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SHAW ELECTRIC COMPANY v. INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD ELECTRICAL WORKERS LOCAL UNION NO. 98 (06/24/66)

decided: June 24, 1966.

SHAW ELECTRIC COMPANY, INC.
v.
INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD ELECTRICAL WORKERS LOCAL UNION NO. 98, APPELLANT



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas No. 6 of Philadelphia County, Dec. T., 1962, No. 4637, in case of Shaw Electric Company, Inc. v. International Brotherhood Electrical Workers Local Union No. 98.

COUNSEL

Bernard N. Katz, with him Meranze, Katz, Spear & Bielitsky, for appellant.

Pace Reich, with him Modell, Pincus, Hahn & Reich, for appellee.

Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts. Mr. Justice Eagen concurs in the result. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice Cohen.

Author: Roberts

[ 422 Pa. Page 212]

This appeal arises out of a labor dispute and comes before this Court for the second time. On the prior appeal, we affirmed the action of the court below in dismissing the defendant-union's objections contesting the jurisdiction of the court and held that the action was authorized under § 301(a) of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, 61 Stat. 156, 29 U.S.C. § 185(a). Shaw Electric Co. v. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local No. 98, 418 Pa. 1, 208 A.2d 769 (1965).*fn* The case was thereupon remanded for trial on the merits.

Thereafter, the union filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, contending that the sole and exclusive remedy of Shaw Electric lies in the arbitration procedure contained in the collective bargaining agreement between the parties. The court below dismissed the motion, and this appeal followed.

Appellant-union, recognizing that an order dismissing a defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings is interlocutory and thus ordinarily unappealable, nevertheless urges that the present appeal is authorized by the Act of March 5, 1925, P. L. 23, § 1, 12 P.S. § 672,

[ 422 Pa. Page 213]

    as raising a question of jurisdiction. It contends that if there is a binding contract between itself and Shaw Electric, then the terms of that contract, which provide for arbitration of claimed violations of the agreement, preclude resort to the courts for the enforcement of its provisions. Thus, appellant-union contends that the arbitration clause contained in the collective bargaining agreement between the parties deprives the court below of jurisdiction over the suit and that its refusal to enter judgment on the pleadings raises a jurisdictional question under the Act of 1925. However, we are unable to agree that this contention raises a jurisdictional question appealable under that Act.

In the previous appeal to this Court, it was held that the court below had jurisdiction to determine the various contractual issues involved. Shaw Electric Co. v. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local No. 98, supra. We, therefore, view the nature of the issue raised by appellant-union's motion for judgment on the pleadings as going to the merits of the dispute. Thus, whether or not the court correctly concluded that the present dispute was not one for arbitration, it is clear that its refusal to grant appellant-union's motion for judgment on the pleadings does not raise a jurisdictional question within the meaning of the Act of 1925. Cf. McFarland v. Weiland Packing Co., 416 Pa. 277, 206 A.2d 18 (1965).

Moreover, appellant having previously appealed an adverse determination on the issue of jurisdiction under the provisions of the Act of 1925, the question presented by the present appeal falls within the rule enunciated in Drummond v. Drummond, 414 Pa. 548, 200 A.2d 887 (1964). There this Court stated that where jurisdictional objections have been adjudicated in an appeal permitted by the Act of 1925, "that ...


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