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Board of Education of Newark v. Newark Teachers Union

Decided: April 5, 1971.

THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF NEWARK IN THE COUNTY OF ESSEX, A CORPORATION, ETC., PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
NEWARK TEACHERS UNION, LOCAL NO. 481, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS, A.F.L.-C.I.O., ETC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS. IN THE MATTER OF NEWARK TEACHERS UNION, LOCAL 481, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS, A.F.L.-C.I.O., ETC., AND ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY FIVE (185) OTHERS, APPELLANTS



Conford, Kolovsky and Carton. The opinion of the court was delivered by Conford, P.J.A.D.

Conford

This is an appeal by the defendant union and 185 individual defendants from summary adjudications of contempt of court and sentences pursuant thereto for violation of a January 31, 1970 order of the Chancery Division restraining defendants from engaging in a strike against the Newark Board of Education. The issues projected on the appeal are narrow. Prohibited picketing by most of the defendants is in effect conceded in the single brief filed on behalf of all defendants.

A quotation from defendants' brief well sets the background against which the issues before us must be considered:

On the following day (February 1) at a meeting sponsored by the Newark Teachers Union, held at the Military Park Hotel in Newark, attended by 2,000 or more people, covered by all major television and radio networks and newspapers in the New York metropolitan area, a strike was called. On the following day, Monday, More than 3,000 of the approximately 4,000 school teachers of the Newark school system did not report to their classrooms. That situation with some up and down fluctuations remained fairly constant throughout the four weeks of the strike.

The foregoing may be supplemented by the fact that at the February 1 (Sunday) union mass meeting the president of the union, Carol Graves, told the audience that the union had been served with the restraining order but that it would strike anyway as the only means of redress of its grievances.

The restraining order was broad and comprehensive. It was directed against the union, the New Jersey State Federation of Teachers, "their respective members, officers, directors, committee members, employees, agents and representatives," (there followed the names of 11 individuals) "and all persons acting in behalf of or in concert or participation

with the said defendants or the said members, officers," etc. Among the acts that were prohibited were:

1. Causing, instigating, promoting, sanctioning, authorizing, carrying on, participating in, fostering, continuing, lending support or assistance to or aiding or abetting any strike, sitdown, slowdown, work stoppage or other impediment to work, against the plaintiff or by any employee or employees of the plaintiff;

2. Picketing, congregating, parading, patrolling, loitering, gathering, or walking back and forth, -- or causing, instigating, promoting, encouraging, sanctioning, intimidating, coercing, counselling or authorizing any person or persons to picket, congregate, parade, patrol, loiter or walk back and forth, -- in front or in the vicinity of the public schools, buildings, grounds, playgrounds, yards, or premises of the plaintiff or operated or administered by the plaintiff, or in front of any buildings, grounds, playgrounds and premises on or at which any instructional or guidance program is conducted by plaintiff;

3. Interfering with, obstructing, impeding, or delaying, or attempting to interfere with, obstruct, impede or delay the plaintiff in the performance of any of its duties and functions or in the conduct of the Newark public school program; * * *

7. Agreeing, conspiring, or combining to do any of the foregoing acts, or directly or indirectly accepting, arranging for, or soliciting from any source funds or other support for the doing of any of the foregoing acts mentioned in paragraph "1" to "6", directly preceding the within paragraph "7".

While the order was to expire February 13, 1970, it was continued and ultimately made permanent.

Most if not all the individual defendants were arrested for violations of the restraint, generally when found picketing or assembling and congregating outside the schools on what normally would have been regular school days when the teacher-defendants would normally be expected to be working inside the buildings. Six officers of the union were arrested pursuant to arrest orders expressly naming them. Almost all the other individual appellants were arrested pursuant to a general arrest order issued by the Chancery Division not naming specific persons but directing the arrest by the sheriff of "any individual who in his presence or that of any member of his staff is observed to continue to violate this court's order of January 31, 1970.


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