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Hammer v. Local No. 211

Decided: August 18, 1954.

VALESKA HAMMER & OSCAR HAMMER, PARTNERS, DOING BUSINESS AS WELLER EMBROIDERY CO., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
LOCAL NO. 211, UNITED TEXTILE WORKERS OF AMERICA, A.F.L.; JOSEPH G. QUINN, ROBERT E. COLE, PETER HEAVEY, LOUIS GIULIANO, JEREMIAH SULLIVAN; LOCAL NO. 560, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS AND CHAUFFEURS, A.F.L.; JOHN H. CONLIN, ANTHONY PROVENZANO AND ROBERT BOYD, DEFENDANTS



Drewen, J.c.c. (temporarily assigned).

Drewen

Suit is brought to restrain defendants and their representatives from picketing plaintiffs' plant in Union City and from engaging in other related activities directed toward interference with the conduct by plaintiffs of their trade and business conducted thereat.

Hearing on application for preliminary restraint was had before Judge Stanton and concluded December 2, 1953. Final hearing came on before me and was concluded June 30, 1954. Judge Stanton made factual findings which are in part as follows: (a) placards carried for and on behalf of defendants by persons engaged in picketing bore legends proclaiming that a strike was in progress at plaintiffs' plant, though in truth and in fact there was no strike; (b) a physical assault had been committed by one or more of defendants' representatives upon one of the plaintiffs; (c) plaintiffs' trucks had been followed by certain of defendants' representatives; threats and intimidation had been exerted by said representatives to induce non-delivery to and from plaintiffs' plant of goods and merchandise used in or produced at the plant; (d) other persons and concerns doing business with plaintiffs were visited at their plants located in other counties of this State; and were there threatened with the

placing of picket lines at their respective plants in the event they continued to do business with plaintiffs; (e) in consequence of the said conduct by defendants and persons acting in their behalf plaintiffs had suffered and were continuing to suffer irreparable loss and injury.

After extensive hearings preliminary restraints were ordered by Judge Stanton under date of December 8, 1953, as follows: (a) from representing by placards or orally that there was a strike in progress at plaintiffs' Union City plant; (b) from following trucks and from interfering physically in any way with the shipment of merchandise in or out of plaintiffs' said plant, and from threatening or intimidating any person engaged in the handling or transportation of such shipments; (c) from interfering with any person having business with plaintiffs in going to and coming from plaintiffs' said plant; (d) from using obscene language directed at plaintiffs, their employees or any person having business with them. The restraining order expressly allows peaceful picketing of plaintiffs' plant and the display of placards by the pickets indicating that the defendant unions are "engaged in a campaign to organize the employees of plaintiffs."

Final hearing had been set for June 21, 1954. For reasons appearing in the transcript, defendants' counsel did not appear at that time but plaintiffs' proofs were taken notwithstanding. A transcript of these proofs was served on defendants' attorney and defendants were given leave to cross-examine plaintiffs' witnesses and to adduce proofs of their own on June 30, 1954, at 10 A.M. Conjointly with service of the transcript plaintiffs gave notice that based upon the additional proofs contained in the transcript of June 21, and upon the violations of the restraining order claimed to be shown therein, plaintiffs would apply to the court for a judgment that no labor dispute was involved in the case within the meaning of the statute of this State, and also for an order restraining defendants from any and all picketing at plaintiffs' plant. On June 30, 1954, upon

the return of said notice, further proofs were taken whereupon the parties rested.

It is stipulated in the pretrial order that the proofs taken on the application for preliminary restraint shall be considered upon the trial of the issues, which, as the same are stated in the pretrial order, are:

"(a) Whether the picketing and other activities of the defendants are for a lawful objective; (b) Whether there is a labor dispute within the meaning of the New Jersey Anti-Injunction Act; (c) Whether the plaintiffs have failed to comply with the provisions of N.J.S. 2 A:15-54; (d) Whether the Congress, in the enactment of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, has deprived this court of jurisdiction to grant the relief which plaintiffs seek; (e) Whether the plaintiffs are entitled to the injunctive relief demanded; (f) Whether the defendants are warranted in picketing as they have by virtue of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution and by virtue of Article I of the New Jersey State Constitution."

