Bricklayers', Masons' & Plasterers' Int'l Union of Am. v. Seymour Ruff & Sons, Inc., 12.
|Court of Appeals of Maryland
|154 A. 52
|BRICKLAYERS', MASONS' & PLASTERERS' INTERNATIONAL UNION OF AMERICA et al. v. SEYMOUR RUFF & SONS, Inc.
|19 March 1931
Appeal from Circuit Court, Carroll County; William H. Forsythe, Jr., Judge.
Action by Seymour Ruff & Sons, Inc., against the Bricklayers', Masons' & Plasterers' international Union of America and others. Judgment for plaintiff, and defendants appeal.
Argued before BOND, C. J., and PATTISON, ADKINS, OFFUTT, DIGGES, PARKE, and SLOAN, JJ.
Willinm L. Bawls and William L. Marbury, both of Baltimore (Winebrenner & Sinn, of Frederick, Marbury, Gosnell & Williams, of Baltimore, and L. Harold Sothoron, of Washington, D. C, on the brief), for appellants.
Myer Bosenbush, of Baltimore and Parsons Newman, of Frederick (Bosenbush & Bernstein, of Baltimore, Edward J. Smith, of Frederick, and James E. Boylan, Jr., of Westminster, on the brief), for appellee.
The principal question for decision in this case is whether an employer who has entered into a subcontract to perform work on a certain building may recover damages against the labor unions of which, with his knowledge, his employees are members, because those unions have ordered them to quit work on the building in question for the reason that the general contractor has refused to employ union labor on other jobs in the same locality; there being no contract of employment between the subcontractor and his employees. This question arises in an action on the case brought in the circuit court for Frederick county by the appellee against the Bricklayers', Masons' & Plasterers' International Union of America, a voluntary unincorporated association, hereinafter called the International, the Bricklayers' & Masons' Protective & Beneficial Union No. 7 of Maryland, located at Frederick, Md., a voluntary unincorporated association, hereinafter called Union No. 7, and John T. White.
The declaration alleges that the defendant International is a voluntary unincorporated association consisting of more than seven members, has a recognized group name, and is located in the city of Washington, D. C, but doing business in various states throughout the United States, through its duly authorized agents, and for the purposes thereinafter mentioned, having appointed the defendant White as its duly authorized agent; that the International is composed of elective and appointive officers and the legally elected representatives of subordinate unions, created and acting under its constitution, and these subordinate unions are located in the various cities throughout various states of the United States, and that the government and superintendence of such subordinate unions is vested in the International, as the supreme head of all unions; that the International has the power to determine the customs and usages in regard to all matters relating to the craft, including the power to legalize and govern strikes and lockouts, and included in such power to order strikes and lockouts is the power to punish local unions and any member or members thereof by severe fines and other penalties, and by expulsion from the union, in the event of their failure to obey an order of the International or its officers to go on strike and refuse to work; that the defendant Union No. 7 is a voluntary unincorporated association consisting of more than seven persons, having a recognized group name, and having its principal office and place of business in the city of Frederick, Md., is a member and one of the subordinate unions of the International, and membership of both of said organizations being composed of "union men"; that the persons forming the plaintiff corporation are contracting stone masons and have been engaged in that business in the city of Baltimore, Md., for many years past, first, as a partnership, and since 1928 as a corporation, and during the entire time in which they have been so engaged they have conducted what is known as a union shop, employing union men only, to wit, men affiliated with the International and its subordinate unions in various cities and states, and doing work with such men in various cities and states of the United States, and, at the time of the wrongs and injuries thereinafter complained of, there was no grievance, trouble, or controversy of any kind between the plaintiff and its employees, the said "union men," nor between the plaintiff and the defendants; that on or about January 8, 1929, the plaintiff entered into a written contract with Lloyd C. Culler of Frederick, Md., a general contractor having a contract for the erection and completion of a church in Frederick, to do all of the stone masonry, brick, and tile work, furnish labor and material, and set the limestone, for the erection and completion of the church, for the sum of $50,000, and, pursuant to its obligation thereunder,
the plaintiff began the work required of it to be done under the contract, and employed union labor only in and about the work, and continued said work until the early part of March, 1929, when the defendants wantonly, unlawfully, and maliciously, and with intent to cause a breach of said contract between Culler and the plaintiff, declared a strike upon said job, and ordered all of said union men employed upon the work by the plaintiff to go on a strike and quit work, and, pursuant to this order, the men did go on strike and quit work, and refused to resume work until ordered to do so by the defendants, and subsequently, upon orders of the defendants, but only after an interval of time, the men resumed work and continued for a few days, when the defendants again wantonly, unlawfully, and maliciously, and with intent to cause a breach of the contract between Culler and the plaintiff, ordered a strike on said job and ordered the men to quit work, and said men did go on strike and quit work and refused to resume work until ordered to do so by the defendants; that the defendants maliciously, wantonly, and unlawfully, notwithstanding the requests and demands of the plaintiff, refused to declare the strike off and order the men back to work, and by reason thereof the plaintiff was unable to continue the work it was required to do in and about the church under its contract with Culler, and on account thereof Culler canceled the contract and notified the plaintiff that he was employing others to finish the work at the risk and expense of the plaintiff; that the acts and conduct of the defendants were not caused or influenced by any violation on the part of the plaintiff of any obligation it owed the defendants or either of them, or to the union men employed by it, but said wanton, malicious, and unlawful acts of the defendants were caused solely and entirely by the desire of the defendants to compel Culler to employ union men on work Culler had contracted to do in Frederick and vicinity, other than the work...
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