The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Conner
Presently before the court is plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. For the reasons that follow, the court will grant the motion.
Plaintiffs are employees of defendant Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission ("PTC"). They are employed in a bargaining unit represented by Turnpike and Public Employees, Teamsters Union Local No. 77, International Brotherhood of Teamsters ("the Union"). (Doc. 3 ¶ 8.) A collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") in effect from October 1, 2004 through September 30, 2007 governs the relationship between PTC and the Union. (See Doc. 3, Ex. A.) Article 4 of the CBA has a "maintenance of membership" provision stating:
Any employee who, on the effective date of this agreement, has joined the Union or who joins the Union in the future must, as a condition of employment, remain a member for the duration of this agreement with the proviso that any such employee may resign from the Union during a period of fifteen (15) days prior to the expiration of this agreement.
(Id. art. 4 at 8-9.)*fn1 The CBA also provides:
The Employer further agrees to deduct a Fair Share Fee monthly from all employees in the bargaining unit who are not members of the Union.
The [PTC] shall deduct regular initiation fees and monthly dues from the pay of employees covered by this agreement and upon receipt from the Union of individual written authorization cards executed by an employee for that purpose and bearing his signature. (Id. at 9.)
Plaintiffs submitted to the Union letters of resignation from membership. The Union received these letters and rejected the resignations because the "maintenance of membership" provision of the CBA provided a specific time for resignations.*fn2 The Union continues to collect full union dues from plaintiffs for unrestricted use by the Union. The next collection of union dues will occur on June 7, 2007.*fn3 (See Tr. at 28-31; see also Doc. 3, Exs. B, C.)*fn4
Plaintiffs commenced the instant action on March 22, 2007 by filing a verified complaint (Doc. 1), and subsequently amended the complaint to add a plaintiff (Doc. 3). Plaintiffs allege that the "maintenance of membership" provision of the CBA and §§ 1101.301(18) and 1101.705 of the Pennsylvania Public Employe Relations Act violate their First Amendment rights. They also allege that the Union is in violation of the notice requirements set forth in Chicago Teachers Union, Local No. 1 v. Hudson, 475 U.S. 292 (1986). (Doc. 3)
On April 4, 2007, plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction (Doc. 4) seeking to enjoin defendants from seizing union dues or fair share fees and from enforcing Article 4 of the CBA, including the "maintenance of membership" provision. Following a telephone conference with the parties, the court established a briefing and hearing schedule. (See Docs. 12, 15.) The court conducted a hearing on plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction on May 24, 2007 and the motion is now ripe for disposition.
The requirements for preliminary injunctive relief are well settled. The moving party must establish that (1) there is a reasonable probability of success on the merits, (2) irreparable injury will result without injunctive relief, (3) granting the injunction will avoid a comparably greater injury than denying it, and (4) the injunction is in the public interest. See BP Chems., Ltd. v. Formosa Chem. & Fibre Corp., 229 F.3d 254, 263 (3d Cir. 2000); Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. v. Chamberlain, 145 F. Supp. 2d 621, 625 (M.D. Pa. 2001). While each factor need not be established beyond doubt, they must combine to show the immediate necessity of injunctive relief. See Swartzwelder v. McNeilly, 297 F.3d 228, 234 (3d Cir. 2002); ...