Green v. Obergfell

Decision Date17 March 1941
Docket NumberNo. 7551.,7551.
Citation121 F.2d 46
PartiesGREEN et al. v. OBERGFELL et al.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — District of Columbia Circuit

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

Jos. A. Padway, of Washington, D. C., for appellants.

Martin F. O'Donoghue and Wm. J. Hughes, both of Washington, D. C., for appellees.

Before STEPHENS, MILLER and RUTLEDGE, Associate Justices.

MILLER, Associate Justice.

Appellee, the International Union of United Brewery, Flour, Cereal and Soft Drink Workers of America, and its predecessors in interest, have for more than forty years contested with appellant, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Stablemen and Helpers of America, and its predecessors1 in interest, the exclusive right to organize and claim as members the drivers of brewery wagons and trucks. For convenience, appellee will be referred to as the Brewery Workers Union and appellant as the Teamsters Union. For more than forty years both international unions have been affiliated members of appellant, the American Federation of Labor, and that federation has from time to time attempted to resolve the jurisdictional dispute, concerning membership, which has been carried on between its two affiliates.2

In 1933 the American Federation of Labor adopted an opinion and decision theretofore reached by its Executive Council which reads as follows: "In the case of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Stablemen and Helpers of America vs. The International Union of the United Brewery, Flour, Cereal and Soft Drink Workers of America, the Executive Council is of the opinion and decides that teamsters and chauffeurs in the brewery industry properly belong to and come under the jurisdiction of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and Chauffeurs." The Brewery Workers Union refused to abide by this decision and when the Teamsters Union attempted to carry it out, conflict resulted between the two affiliates and their locals. This conflict finally precipitated the case in the lower court from which the present appeal has resulted.

The lower court decided3 (1) that the Brewery Workers Union has the "prior and exclusive right to organize beer drivers as against the claim of defendant Teamsters Union, or any other organization;" Italics supplied (2) "That defendant Teamsters Union has never had jurisdiction over beer drivers * * * and became affiliated with the * * * American Federation of Labor, subject to the prior and exclusive right * * * of the said plaintiff Brewery Workers Union to organize beer drivers;" Italics supplied (3) that the American Federation of Labor is required to observe and protect the prior and exclusive right of the Brewery Workers Union to organize beer drivers. Pursuant to its determination of these issues, the lower court issued a permanent injunction against appellant, the American Federation of Labor, and nine of the individual appellants "as officers, members and representatives" of the American Federation of Labor, to the effect that they should be permanently enjoined and restrained from notifying any employers of beer drivers, central labor bodies, state federations of labor, or other interested parties, of its action "in transferring jurisdiction of beer drivers from plaintiff Brewery Workers Union to the defendant Teamsters Union;" and also adjudged that the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Stablemen and Helpers of America, and five of the individual defendants, "as officers, members and representatives" of the Teamsters Union should be permanently enjoined and restrained (a) from in any manner carrying out, or attempting to carry out, the action of the American Federation of Labor, transferring jurisdiction of beer drivers from plaintiff Brewery Workers Union to defendant Teamsters Union; (b) from persuading, by any means, lawful or unlawful, or coercing, intimidating, or threatening, employers of beer drivers who are members of the Bewery Workers Union in any effort to cause employers either to breach any collective bargaining agreement with the Brewery Workers Union, or any local member thereof, or to prevent or discourage the entering into of any new collective bargaining agreements with the Brewery Workers Union or any local member of it, on the ground of the decision of the American Federation of Labor of 1933, or to cause the discharge "of any member of the said plaintiff Brewery Workers Union from employment in a brewery because he failed to join the Teamsters Union under the illegal order of the American Federation of Labor of 1933;" (c) from fostering, encouraging, or conniving at any acts of coercion on the part of any local union affiliated with Teamsters and/or (d) from fostering and encouraging any organizational activities on behalf of the said International Teamsters Union to its local unions, attempting to carry out the decision of the 1933 Convention of the American Federation of Labor above set forth, by notifying any brewery employers of the said decision of the American Federation of Labor, by its Convention of 1933.

