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Schauffler v. Local 1291

June 20, 1961

BENNET F. SCHAUFFLER, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, FOURTH REGION, NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, FOR AND ON BEHALF OF NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, APPELLEE
v.
LOCAL 1291, INTERNATIONAL LONGSHOREMEN'S ASSOCIATION, APPELLANT.



Author: Biggs

Before BIGGS, Chief Judge, McLAUGHLIN and KALODNER, Circuit Judges.

BIGGS, Ch. J.: On August 18, 1960, the court below granted the petition of the Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board brought pursuant to Section 10(1) of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C.A. ยง 160(1) for a temporary injunction against the appellant, Local 1291, International Longshoremen's Association, pending final disposition by the Board of an alleged jurisdictional dispute. On November 30, 1960, on the petition of the Regional Director, Local 1291 was found guilty of civil contempt of court for failing to comply with the injunction. These are consolidated appeals from the two judgments of the court below.

Three questions are presented for our determination: First, whether the court below was clearly erroneous in holding that the Board had reasonable cause to believe that Local 1291 was engaged in an unfair labor practice within the purview of Section 8(b)(4)(D) of the NLRA; second, whether the court below construed its injunction too broadly in adjudging Local 1291 in contempt of court; and third, whether the court's determination that Local 1291 engaged in conduct proscribed by the injunction, was supported by clear and convincing evidence.

The unfair labor practice charge was brought by the Northern Metal Company. In determining that it had reasonable cause to believe that Local 1291 was engaged in an unfair labor practice the Board relied principally on statements made by the president and the marine manager of Northern. The court below, in finding for the Board, based its conclusions on the testimony of these two persons.Their version of the facts was as follows.

Northern Metal Company operates a dockside terminal and warehouse in the Port of Philadelphia where it loads and unloads cargo shipped to and from foreign ports. Since 1946 Local 14, Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America has been the certified bargaining representative of Northern's maintenance and production employees. By the terms of its contract with the Company, Local 14 has jurisdiction over all work done in Northern's "yard" which is an area extending over 162 acres adjacent to docks fronting on the Delaware River. In 1951 the United States offered Northern a contract to load motor vehicles, consigned for the armed services, aboard ship for transport overseas. At that time Northern's president called a meeting which was attended by representatives of Local 14 and of the appellant, Local 1291. The labor leaders were told of the proposed contract and the parties discussed the division of the work between the two unions. It was agreed by all parties that the employees represented by Local 14 would perform the work of moving motor vehicles to and from the point on the pier at or near shipside where the hook on the winch or crane falls to pick up or unload cargo. Local 1291 was assigned all of the work beyond the "hook". In other words, Local 14 was to move the vehicles through the "yard" to and from shipside while Local 1291 was to perform the hooking work, the hoisting and the stowing aboard ship. Shortly thereafter, at another meeting, Local 1291 agreed to perform the work assigned to them in gangs of 15 men.

These arrangements lasted 9 years. During that period Northern loaded and unloaded more than 250,000 vehicles, at least 10,000 of which were automobiles privately owned by members of the Armed Services. In April, 1960 Northern's president had a meeting with representatives of Local 1291 at which a possible new government contract was discussed. The union was told that Northern would handle 30,000 to 60,000 privately owned automobiles per year under the proposed contract. There was no mention at this meeting of any need to use gangs of more than 15 men in the performance of the contemplated work. Northern subsequently signed the contract and the first 2 shiploads of privately owned automobiles were loaded by members of Local 1291 working in 15-man gangs. On June 12, 1960 representatives of Local 1291 and of a "checkers" Local of the ILA visited Northern's president, and told him ". . . if you let us do all the work in here we are going to have all that work and you will be making money." These overtures were rejected on the ground that Northern could not comply without breaking its contract with Local 14. One week later, on June 19, a delegate of Local 1291 telephoned Northern and demanded that Northern shape 22-men gangs to load automobiles on a third ship. Northern's president protested to another delegate of Local 1291, pointing out that Northern did not need men to take the vehicles to a place of rest near shipside since that work was done by Local 14, and that therefore Northern needed only 15 longshoremen.The delegate replied that when Northern shaped 22-man gangs Local 1291 would do the work that Local 14 was currently performing. Northern then got in touch with the president of Local 1291 who said, ". . . there is only one thing you can do, shape your 22-man gangs and take it to arbitration, to the Philadelphia Marine Trade Association PMTA on Monday."

