granted a rule upon the four named defendants to show cause why a preliminary injunction should not issue. After hearings, the court, on June 13, 1958, entered a decree enjoining and restraining the defendants "from having more than three pickets at any one time at any of the entrances to the plant of [Marco] ..., that at no time shall any of said pickets be closer than fifteen feet to any other picket, and that the defendants ... be ... enjoined and restrained until further hearing or

[ 401 Pa. Page 301]

    further Order of [the] Court from doing or engaging in any acts of violence, threats, intimidation or coercion, and from engaging in any unlawful course of conduct calculated to injure [Marco] in the course of its business or to coerce or intimidate [Marco] employees in the exercise of the right to free ingress and egress in and to the plant of [Marco] in the Borough of Womelsdorf".

Three days later the court issued an order to the sheriff of Berks County to enforce the preliminary injunction decree.

On five separate dates thereafter - June 23, 24, 26, July 7, 8, 1958 - Marco filed separate petitions for contempt which alleged specific violations of the injunction decree and certain acts of violence on the part of Norman, Light and various other individuals (unnamed as defendants in the original equity proceedings). On June 27, 1958, those named in the contempt petitions filed answers asking the dismissal of the contempt petitions or, in the alternative, a trial by jury. On June 30, 1958, motions to dismiss the contempt petitions of June 23 and 24 were filed and, on July 7, 1958, those named as defendants in the equity proceeding filed preliminary objections to the complaint.

After argument upon the various legal issues raised by the pleadings, the court below, on July 11, 1958, overruled both the preliminary objections and motions to dismiss the contempt petitions and held that the contempt alleged in the several petitions was an indirect criminal contempt. The court further directed that the respondents named in the contempt proceedings stand trial on "appropriate issues to be ...


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