27 Cal.2d 599, 18653, Park & T. I. Corp. v. Int. Etc. of Teamsters

Docket Nº:18653
Citation:27 Cal.2d 599, 165 P.2d 891
Opinion Judge:[11] Traynor
Party Name:Park & T. I. Corp. v. Int. Etc. of Teamsters
Attorney:[7] V. P. Lucas, David Sokol and Joseph A. Padway for Appellants. [8] Clarence E. Todd as Amicus Curiae, on behalf of Appellants. [9] O'Melveny & Myers, Louis W. Myers, Pierce Works, W. B. Carman, Jr., Homer I. Mitchell and Jackson W. Chance for Respondent.
Case Date:January 31, 1946
Court:Supreme Court of California

Page 599

27 Cal.2d 599

165 P.2d 891

PARK & TILFORD IMPORT CORPORATION (a Corporation), Respondent,



L. A. No. 18653.

Supreme Court of California

Jan. 31, 1946

In Bank.

Page 600


V. P. Lucas, David Sokol and Joseph A. Padway for Appellants. Clarence E. Todd as Amicus Curiae, on behalf of Appellants. O'Melveny &amp Myers, Louis W. Myers, Pierce Works, W. B.

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Carman, Jr., Homer I. Mitchell and Jackson W. Chance for Respondent.


[165 P.2d 892] TRAYNOR, J.

Plaintiff, a New York corporation engaged in the manufacture, importation and sale of alcoholic beverages, maintains its local and western division offices in Los Angeles. All of its merchandise in California is brought into the state. Four per cent of the goods from its local warehouse is sold and shipped to other states and the rest is [165 P.2d 893] sold to customers in California. It is admittedly engaged in interstate commerce within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act. (National Labor Relations Board v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp., 301 U.S. 1, 32 [57 S.Ct. 615, 81 L.Ed. 893, 108 A.L.R. 1352]; Lyons v. Eagle-Picher Lead Co., 90 F.2d 321.) Its California employees include a division manager, secretary, bookkeeper, warehouse superintendent, fifteen salesmen, four office clerks and two teamster-warehousemen.

In January, 1941, plaintiff's salesmen formed a union called the Park & Tilford Salesmen's Association. In the same year, one teamster joined defendant Local 848; the other joined defendant Local 595. In January, 1942, representatives of Local 595, with plaintiff's permission, interviewed the office clerks and asked them to join the union. They refused. Toward the end of February, 1942, representatives of Local 595 requested plaintiff to sign a closed shop contract covering the clerks. When plaintiff refused, the union threatened to call the teamsters out on strike, establish a picket line, and boycott plaintiff unless it signed the contract. Plaintiff again refused and in March, 1942. Local 848 was asked by Local 595 to organize the salesmen. With plaintiff's permission Local 848 interviewed the salesmen, but they refused to join. Local 848 then submitted a closed shop contract to plaintiff, which it refused to sign upon the ground that to do so would be an unfair labor practice under the National Labor Relations Act, since the union did not represent the salesmen. On March 20, 1942, the Park & Tilford Salesmen's Association admitted the office clerks and changed its name to Park & Tilford Mutual Association. Additional requests by the unions failed to induce plaintiff to sign the contracts, and the unions called the teamsters out on strike and began to picket plaintiff's place of business. A boycott was instituted June 14, 1942. The Los Angeles Food and Drug Council published plaintiff's name and business in its "Unfair List" and defendant notified many of plaintiff's customers verbally and by circular

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letter than plaintiff was "unfair" and requested them not to purchase plaintiff's products.

On September 1, 1942, plaintiff filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board for the certification of a bargaining agent for its employees, and on September 2, 1942, brought an action in the superior court for an injunction. On September 3, 1942, Local 595 filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board that plaintiff was guilty of an unfair labor practice, namely, the domination of the Park & Tilford Mutual Association. The Regional Director refused to issue a complaint that plaintiff was guilty of an unfair labor practice, and his action was sustained by the board on an appeal by Local 595. Plaintiff's petition before the National Labor Relations Board was dismissed on the grounds that neither defendant labor unions nor the Park & Tilford Mutual Association presented any request for recognition and that plaintiff could not lawfully recognize defendants as exclusive bargaining representatives of plaintiff's employees since they did not even claim to represent a majority. (47 N.L.R.B., No. 55.) In the superior court action, the court found that plaintiff suffered irreparable damage and will continue to do so unless the picketing and boycotting cease; that all activities of defendants have been peaceful; that no violence or threats of violence have occurred; and that no false or fraudulent statements were published by the unions other than the statement that plaintiff was "unfair to organized labor" and the publication of plaintiff's name and business on the "Unfair List" of the Food and Drug Council. The prayer of the complaint was that the defendants be enjoined from (1) denominating or listing plaintiff as unfair to organized labor or to defendants; (2) taking any concerted action that would affect the sale or delivery of plaintiff's products, "for the purpose of inducing or compelling plaintiff to violate the National Labor Relations Act." The complaint does not on its face seek to restrain defendants from organizing plaintiff's employees, or to prevent the use of picketing, boycott, strike, or other concerted action for the purpose of securing membership in the Locals. The judgment, however, goes far beyond the relief sought in the complaint. The judgment expressly enjoins defendant: (1) From denominating or listing plaintiff as "unfair." "(2) From interfering with or preventing or attempting to interfere with or to prevent, whether by picket ... or other threat of concerted action, the sale or delivery of products manufactured or distributed by Park & Tilford