By the aforementioned notice returnable June 30, 1954 plaintiffs did no more than declare their purpose to apply on the basis of all the proofs, including those of June 21, for what they asked in the first instance, i.e. , the restraint of all picketing.

The task devolved upon me by the situation described has required, in addition to consideration of the proofs taken before me, a careful reading of the testimony heard in the contest for preliminary restraint, as well as examination of the exhibits introduced in that connection. All this has been done, but it should be noted further that the witnesses giving such preliminary testimony also appeared and testified before me at the sessions of June 21 and June 30, 1954; this is true with a few exceptions that I deem unimportant. I mention the fact to show that having heard, in part at least, the persons by whom the essential testimony for both sides has been given, the preliminary record as examined by me was not just cold print.

Dealing first with the proofs relating to the period following the restraining order of December 8, 1953, I find

that the court's order has been violated in two respects. The defendant Quinn is shown, on more than one occasion, to have used obscene language to a plaintiffs' employee, Sandman. It is proved that Quinn and two or more other representatives of defendants were at a point opposite the plant and on the other side of the street when Sandman appeared in front of the plant premises. Quinn denies that what he said was addressed to Sandman but this is of no moment so long as it was, which I find the fact to be, intended for his hearing and, as Quinn admits, had Sandman in reference. In this reference what Quinn suggested to his companions at the time was that Sandman adapt himself to certain somatico-mechanical uses, fully detailed by Quinn and being ultra-Rabelaisian to the point, in all conscience, of being nothing less than repulsively obscene. Literal repetition is unnecessary; the testimony leaves no doubt of what was said. Quinn as a witness is rather flippant about the episode, and defendants' witness Shaub, who was present at the time, would make a joke of it. But none of this avails to abate the offense. And Quinn and Shaub themselves make it emphatically clear that Quinn's performance was loud. Quinn says "I spoke loud." And again, "Well, I talk loud anyway. I get condemned at home for talking too loud from the family. It is a habit." And again, "Perhaps I said it loud, yes." Shaub says, "Well, he (Quinn) is naturally a loud talker anyway." And in another connection Quinn is described as speaking in a "loud and threatening voice," and also as proclaiming, before the preliminary restraint, that he would follow the plaintiffs' trucks "to hell."

Defendants contend there was provocation, that intemperate and truculent language had first been used by Sandman, but I don't find that to be so. In his denial of this Sandman is amply corroborated. In addition, there is nothing imputed to Sandman in this connection that can justify the violation of restraint that I adjudge to have been committed.

Another instance is shown in which defendant Quinn is said to have directed epithets, violative in character and

specified in the proofs, against the same employee. Having in mind the temper and temperament of this defendant, as so clearly delineated in the proofs, it would be naive, in my opinion, to disbelieve what plaintiffs' witnesses say in this entire regard.

But important as are the foregoing breaches of restraint, a far more important factor in the proofs relates to continued flouting of the terms of the court's order of December 8 having to do with defendants' interference with trucks arriving at plaintiffs' plant for the receipt and delivery of merchandise. There will be further reference to the position in this suit of the defendant Local No. 560 of the Brotherhood of Teamsters and Chauffeurs, in whose name ostensibly this trucking interference has been committed. But here it should be noted that immediately before the picketing began, November 2, 1953, defendants Conlin and Provenzano, as executive representatives of Local No. 560, demanded of plaintiffs that the teamster employees be unionized, though there is normally but one, and never more than two or three, of such employees whose occupation would make them eligible for membership in a teamsters' union. The character of the demand is shown in the testimony of Balleisen, plaintiffs' labor consultant, as follows:

"A. * * * He (Provenzano) said to me that he was calling about Weller. I misunderstood his mission, because Mr. Hammer had spoken to me either earlier in the day or the day before about trying to get the truckers union not to honor the picket line. He said he thought he had some chance of having the truck drivers cross the picket line. I assumed it was in regard to that matter. I said to Mr. Provenzano I would like him to see that the truckers honor (sic) that picket line, because the picketing, in my opinion, was illegal, because it was being done for an illegal purpose.

He said, 'Well, I didn't call you for that at all.' He said, 'I called you to tell you that I represent your shipping and receiving departments and chauffeurs.'

I said to him, 'The shipping and receiving employees were in the bargaining unit and voted in the election, and I ...


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