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East Photo Lab v. Photostat

Decided: December 21, 1961.

EAST PHOTO LAB, A CORPORATION OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
BLUEPRINT PHOTOSTAT AND PHOTO EMPLOYEES UNION, LOCAL 249, I.J.W.U., AFL-CIO, AN UNINCORPORATED ASSOCIATION, DEFENDANT



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

Barger

[71 NJSuper Page 386] The defendant moves to dismiss the complaint on the ground that the courts of this State lack jurisdiction over the subject matter. The complaint seeks damages for an alleged secondary boycott engaged in by the employees of the plaintiff under the alleged direction and supervision of the business and organizing

representative of the defendant union. The defendant contends that jurisdiction is exclusively within federal authority, and therefore this action is pre-empting that authority.

The plaintiff is a domestic corporation engaged at Roselle Park, New Jersey in the business of photo-finishing and photo supplies. It is admitted that the plaintiff is engaged in interstate commerce within the meaning of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, sec. 2(6), as amended, 29 U.S.C.A. § 152(6).

The defendant is a New York unincorporated association in which employees participate for the purpose of dealing with employers concerning grievances, labor disputes and conditions of work generally, and the defendant union is a labor organization within the meaning of Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, sec. 2(5), as amended, 29 U.S.C.A. § 152(5).

As the result of an organizing campaign, 21 employees of the 27 employed by the plaintiff applied to the defendant union for membership. Plaintiff refused to recognize or negotiate with the defendant union as bargaining agent and a strike resulted. Thereafter, the defendant union placed some of the strikers as pickets in front of several premises occupied as drugstores which were customers of the plaintiff. These pickets carried the following notice:

"NOTICE TO PUBLIC. THIS STORE USING SERVICES OF EAST PHOTO WHICH IS NON-UNION AND DOES NOT EMPLOY MEMBERS OF LOCAL 249."

At the time this picketing of plaintiff's customers commenced, there was also distributed to each customer a letter advising them that the purpose of the picketing was to inform the public of the dispute between the plaintiff and the defendant. The letter explained that the defendant union was not attempting to prevent any such customer from doing business with the plaintiff whose employees were on strike. It expressed appreciation for any letter

which might be written to the plaintiff asking the plaintiff to deal with the defendant union as the representative of a majority of the plaintiff's employees. The letter further indicated that the plaintiff had refused to negotiate with the defendant union despite a promise to do so if it was the wish of its employees. The plaintiff did, in fact, conduct a vote among its employees and found that the majority desired bargaining representation by the defendant union. In spite of this expressed desire, the company still refused to recognize the employees' choice of a bargaining representative. A copy of this letter is attached to defendant's memorandum.

On or about June 28, 1961, before any action had been filed in this court, the plaintiff filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that the defendant union, as a result of the alleged conduct, had engaged in and was then engaging in unfair labor practices within the meaning of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, sec. 8(b)(4)(ii), subpar. (B), 29 U.S.C.A. § 158(b)(4)(ii)(B). The charge generally alleged that the defendant union, by the acts and conduct referred to in the above mentioned sections, did threaten, coerce and restrain the customers of the plaintiff, and did generally solicit, force and require said customers to cease doing business with the plaintiff. The aforesaid charge was referred to and investigated by the Regional Director of the Twenty-second Region of the National Labor Relations Board. On or about July 13, 1961 the Regional Director filed a petition in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey for an injunction under the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, sec. 10(b), (j), 29 U.S.C.A. § 160(b), (j), alleging that he had reasonable cause to believe that said charge was true and, unless enjoined, the union would continue or repeat the acts complained of.

On or about July 13, 1961 the Federal District Court for the District of New Jersey granted an order for a temporary injunction, ...


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