Eazor Exp., Inc. v. International Broth. of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America

Decision Date29 August 1975
Docket NumberNos. 74-1759,s. 74-1759
Citation520 F.2d 951
Parties89 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 3177, 77 Lab.Cas. P 11,095 EAZOR EXPRESS, INC. and Daniels Motor Freight, Inc., Appellants, v. The INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, CHAUFFEURS, WAREHOUSEMEN ANDHELPERS OF AMERICA, et al., Cross-Appellants. to 74-1762.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit

Tom P. Monterverde, Pelino, Wasserstrom, Chucas & Monterverde, Philadelphia, Pa., for Eazor Express, Inc. and Daniels Motor Freight.

Sidney Dickstein, Dickstein, Shapiro & Morin, Washington, D. C., for Intern. Broth. of Teamsters.

Eugene Green, Green, Schiavoni, Murphy & Stevens, Youngstown, Ohio, for Local Union 377.

Ben Paul Jubelirer, Pittsburgh, Pa., for Local Union 249.

Before MARIS, VAN DUSEN and GARTH, Circuit Judges.

OPINION OF THE COURT

MARIS, Circuit Judge.

Before us for decision are appeals by both the plaintiffs and the defendants hereinafter named from a final judgment entered by the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania in two consolidated civil actions brought under § 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act. 29 U.S.C.A. § 185. One of the suits was brought by Daniels Motor Freight, Inc. (herein "Daniels") and Eazor Express, Inc. (herein "Eazor") as plaintiffs, against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America (herein the "Teamsters International Union") and its Local Union No. 377 (herein "Local 377"), as well as against certain individuals not involved in these appeals, as defendants, and was originally filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Trumbull County at Warren, Ohio, promptly removed by the defendants to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, and subsequently transferred by the latter court to the District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The other suit was brought by Eazor, as plaintiff, against the Teamsters International Union and its Local Union No. 249 (herein "Local 249"), as well as against certain other labor organizations not involved in these appeals, as defendants, and was filed in the District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The suit brought originally in Ohio sought both injunctive relief and damages for losses alleged to have been suffered by the plaintiffs as the result of an unauthorized strike by certain of plaintiffs' employees who were members of Local 377. The suit brought in the Western District of Pennsylvania sought only damages for the losses alleged to have been suffered as the result of an unauthorized strike by certain of plaintiffs' employees who were members of Local 249. By order of the district court the actions were consolidated as a single action for trial and they will be treated as a single case for the purposes of our discussion.

The facts out of which the controversy arose may be summarized as follows. The unauthorized strikes giving rise to the litigation took place from August 20 to September 17, 1968 at Warren, Ohio and from August 21 to September 24, 1968 at Pittsburgh. Eazor and Daniels were both motor freight carriers, Eazor having a breakbulk commodities terminal in Pittsburgh and Daniels having a breakbulk terminal in Warren, Ohio. Prior to 1968 Eazor contracted to purchase all the stock of Daniels and during that year Eazor operated the Daniels business pursuant to an interim order of the Interstate Commerce Commission. Final approval of Eazor's acquisition of the Daniels stock was given by the Commission in 1970 and Daniels was actually merged into Eazor in 1972.

In 1968 the drivers and dock workers at Eazor's Pittsburgh terminal were members of Local 249 of the Teamsters International Union and the drivers, dock workers and garage employees at the Daniels terminal in Warren were members of Local 377 of that union. Eazor, Daniels, Local 249 and Local 377 were parties to the National Master Freight Agreement which was in force between April 1, 1967 and March 31, 1970. This agreement had been entered into between the National Over-the-Road and City Cartage Policy and Negotiating Committee (herein the "National Union Committee") of the Teamsters International Union and a corporation known as Trucking Employers, Inc., representing Eazor, Daniels and most other American motor freight carriers. To this master agreement there were various regional supplements binding upon certain employers and local unions. The Teamsters Joint Council No. 40 Freight Division Over-the-Road Supplemental Agreement and the Teamsters Joint Council No. 40 Freight Division Local Cartage Supplemental Agreement were the supplements binding on Eazor and Local 249. The Central States Area Over-the-Road Motor Freight Supplement with Ohio rider and the Central States Area Local Cartage Supplemental Agreement bound Daniels and Local 377. The district court held that the National Master Freight Agreement and its supplements also bound the Teamsters International Union, a disputed question in the case which we shall discuss later.

