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STRYJEWSKI v. LOCAL UNION NO. 830 (09/26/67)

decided: September 26, 1967.

STRYJEWSKI, APPELLANT,
v.
LOCAL UNION NO. 830



Appeal from decree of Court of Common Pleas No. 9 of Philadelphia County, Dec. T., 1966, No. 2404, in case of Edmund Stryjewski and Jean Stryjewski, individually and trading as Tacony Beer Distributing Company v. Local Union No. 830, Brewery and Beer Distributor Drivers, Helpers and Platform Men, Gordon G. Grubb, Louis Lanni et al.

COUNSEL

Daniel Sherman, with him Sherman & Atkinson, for appellants.

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

Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Jones. Mr. Justice Cohen took no part in the consideration or decision of this case. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Bell. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts. Mr. Chief Justice Bell joins in this dissenting opinion.

Author: Jones

[ 426 Pa. Page 513]

This appeal stems from the refusal by the Court of Common Pleas No. 9 of Philadelphia County to issue a preliminary injunction at the instance of a retail beer distributor concern against a labor union and certain of its officers and members.

Edmund Stryjewski and Jean Stryjewski, his wife, trading as Tacony Beer Distributing Company [Stryjewskis], operate a licensed beer distributing concern on Torresdale Avenue, Philadelphia. Local Union No. 803 [Union], a Teamsters Union affiliate, is the collective bargaining agent for brewery and beer distributor

[ 426 Pa. Page 514]

    drivers, helpers and platform men in the Philadelphia area. This Union has a collective bargaining agreement with certain importing distributors*fn1 who supply beer to so-called "D Distributors", such as Stryjewskis and other retail beer distributors. This collective bargaining agreement provides, inter alia, that all beer supplied by the importing distributors must be delivered to their retail beer distributor customers and that no beer may be picked up at the platforms of the importing distributors by the importing distributors' customers, including Stryjewskis.*fn2 It is obvious that, because of this provision in the collective bargaining agreement, the picketing of the premises of a "D Distributor", such as Stryjewskis, precludes the receipt of any beer supplies from the importing distributors because the latters' union employees will not cross the picket line to make beer deliveries.

"To advertise the fact that [Stryjewskis] is nonunion and to attempt to organize the employees employed by [Stryjewskis]",*fn3 Stryjewskis' premises were picketed by the Union from January 10th to 20th, 1967 and from February 10th until the time of hearing in the court below.*fn4 Stryjewskis claim that one of their sons is their sole employee.

On January 12, 1967, Stryjewskis instituted this equity action in the Court of Common Pleas No. 9 of Philadelphia County against the Union and certain of

[ 426 Pa. Page 515]

    its officers and members seeking both monetary damages and injunctive relief to terminate the picketing. After hearing, the court below refused to issue a preliminary injunction and from that decree the instant appeal was taken.

An examination of the opinion of the court below clearly indicates that its refusal to grant injunctive relief was predicated upon the view that the matters at issue were arguably within the exclusive jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board [NLRB], and not the state court.

Initially, we recognize two well-settled principles of law as presently applicable: (1) on an appeal from a decree refusing to grant a preliminary injunction, our appellate review is limited to a determination whether there were any apparently reasonable grounds for the action of the court below and, unless it is clear that no such grounds existed or that the rules of law relied upon are "palpably wrong or clearly inapplicable", the merits of the case or the reasons for or against the court's action are not considered: Lindenfelser v. Lindenfelser, 385 Pa. 342, 344, 123 A.2d 626 (1956); Riverside Borough School District v. International Brotherhood of Electric Workers, Local No. 607, 389 Pa. 637, 638, 133 A.2d 554 (1957); Northampton Area Joint School Authority v. Building and Construction Trades Council, 396 Pa. 565, 571, 152 A.2d 688 (1959); (2) when the matters in dispute are arguably subject to Sections 7 or 8 of the National Labor Relations Act [NLRA],*fn5 then the state, as well as the federal, courts must defer to the exclusive jurisdiction of the NLRB if the danger of state interference with national labor policy is to be averted: San Diego Building Trades Council, etc. v. Garmon, 359 U.S. 236, 245, 79

[ 426 Pa. Page 516]

S. Ct. 773 (1959); Wax v. International Mailers Union, 400 Pa. 173, 186, 187, 161 A.2d 603 (1960); Terrizzi Beverage Co. v. Local Union No. 830, 408 Pa. 380, 383, 184 A.2d 243 (1962).

The sole question resolved by the court below was that of jurisdiction, a question generally troublesome in labor litigation. It is clear beyond any doubt that it has been the intent of the Congress through its legislative enactments and of the United States Supreme Court through its pronouncements to fashion a labor policy which is national in scope. However, for some years an intolerable situation existed in labor-management disputes where the NLRB, for budgetary or other considerations, declined or refused to act and where the state courts or agencies, by reason of the ruling in Guss v. Utah Labor Relations Board, 353 U.S. 1, 77 S. Ct. 598 (1957), were precluded from exercising any jurisdiction. Both management and labor frequently found themselves in a "no man's land" where rights existed without a remedy for their enforcement. To correct this situation, through the enactment of the LMRA,*fn6 supra, the Congress provided that state courts could assume jurisdiction in labor disputes where the NLRB, by rule of decision or published rules, had declined or refused to assert jurisdiction. See: Pa. Labor Relations Board v. Butz, 411 Pa. 360, 365-370, 192 A.2d 707 (1963).

In the court below, Stryjewskis argued that jurisdiction was in the state court because the NLRB could not and would not take jurisdiction for two reasons: first, ...


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