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SEPTA v. BROTHERHOOD OF R.R. SIGNALMEN

March 8, 1989

SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY, Plaintiff,
v.
BROTHERHOOD OF RAILROAD SIGNALMEN, Washington, D.C. and ROLAND E. McKENZIE, General Chairman, BROTHERHOOD OF RAILROAD SIGNALMEN, Lancaster, PA and V.M. SPEAKMAN, President, BROTHERHOOD OF RAILROAD SIGNALMEN, Mt. Prospect, ILL and W. KEEBLER, Local Chairman, BROTHERHOOD OF RAILROAD SIGNALMEN, Norristown, PA and BROTHERHOOD OF LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEERS, Linden, NJ and BROTHERHOOD OF LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEERS, Albany, NY and BROTHERHOOD OF LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEERS, Rochester, New York and LARRY McFATHER, President, BROTHERHOOD OF LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEERS, Cleveland, OH and R.W. GODWIN, General Chairman, BROTHERHOOD OF LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEERS, Hamburg, NY and T.J. DORRICOTT, Vice Chairman, BROTHERHOOD OF LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEERS, Media, PA and GEOFFREY ZEH, President, BROTHERHOOD OF MAINTENANCE OF WAY EMPLOYEES, Detroit, MI and WILLIAM LARVE, Vice-President, BROTHERHOOD OF MAINTENANCE OF WAY EMPLOYEES, Downingtown, PA and LEONARD W. ALLEN, General Chairman, BROTHERHOOD OF MAINTENANCE OF WAY EMPLOYEES, Newark, NJ and A. BENZ, Local Chairman, BROTHERHOOD OF MAINTENANCE OF WAY EMPLOYEES, Philadelphia, PA and R.I. KILROY, Int'l. President, TRANSPORTATION COMMUNICATIONS UNION, Rockville, MD and HOWARD RANDOLPH, General Chairman, TRANSPORTATION COMMUNICATIONS UNION, Philadelphia, PA and LANCE ROGERS, District Chairman, Philadelphia, PA and C.E. WHEELER, President, BROTHERHOOD OF RAILWAY CARMEN, Kansas City, MD and A.J. TITUS, Local Chairman, BROTHERHOOD OF RAILWAY CARMEN, Philadelphia, PA and JAMES J. PARRY, General Chairman, BROTHERHOOD OF RAILWAY CARMEN, Colonia, NJ and EDWARD P. McENTEE, Int'l., Vice-President, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS, Rosemont, ILL and INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS, Philadelphia, PA and HARVEY LINDENMUTH, General Chairman, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS, Doylestown, PA and F.A. HARDIN, President, UNITED TRANSPORTATION UNION, Cleveland, OH and C.P. JONES, General Chairman, UNITED TRANSPORTATION UNION, Philadelphia, PA and D.M. THOMPSON, Local Chairman, UNITED TRANSPORTATION UNION, Bensalem, PA and J.E. BURNS, President, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MACHINISTS, Hamden, CT and INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MACHINISTS, Norristown, PA and CHARLES C. ARTHUR, JR., General Chairman, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MACHINISTS, Greenwood, Indiana and KEITH BEAN, Local Chairman, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MACHINISTS, Norristown, PA and SHEETMETAL WORKERS INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION, Arlington, VA and SHEETMETAL WORKERS INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION, New Haven, CT and RICHARD KING, International Representative, SHEETMETAL WORKERS INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION, Arlington, VA and R. P. BRANSON, General Chairman, SHEETMETAL WORKERS INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION, Washington, DC and R.F. SCHEMBS, Local Chairman, SHEETMETAL WORKERS INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION, Ridley Park, PA and TRANSPORT WORKERS UNION OF AMERICA, Philadelphia, PA and TRANSPORT WORKERS UNION OF AMERICA, New York, NY and CHARLES H. LITTLE, President, TRANSPORT WORKERS UNION OF AMERICA, Broomall, PA


Franklin S. Van Antwerpen, United States District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: VAN ANTWERPEN