Northern had entered into a contract with Local 1291 in 1951. The contract was negotiated for Northern by the PMTA which is the bargaining agent for various marine firms with respect to contracts with the various ILA Locals. By the terms of the contract disputes between an employer and his employees are submitted to a grievance committee consisting of a union representative, a management representative, and an impartial umpire selected by the two representatives. On June 21, pursuant to the suggestion of Local 1291's president, Northern brought the issue of the gang sizes before a grievance committee.*fn1 The issue before the committee was whether privately owned automobiles were "heavy lifts" or "general cargo" within the meaning of the contract since only 15-man gangs are required by the contract for "heavy lifts" while 22-man gangs were required for the handling of "general cargo".*fn2

After a hearing*fn3 the grievance committee apparently rendered an oral decision. Subsequently, the "ruling" of the committee, contained in a letter dated June 22, was sent to Northern and Local 1291. This letter, in pertinent part, reads as follows: "P.M.T.A. recognizes that there is a problem peculiar to Northern Metal Company as opposed to any other place in the Port of Philadelphia area because the jurisdiction of two different unions are involved. However, P.M.T.A. representatives agree with union representatives on the Grievance Committee that the practice in the port in the handling of automobiles is that a gang of twenty-two men and a foreman are to be employed. If this decision results in jurisdictional problems between I.L.A. and the men from the other union who had jurisdiction over a certain portion of the work, P.M.T.A. is not empowered to resolve any such jurisdictional dispute and the dispute will have to be handled by the employer's attorney in the same manner as any other jurisdictional problems would be handled." The interpretation and legal effect of this decision are matters of sharp dispute between the parties.

From June 19, 1960 until the time the court below issued its injunction Northern shaped 22-man gangs to load the privately owned automobiles. According to Northern the additional 7 men which it has been forced to hire perform no work on the job. Northern contends that 7 extra longshoremen would be required only if Local 1291 had jurisdiction over the "yard" work performed by Local 14. In short Northern's position was that 22-man gangs were only needed when 7 of that group were required to move cargo to and from the "hook". At Northern's piers, since this work was done by Local 14, only 15 and not 22-man gangs were needed. Thus, Local 1291's demand that 7 extra men be hired was unreasonable, and its refusal to work unless 22-man gangs were shaped was a lever by which it hoped to oust Local 14 from work over which it rightfully had jurisdiction.

Local 1291's principal witness in the court below was its president. He categorically denied that any jurisdictional dispute existed between Local 1291 and Local 14. He further denied that his union demanded the assignment of "yard" work from Northern. He asserted the sole basis of the dispute between Northern and Local 1291 was the number of men required for the loading or unloading of passenger vehicles. He pointed out that the applicable collective bargaining agreement required Northern to shape 22-man gangs to handle "general cargo" and that the grievance committee had held that the contract required that privately owned automobiles be handled by 22-man gangs. In substance, Local 1291's position was and is that the sole issue involved in this dispute is whether 22-man gangs are required by the terms of the PMTA-ILA contract, and that this question was finally determined by the decision of the grievance committee on June 21, 1960.Local 1291 argues that it cannot be found to have engaged in an unfair labor practice merely because it demanded rights guaranteed it under a collective bargaining agreement.

The court below filed findings of fact,*fn4 conclusions of law and a lengthy opinion. 188 F. Supp. 203. The court summarized the facts as it had found them to be as follows:

"Since on or about June 19, 1960, respondent has demanded that Northern assign the work of moving motor vehicles to and from the point where they are taken over by, or released from 'the hook,' to employees who are members of or represented by respondent, which work Northern has assigned to its employees who are members of Local 14 as above stated. In furtherance of its said demand, and on or about June 19, 1960 respondent first refused to furnish stevedores to Northern both for the loading and unloading of motor vehicles and for the loading and unloading of general cargo, and ordered, instructed, directed and appealed to its members and persons represented by it not to work for Northern unless or until Northern assigned to employees who are members of, or represented by, respondent the work of moving vehicles to and from the point where such vehicles are taken over by, or released from, 'the hook.' Northern protested in vain and acquiesced under duress. The loading of vehicles thereafter under protest continued with respondent supplying gangs of 22 instead of 15 men as theretofore."

The court then concluded that the Board clearly had reasonable cause to believe that Local 1291 was engaged in an unfair labor practice within the purview of Section 8(b)(4)(D).*fn5

Pursuant to Section 10(1) of the NLRA, on August 18, 1960, the court enjoined Local 1291 from engaging in any activity which had as its object the coercing of Northern to assign the work of moving motor vehicles to and from the point where such vehicles are taken over or released from the "hook" to employees who are members of Local 1291 rather than to those employees represented by Local 14.*fn6 The court did not, either in its separate findings of fact or by its conclusions of law or in its opinion, discuss the effect of the PMTA-ILA collective bargaining agreement on its decision that the Board had reasonable cause to ...


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