Local Union No. 115 v. Indiana Glass Co., 38A02-0111-CV-730.

Citation771 N.E.2d 1193
Case DateJuly 22, 2002
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana

771 N.E.2d 1193

LOCAL UNION NO. , Each of the American Flint Glass Workers Union of North America, AFL-CIO, et al., Appellants-Defendants,

No. 38A02-0111-CV-730.

Court of Appeals of Indiana.

July 22, 2002.

771 N.E.2d 1194
William R. Groth, Geoffrey S. Lohman, Fillenwarth Dennerline Groth & Towe, Indianapolis, IN, Attorneys for Appellants

Steve Shoup, Jan J. Kinzie, Lowe Gray Steele & Darko, LLP, Indianapolis, IN, Attorneys for Appellees.

771 N.E.2d 1195

BAKER, Judge.

Appellants-defendants Local Union 115 and Local Union 501, each of the American Flint Glass Workers Union of North America, AFL-CIO, and three of their officers—Ronald Fuller, Sonny Poor, and Clark Anderson—(collectively, the local unions) appeal the entry of a permanent injunction restricting them from certain strike and picket activities in their labor dispute with the appellee-plaintiff Indiana Glass Company (Indiana Glass). Concluding that Indiana Glass' complaint satisfied the Anti-Injunction Act's pleading requirements and finding that the trial court's challenged findings were supported by the evidence, we affirm.


The local unions were jointly negotiating for a collective bargaining agreement with Indiana Glass during early fall 2001. On October 8, a few days after negotiations broke down, the local unions began to strike. Sometime during the first night of the strike, two strikers walked up to the plant manager responsible for security, Kevin Heuser, and spat on him after pretending to call a truce. That same evening Heuser noticed a red laser light (similar to ones used for gun sights) trained in the window of the room he was in. The red laser light originated from an area just behind the local unions' recreational vehicle parked across the street from the plant. Although he did not see the person pointing the light in his direction, Heuser noticed several strikers milling about the RV and drinking alcohol.

The local unions began picketing in earnest the next day at four main locations. Some picketers were stationed outside the main gates of the plant, while separate contingents were dispatched to two Indiana Glass retail facilities located in Muncie and Dunkirk. A fourth group congregated at the intersection of Pleasant and Main Streets in Dunkirk, along a route necessary for shipments to and from the plant. This intersection is only 100 to 150 yards away from the union hall shared by both unions and is clearly visible from inside the union hall.

On the first day of picketing, at least 50 strikers blocked the intersection as a tractor-trailer and a security escort vehicle, driven by Robert Landess, were en route to the factory. Some of the picketers jumped onto the front of the tractor-trailer and beat on it, warning the truck driver and Landess that they had "better not go" to the plant. Tr. p. 38. Twenty of the picketers stopped the truck, cut the brake lines, and punctured one of the tires. The rest of the group pounded on Landess's escort vehicle, shattering the back window.

Officer Dane Mumbower of the Dunkirk Police Department was dispatched to the scene. When he arrived, he witnessed between fifty to sixty strikers at the intersection, one of whom was hanging from the tractor-trailer's mirror. As the picketers somewhat dispersed, Officer Mumbower spoke to the driver of the tractor-trailer but neglected to take a statement from him. While Officer Mumbower was speaking with the truck driver, twenty picketers yelled, "Let's trash their car!" and rushed toward Landess's escort vehicle. Tr. p. 37. Landess managed to speed off before the picketers could get to him.

Later the same day, Heuser drove an escort vehicle for a tractor-trailer leaving the plant. As soon as Heuser stopped at the Main and Pleasant Streets intersection, picketers surrounded his vehicle. At first, they placarded his front and side windows with picket signs and threw a sheet over his car. Heuser then opened the car door to make sure the truck driver was unharmed and attempted to film the scene with a video camera. Picketer Betty

771 N.E.2d 1196
Jones slammed the car door against Heuser's leg. As he pushed the door open, another picketer kicked him in the face. Heuser was jerked from the car and repeatedly kicked and punched. As a result of the beating, Heuser suffered two hematomas to his head, three broken teeth, a twisted jaw, a nose injury, bruised ribs, and a hernia

Jay County Sheriff Todd Penrod arrived at the scene as Heuser and the tractor-trailer came to a stop at the intersection. He had just served a temporary restraining order on the local unions' representatives and was driving through Dunkirk on his way back to the Jay County Sheriff's Department in Portland. He witnessed the sheet being thrown onto Heuser's vehicle and saw a woman hitting Heuser's vehicle with a picket sign. Sheriff Penrod did not see the subsequent assault and did nothing to investigate it once Heuser reported his injuries to him. Sheriff Penrod, however, called the Dunkirk Police Department, which "took over" the investigation. Tr. p. 160.