The supplemental agreements each contained substantially the following no-strike clause:

"The Unions 1 and the Employers agree that there shall be no strike, lockout, tie-up, or legal proceedings without first using all possible means of settlement, as provided for in this Agreement, (and in the National Agreement, if applicable, 2) of any controversy which might arise."

On August 17, 1968 Daniels discharged Roper, a garage employee and member of Local 377, and on August 19th Eckley, a road driver employee and union member, each for refusal of a work assignment. On the morning of August 20th meetings were held in Daniels' Warren terminal to attempt to resolve the grievances of Roper and Eckley arising from the termination of their employment. In attendance, among others, were Roper, Eckley, O'Neill, Vice-President and business agent of Local 377, and Clark, the terminal manager for Daniels. The meetings proved fruitless and in the afternoon Roper and Eckley began picketing the terminal. The members of Local 377 then walked off their jobs and the strike at Warren began. The next morning, August 21st, members of Local 377 from Warren appeared at the Eazor terminal in Pittsburgh and established a picket line there which the members of Local 249 employed by Eazor thereupon refused to cross.

It is conceded by all parties that Roper and Eckley did not exhaust the grievance procedure provided by the agreement and supplements in force between Local 377 and Daniels and that the strikes which began in Warren on August 20th and in Pittsburgh on August 21st were unauthorized by the unions and in direct violation of the no-strike clauses of the supplements to the National Master Freight Agreement to which they were parties. However, the local union stewards and committeemen at the Warren and Pittsburgh terminals took no steps to dissuade their fellow employees from striking or to induce them to return to work. On the contrary, they not only aided and abetted them but openly organized the strikes and led their members in conducting them.

The position of the unions, particularly Local 377, with respect to the strikes is less clear. There is no doubt that officers of the two local unions and of the Teamsters International Union repeatedly characterized the strikes as unauthorized and illegal and made a series of appeals, both written and verbal, to their striking members to return to work. Such appeals were made by O'Neill, the Vice-President and business agent of Local 377, among others, but the evidence is conflicting as to whether in fact O'Neill did not at the outset direct, or at least encourage, the walkout at Warren on August 20th. The district court found as a fact, however, that he had not done so, a finding which the plaintiffs assert was clearly erroneous and which we shall discuss later. It does not appear, however, that the unions took any action seeking to terminate the strikes more drastic or compelling than written and verbal urging of their members to return to work. No steps whatever were taken to remove or restrain the local union officers at the terminals, the stewards and committeemen, who were leading the strikers.

The strikes were characterized by an accelerating pattern of violence which persisted, despite efforts to enforce injunctions issued by the Court of Common Pleas at Pittsburgh 3 and the United States District Court at Cleveland 4 to control it. The violence included commandeering on the highway plaintiffs' drivers not involved in the strikes and compelling them to abandon their equipment, large scale destruction of Eazor equipment, threats of violence, and shootings and, finally, on September 16th an open assault by hundreds of persons on a convoy of Eazor trucks operated from the Pittsburgh terminal under police protection pursuant to a specific order of the Court of Common Pleas. Eleven of these persons, all members of Local 249, were arrested, convicted and imprisoned for criminal contempt by the Court of Common Pleas.

Within two or three days of the commencement of the strike at Warren, Daniels discharged Eugene Martin, the road steward, Bates, the city driver steward, and Merlin Martin and Arnold, union committeemen, and 26 other employees. On September 3d, urged by Judge Lambros, who was conducting the proceedings for a preliminary injunction in the United States District Court in Cleveland, the parties met to attempt a settlement of the strike. The union officials proposed that Daniels permit all the employees to return to work without penalty including Roper and Eckley whose reinstatement would be subject to determination through the grievance procedure. Daniels rejected this offer and indicated that it was unwilling to negotiate the status of the discharged employees until the employees not discharged returned to work. However, the evidence clearly shows that,...

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