NO. 1068 Philadelphia, 1982, Appeal from the Order of March 23, 1982 in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Civil Division, No. 3982 February Term 1982
Ira Silverstein, Philadelphia, for appellants.
Andrea B. Wapner, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Montemuro, Watkins and Cercone, JJ. Watkins, J., dissents.
[ 334 Pa. Super. Page 48]
Frankel-Warwick Limited Partnership, plaintiff and appellee in this equity action, is owner and proprietor of the Warwick Hotel, which is located at 17th and Locust Streets, Philadelphia. The union was the collective bargaining representative until January 1982 of the employees working in the restaurants and banquet room of the Warwick. Until then, R and K Caterers rented those facilities; however, its lease was assigned to Hospitality Investments, Inc. (HHI). HHI assembled the former R and K employees and announced that the union was no longer to be recognized as the collective bargaining agent. Moreover, all of the former R and K employees were on a trial basis and their wage scale was sharply reduced. The union began picketing HHI immediately by maintaining a presence by members of the union at the entrances to the Warwick Hotel. HHI had an office within the hotel and testimony at the
[ 334 Pa. Super. Page 49]
hearing below established that the union timed its picketing to coincide with various banquets which HHI scheduled.
Appellee Warwick Hotel has no part in the labor dispute. It has instituted this complaint in equity to restrain what it asserts was the mass picketing of the hotel entrances. An ex parte injunction was granted on February 25, 1982, which limited picketing to two pickets at each entrance and no relief pickets within one thousand feet from either entrance. On March 10, 1982, an application for preliminary injunction was made and after testimony was taken, it was granted on the same terms. The union then demanded a final hearing after which a final decree was filed. This decree maintained the original basic provisions of only two pickets per entrance, but with no relief pickets within 500 feet in any direction. The union appealed from this final decree.
[ 334 Pa. Super. Page 50]
On appeal from a final decree, the standard of review is not whether there were "any apparently reasonable grounds for the action of the court below", as is the case when the issuance of denial of preliminary injunctive relief is reviewed. See e.g.: Link Belt Co. v. Local Union No. 118 of American Federation of Technical Engineers, 415 Pa. 122, 129, 202 A.2d 314, 318 (1964); Philadelphia Minit-Man Car Wash Corp. v. Building and Construction Trades Council of Philadelphia and Vicinity, 411 Pa. 585, 589, 192 A.2d 378, 380 (1963); Mead Johnson & Co. v. Martin Wholesale Distributors, Inc., 408 Pa. 12, 19, 182 A.2d 741, 745 (1962). On the contrary, the test is whether the trial court, in entering a final decree, abused its discretion or committed an error of law. Westinghouse Electric Corp. v. United Electrical, Radio & Machine of America, (CLO) Local 601 et al., 353 Pa. 446, 46 A.2d 16, 18 (1946) (Lower court denied injunctive relief and dismissed complaint). See also: Sack v. Feinman, 489 Pa. 152, 165-66, 413 A.2d 1059, 1066 (1980); Felmlee et al. v. Lockett, 466 Pa. 1, 7, 351 A.2d 273, 276 (1976); Krosnar v. Schmidt Krosnar McNaughton Garrett Co., 282 Pa. Super. 526, 534, 423 A.2d 370, 374 (1980). Neshaminy Contractors, Inc. v. Page 50} Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO, 303 Pa. Superior Ct. 420, 423, 449 A.2d 1389, 1390 (1982).
The Pennsylvania Labor Anti-Injunction Act (43 P.S. § 206a, et seq.) limits the jurisdiction of courts over labor disputes to certain specific situations. These measures were enacted under a public policy favoring the rights of the worker:
"[I]t is necessary that he have full freedom of association, self-organization, and designation of representatives of his own choosing to negotiate the terms and conditions of his employment, and that he shall be free from the interference, restraint or coercion of employers of labor or their agents in the designation of such representatives or in self-organization or in other concerted ...