It would be difficult to imagine a case which more clearly involves a labor dispute within the meaning of the Norris-LaGuardia Act.4 That Act contains, among other relevant provisions, the following:5 "The term `labor dispute' includes any controversy concerning terms or conditions of employment, or concerning the association or representation of persons in negotiating, fixing, maintaining, changing, or seeking to arrange terms or conditions of employment, regardless of whether or not the disputants stand in the proximate relation of employer and employee." Italics supplied

Appellees contend that the quoted language (Section 13(c)) requires — in order that the case can be said to involve a labor dispute — that the disputants must stand in the relation of employer and employee. But the language is not susceptible of that construction.6 Other sections of the Act, particularly Section 13(a),7 make this conclusion even more certain.8 As was said by Mr. Justice Stephens, speaking for this court, of the dispute involved in the case of Fur Workers Union, etc. v. Fur Workers Union, etc.:9 "* * * it involves a dispute between `one association * * * of employees' and another such association — to wit, the appellant and appellee unions. * * * The case involves or grows out of a labor dispute within the meaning of the term `labor dispute' in subsection (c) of Section 13 because it is a `controversy concerning * * * the association or representation of persons in negotiating * * * terms or conditions of employment, regardless of whether or not the disputants stand in the proximate relation of employer and employee.' That is to say, the controversy concerns the representation of persons — to wit, fur workers — in negotiating terms or conditions of employment, although some of the members of the appellant union (those other than Schwartz and Haley) disputing with Zirkin's do not stand in the proximate relation of employees to Zirkin's as employer, and although, to the extent that the dispute is between the appellant and appellee unions, the disputants do not stand in the proximate relation of employer and employee to each other." The fact was, of course — in the Fur Workers case as in the present case — that the unions did not stand in any sort of employer-employee relationship, proximate or otherwise.10

Nor is it material that no employer was joined as a party. The fact that, in cases previously arising under the Act, employers have appeared as parties, does not exhaust its possibilities or limit the broad scope and meaning which Congress intended to give to the Act.11 It was intended drastically to curtail the equity jurisdiction of federal courts in the field of labor disputes.12 That employer-employee relationships were involved, however, is obvious from the pleadings, the evidence, the judgment, and the injunction issued.13 The essence of the dispute was the right of the Brewery Workers Union, on the one hand, and of the Teamsters on the other, to organize particular workers for collective bargaining purposes, i. e., "the association or representation of persons in negotiating, fixing, maintaining, changing, or seeking to arrange sic terms or conditions of employment." The injunction issued by the lower court is primarily concerned with the employer-employee relation. It enjoins the American Federation of Labor from "notifying any employers of beer drivers * * *;" and enjoins the Teamsters Union "from persuading by any means lawful or unlawful, * * * employers of beer drivers * * *;" and "from fostering and encouraging any organizational activities * * * to its local unions * * * by notifying any brewery employers * * *." That persons "engaged in the same industry, trade, craft or occupation" were involved is equally obvious. The language which runs like a red thread throughout the tremendous record in this case is "beer drivers;" persons who were engaged in the brewery industry; persons engaged in the trade or craft or occupation of driving beer wagons, beer trucks, and soft drink trucks. It will be noted, also, that the "case" which Section 13(a) of the Act defines as coming within its terms is one which involves or grows out of a labor dispute; which involves persons who are engaged in the same industry, or have direct or indirect interests therein.

As the suit involves a labor dispute, Section 1 of the Norris-LaGuardia Act14 becomes applicable and prohibits the issuance of a restraining order or injunction to restrain lawful acts,15 and in any event — assuming the commission of unlawful acts — except in strict conformity with its provisions.16 In at least three respects the lower court failed to conform to the requirements of Section 7 of the Act.17 That section provides, in part, as follows:

"No court of the United States shall have jurisdiction to issue a temporary or permanent injunction in any case...

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