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FOOD FAIR STORES v. RETAIL CLERKS DIST. COUNCIL NO

March 11, 1964

FOOD FAIR STORES, INC., a corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
RETAIL CLERKS DISTRICT COUNCIL NUMBER 11, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WOOD

This labor matter is before the Court on the plaintiff's motion to remand its complaint in equity to the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, Pennsylvania.

After an extensive conference with counsel in chambers and later oral argument in Court we make the following findings of fact and conclusions of law based upon the briefs of counsel, the pleadings, and the record in this case.

 FINDINGS OF FACT

 1. The plaintiff, Food Fair Stores, Inc., operates a large chain of retail food markets as well as a wholesale operation throughout the United States to the annual gross revenue which exceeds $ 1,000,000,000.

 2. Approximately 174 of the plaintiff's stores in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware are the subject of a labor dispute involving the plaintiff and the defendant local unions.

 3. The defendant Retail Clerks District Council Number 11 (hereinafter referred to as 'union') is an unincorporated association and is a voluntary labor organization consisting of a number of constituent local unions and a great number of members, too numerous in number to be named herein.

 4. There exists a collective bargaining agreement dated July 13, 1962 between the plaintiff and the union which was to be effective from June 3, 1962 until March 6, 1965 and is still in full force and effect.

 5. Article XXI of the agreement contains a clause prohibiting strikes and work stoppages by the union against the plaintiff during the life of the agreement.

 6. Section 2 of Article XXI provides for arbitration of any disputes which the parties cannot amicably settle between themselves.

 7. The plaintiff also owns and operates a chain of retail discount stores as a subsidiary known as J. M. Fields, Inc. (hereinafter referred to as 'Fields').

 9. About the time that the Fields store was opened and throughout the year 1963 the union made demands upon Fields to extend the aforementioned collective bargaining agreement to Fields' employees in the Stratford store as well as other Fields' stores located in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

 10. This attempted extension of the agreement was unsuccessful and the union engaged in a strike and work stoppage at Food Fair Stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware on November 14, 1963, to force the plaintiff to accede to the union's demands.

 11. After obtaining an ex parte restraining order on November 14, 1963, from the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County against Local Union 1357 and others, the plaintiff and the union executed a memorandum agreement extending the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement to cover the food employees of the Fields' stores in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

 12. With regard to the non-food operations of the Fields' stores the parties agreed to enter upon negotiations forthwith to reach an agreement within thirty days from November 14, 1963.

 13. In the course of the truce there was a brief strike and work stoppage on December 17, 1963 in eight of the plaintiff's food stores in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

 14. Negotiations broke down completely and on February 13, 1964, and continuing to date, a strike and work stoppage has been in existence at the plaintiff's stores located in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

 15. During November 1963 at the outset of the dispute the Union sought arbitration which the plaintiff attempted to enjoin by suit in the Federal Court, subsequently the Agreement of November 14, 1963 resulted in a withdrawal of all suits, the arbitration and the suit to enjoin the arbitration.

 16. To enjoin alleged mass picketing of its stores the plaintiff obtained various ex parte restraining orders in ...


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