MEIER & POHLMANN FURNITURE CO. v. GIBBONS No. 9245.
113 F.Supp. 409 (1953)
MEIER & POHLMANN FURNITURE CO. v. GIBBONS et al.
United States District Court E. D. Missouri, E. D.
June 25, 1953.
Watts & Gentry and Herbert E. Bryant, of St. Louis, Mo., for defendant Railway Exp. Agency, Inc.
HULEN, District Judge.
Plaintiff's complaint is in three counts. The first two are for damages. The third is for a permanent injunction to require defendant carriers to furnish it transportation. Under the third count a motion for temporary injunction is now for ruling.
Plaintiff pleads as a base for granting temporary injunction the sole claim that the defendant common carriers and union defendants "have conspired and agreed * * * to discriminate" against plaintiff by refusing to handle plaintiff's shipping requests. Plaintiff's theory of injunctive relief stems from the ruling in Allen Bradley Co. v. Local Union No. 3,
The record on application for temporary injunction, devoid of matters not material to the issue, is that plaintiff is engaged in a labor dispute and his place of business is being picketed. It manufactures furniture and has used the defendant motor carriers for transportation, including pick-up and delivery at its factory and customer consignees. The motor carriers are common carriers subject to regulation by the Interstate Commerce Commission. One by one defendant motor carriers have refused to handle plaintiff's shipments because the employees of the motor carriers, being members of the same national union as the one that is picketing plaintiff's plant, have served notice on the carriers to that effect. Plaintiff has been forced to use rail service and deliver and call for shipments at rail platform. This adds to plaintiff's costs of
The Allen Bradley case arose in New York. The union of electrical workers over a period of years promoted a series of contracts with electrical contractors and manufacturers which included a provision that the contractors were to purchase equipment from none but local manufacturers, who also had closed shop agreements with the unions. Manufacturers obligated themselves to confine their local sales to contractors employing the local members. In the course of time these agreements expanded to industry-wide agreements looking not merely to terms of employment "but also to price and market control." (Emphasis added.) The arrangement was a financial success for the parties to the contracts. Wages went up, prices of electrical equipment soared in New York City to the financial benefit of the local contractors and manufacturers. Some manufacturers even sold their products outside of New York City at a price below the New York City price. The plaintiff was a manufacturer of electrical equipment located outside of New York City. The suit was brought under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, 15 U.S.C.A. § 1 et seq., to procure an entry to the New York market. The Court held:
To state the substance of the facts and holding in the Allen Bradley case is to point the distinction between it and the case here presented. This is not a Sherman Act case. The facts of the Allen Bradley case lent themselves specifically to that Act for the reasons contained in the quoted portions. Assuming without deciding, that similar circumstances as to volume, parties, and territory were present, with application to a transportation industry, that the rule would be the same, plaintiff's claim here must nonetheless fail. The joint action of defendant motor carriers which plaintiff emphasizes, is a labor contract which was negotiated on behalf of the motor carriers by their group representative. This contract terminated a strike which had tied up the operations of the motor carriers. The contract contains a "hot cargo" clause under which employees of the carriers could refuse to handle shipments originating from firms which the unions classified as "unfair." This contract was executed long prior to the commencement of plaintiff's labor and transportation problems. It was a contract forced by the occasion, the result of collective bargaining, under compulsion of a strike.
This record is without evidence of any character that the motor carriers acted in concert with the unions in denying plaintiff transportation. Conspiracy on the part of the carriers with the union cannot be found in the record, even if a suspicion could support such a conclusion. Can anyone be so naive as to suggest the "hot cargo" clause was included in the union contract at the suggestion or by cooperation of the carrier? Do the motor carriers profit as the result of the refusal of their employees
All parties agree that, absent a record showing the case comes within the Allen Bradley ruling, the Norris-La Guardia Act, 29 U.S.C.A. § 101 et seq., bars an injunction by a Federal court in a labor dispute, instituted by a private party, except in certain cases, of which the present contest is not one. Whether plaintiff has a case calling for relief under the Taft-Hartley Act, 29 U.S.C.A. § 141 et seq., can only be ruled on when presented.
Motion of plaintiff for temporary injunction is denied.
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