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Paterson Parchment Paper Co. v. International Brotherhood of Paper Makers

decided: August 1, 1951.

PATERSON PARCHMENT PAPER CO.
v.
INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF PAPER MAKERS ET AL.



Author: Hastie

Before BIGGS, Chief Judge, and STALEY and HASTIE, Circuit Judges.

HASTIE, Circuit Judge.

The Paterson Parchment Paper Company has appealed from a judgment dismissing its action brought under Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, 61 Stat. 156, 29 U.S.C.A. ยง 185, against the International Brotherhood of Paper Makers and its Bristol Local #500 for damages arising out of an alleged breach of a collective labor agreement. The alleged breach was a strike, called on August 20, 1948, which shut plaintiff's plant down until November 20, 1948, with resultant serious loss to plaintiff. The contract was a comprehensive and detailed agreement covering the field of employment and labor relations at plaintiff's plant. It contained an express covenant not to strike. It was executed and to be performed in Pennsylvania and we construe it in accordance with Pennsylvania law.

The principal issue now before us is whether the contract was still in effect on the date of the strike's commencement. The defendants claim that it had terminated by virtue of a notice sent by them on June 1.

The controlling provisions of the contract read as follows:

"Section 15. Term of Agreement

"This agreement shall be in effect from August 15, 1947 to August 15, 1948 and thereafter from year to year, provided, however, that either party may terminate the same on not less than sixty (60) days written notice given to the other prior to the anniversary date.

"However, should there be a delay in negotiating the new agreement, this agreement shall remain in full effect until such time as a new agreement is completed."

The defendants contend that the following written notice given by the Regional Director of the parent union on June 1, 1948 was sufficient under this contract to terminate it on August 15, 1948:

"This letter is to serve as notification in compliance to the sixty (60) days notice stipulation, in our contract, that Bristol Local #500 desires a meeting with the Company for the purpose of discussing changes in the contract for the coming year.

"Will you kindly let me know as soon as possible the date and place most convenient for you to meet with the Union Committee and a Representative of the Union so that this contract can be concluded by the expiration date".

To this letter the company respondent on June 7, 1948:

"We have your letter of June 1, addressed to Mr. King Evans requesting a meeting with the Company for the purpose of discussing changes in the contract for the coming year.

"The Company will be very glad to meet with you at 10:30 A.M. on June 15, this being the earliest possible date that we can all get together, and I hope that will meet with your approval. If not, please ...


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