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Import Corporation." "(3) From any and all picketing or boycotting of plaintiff or of plaintiff's business, products or merchandise." Defendants appeal.

[165 P.2d 894] In this state "a union may use the various forms of concerted action, such as strike, picketing, or boycott, to enforce an objective that is reasonably related to any legitimate interest of organized labor" but "the object of concerted labor activity must be proper and ... must be sought by lawful means, otherwise the persons injured by such activity may obtain damages or injunctive relief." (James v. Marinship Corp., 25 Cal.2d 721, 728, 729 , and authorities there cited.)

Plaintiff contends that if it entered into a closed shop agreement with defendants or coerced its employees to join defendant unions it would commit an unfair labor practice under the National Labor Relations Act [*] and that defendants' activities were therefore directed at an unlawful objective. It relies on section 794 of the Restatement of Torts, which declares that it is not a proper objective of concerted labor activities to induce an employer to commit an act that would violate a legislative enactment or be contrary to public policy.

Defendants concede that they did not represent a majority of plaintiff's employees in an appropriate bargaining unit when they demanded that plaintiff sign a closed shop agreement and coerce its employees to join defendant unions. It cannot be seriously questioned that their demands were not only ill-advised but unlawful, and that plaintiff not only had the right but was under the legal duty to reject those demands. There is no merit in the contention that in reaching this conclusion this court is encroaching upon the exclusive jurisdiction

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of the National Labor Relations Board, for in the proceeding initiated by plaintiff for the certification of a bargaining representative the board held that "the Company could not lawfully recognize either Local 595 or Local 848 as exclusive bargaining representatives of its employees, since they do not even claim to represent a majority." It does not follow, however, that because their demands were unlawful, defendants were precluded from taking concerted action for a closed shop in plaintiff's business. Even though the defendants sought to have the employer commit an unlawful act by joining forces with them in organizing plaintiff's employees, there is a legitimate basis for concerted action by defendants.

The closed shop is recognized as a proper objective of concerted labor activities, even when undertaken by a union that represents none of the employees of the employer against whom the activities are directed. (McKay v. Retail etc. Union No. 1067, 16 Cal.2d 311, 319, 322 ; Shafer v. Registered Pharmacists Union, 16 Cal.2d 379, 382 ; C. S. Smith Met. Market Co. v. Lyons, 16 Cal.2d 389 ; Sontag Chain Stores Co. v. Superior Court, 18 Cal.2d 92 ; see Fortenbury v. Superior Court, 16 Cal.2d 405 [; Steiner v. Long Beach Local No. 128, 19 Cal.2d 676, 682 ; Emde v. San Joaquin County etc. Council, 23 Cal.2d 146, 155 [150 A.L.R. 916]; Lisse v. Local Union, 2 Cal.2d 312 ; In re Lyons, 27 Cal.App.2d 293 ; J. F. Parkinson Co. v. Building Trades Council, 154 Cal. 581 [16 Ann.Cas. 1165, 21 L.R.A.N.S. 550]; Pierce v. Stablemen's Union, 156 Cal. 70 .)

Under the National Labor Relations Act a union may engage in concerted activities to win over a majority of the employees to a closed shop, even though it does not then represent a majority. In section 1 of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C.A., section 151), Congress declared it "to be the policy of the United States to eliminate the causes of certain substantial obstructions to the free flow of commerce ... by encouraging the practice and [165 P.2d 895] procedure of collective bargaining and by protecting the exercise by workers of full freedom of association, self-organization, and designation of representatives of their own choosing, for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment or other mutual aid or protection." As part of that policy employees were guaranteed the right "to engage in concerted activities,

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for the purpose...

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