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TANKER SERV. COMM., INC. v. INTERNATIONAL ORG. OF

June 21, 1967

Tanker Service Committee, Inc., et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
International Organization Of Masters, Mates And Pilots, AFL-CIO, Defendant. Maritime Service Committee, Inc., et al., Plaintiffs, v. International Organization Of Masters, Mates And Pilots, AFL-CIO, Defendants


Fullam, D.J.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: FULLAM

FULLAM, D.J.

In 1965, collective-bargaining agreements were entered into between the Defendant international union and various shipowners, represented in the negotiations and in these actions by Plaintiff trade associations. Two basic agreements are involved, the "Atlantic and Gulf Coast Tanker Agreement of 1965-69" and a corresponding "Dry Cargo" agreement, both containing comprehensive arbitration provisions and explicit no-strike clauses.

 For many months, there has been a serious dispute as to the interpretation and application of certain "parity" wage provisions of the agreements. Arbitration of this dispute was begun but not completed. Apparently, other avenues of approach were explored by mutual consent; at any rate, the arbitration proceedings were interrupted and had not yet been resumed when the Defendant began to cause a work-stoppage in direct violation of the no-strike clause.

 The specific issue of the work-stoppage was then submitted to the Arbitrator, in proceedings stipulated to have been properly convened and conducted pursuant to the agreement. On June 14, 1967, the Arbitrator duly entered the following Award:

 
"By virtue of the power vested in me by the parties' agreement to arbitrate, I hereby award as follows:
 
"1. The concerted refusal of licensed deck officers on June 14, 1967 or thereafter to sign ship's articles or to perform their assigned functions aboard vessels under Atlantic & Gulf Coast contracts with any of the companies on the list appended to this order is a violation of the parties' agreements and of the officers' obligations under these agreements.
 
"2. The oral or written communication by officers of the Organization to licensed deck officers represented by the Organization, requesting, directing or authorizing such licensed officers to refuse to sign ship's articles or to refuse to perform their assigned functions on vessels on or after June 14, 1967 is a violation of the Organization's obligations under the agreements.
 
"3. I order and direct that the concerted refusal to sign articles or to perform the duties of licensed deck officers aboard vessels of the Employers be ended at once, with a view to restoration of normal shipping operations within the shortest feasible time.
 
"4. I order and direct the International Organization and its involved local affiliates to act affirmatively to instruct its members to observe the no-strike provisions of their contracts and to instruct its members to sign on vessels of the Employers and to cease or refrain from any interference with the operation and sailing of said vessels.
 
"5. In this connection the International Organization is instructed to communicate forthwith by telephone or telegram with Local Unions and others whose cooperation may be needed in order to end the work stoppages now in progress and to withdraw the threats of continuing work stoppages."

 The Defendant failed to comply with this Award, and announced its intention to continue the strike or work-stoppage until its "parity" wage-demands were met. Plaintiffs thereupon brought the present actions for confirmation and enforcement of the Award, seeking, inter alia, preliminary injunctive relief. Hearings were held on June 16 and 19, resulting in the entry of various orders from the bench and a more formal order on June 20, following the hearings. This Memorandum is filed in order to spread upon the record the reasons for the various actions taken.

 The Defendant first sought to have these actions transferred to the Southern District of New York under 28 U.S.C.A. § 1404, on the theory that the Plaintiffs were guilty of forum-shopping. I refused to order the transfer, primarily because of the need for a speedy resolution of the controversy, but also in part because Plaintiffs had a right to select the forum, no great inconvenience would be involved, and the defense motion itself seemed to have a forum-shopping rationale.

 On the merits, the essential facts are not in dispute. The arbitrability of the no-strike clause is conceded, as are the procedural validity of the Award and the Defendant's refusal to comply. The litigated question is the authority of this Court to grant enforcement.

 By reason of § 4 of the Norris-LaGuardia Act (29 U.S.C.A. § 104), as interpreted in Sinclair Refining Co. v. Atkinson, 370 U.S. 195, 8 L. Ed. 2d 440, 82 S. Ct. 1328 (1962), the Defendant cannot, in this private litigation, lawfully be enjoined from continuing the work-stoppage. But this does not mean the Defendant is immune from all forms of judicial intervention to encourage compliance with the Arbitrator's award, and I conceive it to be the task of the Court in this ...


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