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INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION MASTERS v. INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION MASTERS (04/21/64)

April 21, 1964

INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION MASTERS, MATES AND PILOTS OF AMERICA, LOCAL NO. 2, APPELLANT,
v.
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION MASTERS, MATES AND PILOTS OF AMERICA, INC.



Appeal, No. 358, Jan. T., 1962, from order of Court of Common Pleas No. 6 of Philadelphia County, Sept. T., 1956, No. 626, in case of International Organization Masters, Mates and Pilots of America, Local No. 2, Edmund H. Stoughton and Samuel J. Schweigert, trustees ad litem, et al. v. International Organization Masters, Mates and Pilots of America, Inc., Morris Weinstein, alleged trustee, et al. Order reversed.*fn*

COUNSEL

William A. Goichman, with him Rosenzweig, Krimsky & Goichman, for appellants.

Richard H. Markowitz, with him Richard Kirschner, and Wilderman, Markowitz & Kirschner, for appellees.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'brien and Roberts, JJ.

Author: Roberts

[ 414 Pa. Page 278]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ROBERTS

Plaintiff-appellants, former members of the International Organization Masters, Mates and Pilots

[ 414 Pa. Page 279]

    of America, Local No. 2, filed a complaint in equity in the Court of Common Pleas No. 6 of Philadelphia County against that union and its officers. In the complaint, appellants sought reinstatement as members in good standing and compensatory and exemplary damages. Preliminary objections were filed by the defendant union and its officers. These were sustained by the court below which held that its jurisdiction was preempted by that of the National Labor Relations Board and that plaintiffs had failed to exhaust their internal union remedies. Appellees rely upon these grounds to urge that the decision below be affirmed.

To support their appeal, appellants rely heavily on International Association of Machinists v. Gonzales, 356 U.S. 617, 78 S.Ct. 923, 2 L.Ed.2d 1018 (1958). In that case, a former union member brought suit in the equity courts of California to compel his reinstatement in the union and to obtain damages. The Supreme Court of the United States, in an opinion by Mr. Justice FRANKFURTER, held that the state court had jurisdiction to order plaintiff's reinstatement and to award damages to compensate for suffering and loss of wages. Id. at 620-21, 78 S.Ct. at 925.

Three cases are relied upon by appellees to demonstrate that the Gonzales case has been overruled by implication: San Diego Bldg. Trades Council v. Garmon, 359 U.S. 236, 79 S.Ct. 773, 3 L.Ed.2d 775 (1959); Local 100, United Ass'n of Journeymen and Apprentices v. Borden, 373 U.S. 690, 83 S.Ct. 1423, 10 L.Ed.2d 638 (1963); and Local No. 207, Int'l Ass'n of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers Union v. Perko, 373 U.S. 701, 83 S.Ct. 1429, 10 L.Ed.2d 646 (1963).

Recently, in Smith v. Pittsburgh Gage and Supply Co., 412 Pa. 171, 174-77, 194 A.2d 181, 182-84 (1963), a unanimous opinion, our Court discussed the application

[ 414 Pa. Page 280]

    and effect of these cases, saying: "The basic rule delineating jurisdiction in this area of the law [preemption of state jurisdiction] was recently reiterated by the United States Supreme Court in Local 100 v. Borden, 373 U.S. 690, 693, 83 S.Ct. 1423, 1425: 'This Court held in San Diego Building Trades Council v. Garmon, 359 U.S. 236, [79 S.Ct. 773], that in the absence of an overriding state interest such as that involved in the maintenance of domestic peace, state courts must defer to the exclusive competence of the National Labor Relations Board in cases in which the activity that is the subject matter of the litigation is arguably subject to the protections of § 7 or the prohibitions of § 8 of the National Labor Relations Act.' ..."

Our Court then stated: "To the general rule defining jurisdiction, the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized exceptions in the case of certain activities, even though such activities are arguably, or even concededly, within the protections of § 7 or the prohibitions of § 8 of the Act. As examples, the Garmon rule has been held inapplicable or irrelevant ... (c) where 'the lawsuit [is] focused on purely internal union matters, i.e., on relations between the individual plaintiff and the union not having to do directly with matters of employment and ... the principal relief sought [is] restoration of union membership rights.'*fn1 (International Association of Machinists v. Gonzales, 356 U.S. 617, 78 S.Ct. 923)."

Accord, Cosmark v. Struthers Wells Corp., 412 Pa. 211, 217-18, 194 A.2d 325, 327-28 (1963), cert. denied, 376 U.S. 962, 84 ...


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