12 P.2d 333 (Or. 1932), Moreland Theatres Corp. v. Portland Moving Picture Mach. Operators' Protective Union, Local No. 159

Citation:12 P.2d 333, 140 Or. 35
Opinion Judge:RAND, J.
Party Name:MORELAND THEATRES CORPORATION v. McCREDIE v. SAME. GRANADA THEATRE CORPORATION v. SAME. PORTLAND MOVING PICTURE MACHINE OPERATORS' PROTECTIVE UNION, LOCAL NO. 159, et al.
Attorney:[140 Or. 37] John F. Logan and John W. Kaste, both of Portland, for appellants. E. C. Bronaugh, Jr., and Wilber Henderson, both of Portland, or respondents.
Judge Panel:BELT, J., dissenting. ROSSMAN, J., concurs in the result. BELT, J. (dissenting).
Case Date:June 21, 1932
Court:Supreme Court of Oregon
 
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Page 333

12 P.2d 333 (Or. 1932)

140 Or. 35

MORELAND THEATRES CORPORATION

v.

McCREDIE

v.

SAME.

GRANADA THEATRE CORPORATION

v.

SAME.

PORTLAND MOVING PICTURE MACHINE OPERATORS' PROTECTIVE UNION, LOCAL NO. 159, et al.

Supreme Court of Oregon

June 21, 1932

In Banc.

Appeal from Circuit Court, Multnomah County; J. W. Knowles, Judge.

Separate suits by the Moreland Theatres Corporation, by Hugh McCredie, doing business under the firm name and style of the Venetian Theatre, and by the Granada Theatre Corporation against the Portland Moving Picture Machine Operators' Protective Union, Local No. 159, and others. From adverse decrees, plaintiffs appeal.

Reversed and rendered.

BELT, J., dissenting.

Injunction against unlawful, though peaceful, picketing, did not violate defendant's constitutional rights of peaceable assembly, free speech and free press.

Page 334

[140 Or. 37] John F. Logan and John W. Kaste, both of Portland, for appellants.

E. C. Bronaugh, Jr., and Wilber Henderson, both of Portland, or respondents.

RAND, J.

Upon motion of the parties, these appeals by plaintiffs separately from decrees entered in three different suits have been consolidated in this court, and have been argued and submitted together. Although there is a different plaintiff in each suit, the relief prayed for and denied by the court below was an injunction to restrain the defendants from

Page 335

picketing theaters separately owned by plaintiffs. The defendants are the same in all suits. They are two voluntary, unincorporated labor organizations and their officers; the latter being sued both individually and as such officers. There is no substantial difference, however, in the issues made by the pleadings nor in the proofs adduced in support thereof, and hence our decisions must be the same in each case.

The evidence shows that up to the time of the final hearing in this court on March 23, 1932, from September 16, 1929, the defendants have caused three moving picture theaters separately owned and operated by plaintiffs in outlying districts in the city of Portland to be continuously picketed during all the time said theaters have been opened for business, the hours being from 7 p. m. to 11 p. m. on week days and from 2 p. m. to 11 p. m. on Sundays and holidays. This picketing consisted of one picket being posted at the entrance of each theater who patrolled back and forth in front of said entrance carrying a banner or sash bearing the inscription, "Unfair to organized labor." The evidence shows that such picketing has resulted in a loss of patronage to plaintiffs and in damage to their business.

[140 Or. 38] The controversy between the plaintiffs and the defendants grew out of the following facts: Until some time in the spring or summer of 1929, each theater employed one union operator to operate its projection machines and paid him $45 per week, which was the union scale of wages for operators employed in theaters displaying, as plaintiffs were, silent pictures only. Desiring to change from silent to sound pictures, plaintiffs installed sound attachments or sound projection machines, the evidence does not show which, and thereafter displayed sound pictures. A rule of the defendant union provides that in the operation of sound picture machines two operators must be employed and be present in the projection booth at all times when the machines are being operated, and that each should receive $60 or slightly more per week. The rule, however, provides that the owner of the theater, but no other person, may take the place and do the work of one of such union operators, and when that is done he also must be in the booth at all times. For a while plaintiffs complied with this rule by employing one union operator at each theater, paying the union scale and working with him in the booth. This arrangement was not satisfactory to plaintiffs. They claimed that their business would not justify the employment of two operators, and offered to employ one union operator and pay the union scale if he would work alone. This proposed action, being contrary to the union rule, was, of course, refused, and this was followed by several conferences between plaintiffs and the officers of the union, and, no adjustment of the matter being reached, the picketing was immediately commenced and has been continued ever since.

Plaintiffs testified that the union operators voluntarily quit their employment, while defendants testified [140 Or. 39] that the operators were discharged. However that may be, their places were all immediately filled by the employment of one nonunion operator in each theater. Since then the work of operating the machines has been done by one nonunion operator at each theater, and he has been paid $45 per week.

After these theaters had been picketed for about eight months, plaintiffs each filed a complaint praying for an injunction. The defendants appeared and filed answers in which they admitted that they had caused the picketing, and alleged in justification thereof the facts above stated. In addition thereto they alleged: "That on said 16th day of September, 1929, and continuing to the present time, there was and has been a dispute or controversy between plaintiff and the defendant, Moving Picture Operators' Protective Union, Local 159, involving the scale of wages to be paid by plaintiff to the operator employed at his said theater, and that said controversy was caused by and had its origin in plaintiff's arbitrary demand for a reduction in the wage scale from $60.00 per week to $45.00 per week, and by plaintiff's action in discharging said union operator as aforesaid."

Upon the trial, however, although not pleaded, some evidence was offered by defendants tending to show that some person claiming to have authority to represent plaintiffs entered into a contract with the...

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