FRANKLIN S. VAN ANTWERPEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 Plaintiff South Eastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority ("SEPTA") is before the Court seeking an injunction preventing defendants from honoring secondary picket lines. On March 3, 1989, the Honorable J.E. Dubois, acting as Emergency Judge, issued a temporary restraining order granting the plaintiff relief. In addition, as agreed to by the parties, the order continued in effect until this Court could render a decision on plaintiff's request for a preliminary injunction. From the evidentiary hearings held on March 7 and 8, 1989, we set forth the following facts:

 At midnight, March 4, 1989, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Union ("IAMAW") began a strike against Eastern Airlines. The parties have exhausted proceedings under the Railway Labor Act ("RLA"), 45 U.S.C. § 151 et seq. (1982), and the dispute may be bitter and protracted. Counsel for the IAMAW Union was present in court and did not dispute that the IAMAW Union feels it has the right to conduct secondary picketing at various locations, including SEPTA facilities. For the purposes of this hearing, SEPTA does not dispute that IAM has the right to engage in this picketing.

 Shortly after the Eastern strike began, SEPTA officials received a telegram from William W. Winpisinger, President of IAMAW, sent to the National Railway Labor Conference. It states that IAMAW is "contemplating secondary boycott action wherever possible" and that "in the railroad industry we are presently contemplating establishing secondary picketing on Monday, March 6, 1989, as early in the morning as possible at selected locations on several rail carriers including . . . SEPTA." In addition, the telegram requested that other unions refuse to cross the secondary picket lines. IAMAW does not dispute the substance of the telegram, and although it agrees that strikes are fluid, IAMAW concedes that it is likely that there will be secondary picketing. SEPTA comes before the Court in an effort to prevent its union employees from honoring any IAMAW secondary picket lines.

 SEPTA is divided into four divisions: 1) the Regional Rail Division which, since January 1, 1983, took over the commuter lines formerly operated by the Reading Railroad, Conrail, and the Pennsylvania Railroads; 2) the City Transit Division which includes buses, trollies, subways, and elevated lines; 3) the Red Arrow Division which runs Suburban Delaware County and other lines; and 4) the Frontier Division which runs the Montgomery County suburban routes. Although it was once thought that all divisions were subject to the anti-secondary picketing provisions of Act 195, 43 P.S. §§ 1101.101 et seq. (Purdon Supp. 1988), it is clear that this act does not apply to the SEPTA Regional Rail Division. It is the Regional Rail Division which the IAMAW intends to secondarily picket and which is the subject of this proceeding.

 The defendant unions are all parties to collective bargaining agreements with SEPTA. With the exception of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers' agreement, each agreement contains a clause which reads substantially as follows:

 
NO STRIKE
 
With respect to a strike by the Union, the provisions of the Railway Labor Act Apply.

 The agreement between SEPTA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers contains the following clause:

 
NO STRIKE
 
For the duration of the Agreement, the Union, its officers, agents, representatives, and members shall not in any way, directly or indirectly authorize, cause, assist, encourage, participate in, ratify or condone any strike, sit-down, sit-in, slow-down, sympathy strike, cessation or stoppage of work, boycott, picketing, or other interference with or interruption of work at any of SEPTA's operations or the operations of any customer of SEPTA.
 
The Union representatives shall use every reasonable effort to terminate the strike, sit-down, sit-in, slow-down, sympathy strike, cessation or stoppage of work, boycott picketing, or other interference with or interruption of the operation of SEPTA or any customer of SEPTA.

 Except for the electrical workers' agreement, each agreement has attached to it a "side letter" agreement which purports to be signed by both SEPTA and the particular union in question. All the side letter agreements contain substantially similar language which refers to the no strike section of the main agreement and prohibits each union from engaging in "any sympathy strike . . . in support of any job action or picketing by any SEPTA non-commuter rail employees." Policy statements of some of the defendant unions qualify this side letter clause. Although it agrees that "SEPTA's non-commuter rail employees" are not members of railroad labor organizations, the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen indicates that it will support strikes of railroad labor organizations. The United Transportation Union policy states that the union will support its members in not entering the affected territory if a strike of a nationally recognized labor organization is in effect and there is a real or potential danger ...


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