Shortly thereafter, Dunkirk Police Department Chief Arnold Clevenger and Officer Mumbower arrived at the scene. Chief Clevenger went to the union hall and told Poor that they "need to put a stop to it for the night." Tr. p. 110. Poor, Fuller, Anderson, and a national representative of the local unions, Andrew Slipp, went to the intersection and dispersed the crowd. While at the scene, Slipp saw Heuser and stated, "Oh, you're the one that wouldn't talk to me? You got what you deserved." Tr. p. 20.

There were other incidents of picketers interfering with shipments to and from the plant and threatening security guards, and harassing Indiana Glass retail outlet patrons. One truck driver required medical attention when a picketer threw a concrete rock through the driver's side window. During another incident, the picketers stationed at the Indiana Glass retail outlet in Muncie scattered over four hundred nails in the parking lot and temporarily blocked people from entering or leaving the parking lot. One picketer copied down a security escort's license plate number and threatened to kill him. On another occasion, a security escort spotted a man dressed completely in black crouched behind bushes near the Pleasant and Main Street intersection. The man was aiming a crossbow in his direction.

There was evidence that the local unions could guarantee the safe passage of certain shipments to and from the plant when it suited their purposes. First, Slipp sent a letter to Indiana Glass assuring the company that a FedEx truck could "proceed unimpeded into the Indiana Glass facilities" so that Indiana Glass could provide the strikers their paychecks. Plaintiff's Ex. 3. Slipp concluded his letter by recommending that Indiana Glass make the paychecks available at the "normal time" or the "already tense situation would not be improved if employees felt that the company was withholding or toying with their checks." Plaintiff's Ex. 3. Second, three businessmen asked Fuller what the local unions would do to insure that school children could safely go through town after school. Fuller assured them that the school children could do so "without incident." Tr. p. 267. Fuller testified, "[W]hile I was there ... a truck came through, and we told the police that if any trucks came through during the time that there was any children coming, that they would go through, and Arnold Clevenger was present as the kids were walking through, and a truck went through without any incident." Tr. p. 269.

Indiana Glass filed a complaint for a temporary restraining order and a permanent injunction, setting forth the following:

771 N.E.2d 1197
8. That unlawful acts are being committed, have threatened, and will be committed unless restrained and have been committed and will continue unless restrained, to-wit: that members and agents of Defendants, Local Union No. 115 and Local Union No. 501, American Flint Glass Workers Union of North America, AFL-CIO, are presently, have in the past and have threatened to continue to block legal ingress and egress to Plaintiff's plant located as above described; that said members and agents of Local Union No. 115 and Local Union 501 have harassed and intimidated persons who have removed products, manufactured goods and supplies from Plaintiff's plant; that the aforesaid agents and members of Local Union 115 and Local Union 501 have harassed and intimidated non-picketing, non-striking and non-union employees of Plaintiff upon said persons attempting to enter the aforesaid plant of Plaintiff to report for work; that said agents and members of Local Union 115 and Local Union 501 are presently physically blocking entrances to Plaintiff's plant and have attempted to prevent other persons from legally entering the Plaintiff's premises. That such unlawful acts have also been committed by said Union members wh[o] have caused physical damage to property and have attempted physical harm to individuals and property and have attempted physical harm to individuals and property of customers and employees of the Plaintiff.
9. That substantial and irreparable injury to Plaintiff's property will follow if said restraining order and injunction are not issued.
10. That as to each item of relief requested, greater injury will be inflicted upon Plaintiff by the denial of relief than will be inflicted upon Defendants by the granting of relief.
11. That Plaintiff has no adequate remedy at law.
12. That the public officer charged with the duty to protect Plaintiff's property and rights is unable to furnish adequate protection.
13. That unless a temporary restraining order shall be issued without notice, substantial and irreparable injury to Plaintiff's property will be unavoidable. That failure to issue a temporary restraining order without notice may result in bodily harm and property

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