Radio Corp. of America v. Local 780, Intern. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Emp. and Moving Picture Mach. Operators of U.S. and Canada, AFL-CIO

Decision Date17 January 1964
Docket NumberAFL-CIO,No. 4566,4566
Parties55 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2478, 48 Lab.Cas. P 18,716 RADIO CORPORATION OF AMERICA, Appellant, v. LACAL 780, INTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE OF THEATRICAL STAGE EMPLOYEES AND MOVING PICTURE MACHINE OPERATORS OF the UNITER STATES AND CANADA,, by and through Jonathan Reynolds, its business agent and representative, and Local 666, international Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Moving Picture Machine Operators of the United States and Canada,, by and through Arthur W. Beeman, its business agent and representative, Appellees.
CourtFlorida District Court of Appeals

Fowler, White, Gillen, Humkey & Trenam, Tampa, Crofton, Brewer & Holland, Titusville, for appellant.

Blackwell, Walker & Gray, Miami, Bernard M. Mamet, Chicago, Ill., for appellees.

KANNER, Judge.

Upon motion of the plaintiff-appellant, Radio Corporation of America, the Circuit Court of Brevard County entered without notice a temporary restraining order 1 against defendants-appellees, Local 780, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Moving Picture Machine Operators of the United States and Canada, AFL-CIO, by any through Jonathan Reynolds, its business agent and representative; and Local 666, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Moving Picture Machine Operators of the United States and Canada, AFL-CIO, by and through Arthur W. Beeman, its business agent and representative. Pursuant to motion subsequently made by appellees, the circuit judge dissolved the temporary restraining order; the matter is before this court on interlocutory appeal from the order of dissolution. Based upon appellant's petition for review of an order denying supersedeas, this court reinstated the temporary restraining order with modifications, 2 pending outcome of this appeal.

The question raised here in one of jurisdiction, the chancellor having specified as basis for his order of dissolution '* * * that the subject matter of the controversy is subject the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, and that in accordance with the decisions of the United States Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of this state the matter is federally pre-empted and that the sole forum authorized to grant relief, if any, is warranted, is the National Labor Relations Board * * *'.

Our view is at variance with that of the chancellor; from our study, we have concluded that jurisdiction does lodge in the state court.

No answer was filed nor testimony or controverting evidence offered at the hearing on the motion to dissolve; therefore, our factual review as it concerns the jurisdictional problem necessarily falls within the confines of the verified complaint.

Essentially, the complaint alleges that R.C.A. is engaged at Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral 3 in the photographing of missile tests performed by the United States Government and in the processing and handling of films thus made; that the work which it performs is of such critical importance to the missile test program at the Cape that the nation's defense effort would be delayed and, because of this, United States Air Force and defense department officials have stated that, unless performance is immediately secured, this may result in cancellation of R.C.A.'s contracts.

It is then alleged that through collective bargaining negotiations with each of the defendant unions there exists a contract containing the following provision:

'Section 2.2. Agreement against strikes and lockouts.

'(a) The parties mutually agree that there shall be no strike, work stoppage, slowdown, sitdown or picketing by the union or its representatives, or members or lockout on the part of the company, unless and until all steps of the grievance procedure, including arbitration, all have been employed and one of the parties hereto fails or refuses to comply promptly with any final decision made against such party thereunder.'

It further appears from the complaint that in its operations R.C.A. employs, among others, a group of photographers, a group of processors, and a group of camera repairmen; that the film processors group is represented to Local 780, of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Moving Picture Machine Operators of the United States and Canada, AFL-CIO, which also represents the unit of camera repairmen, and that the photographers unit is represented by Local 666 of the same national union; that R.C.A. and Local 780, as representatives of the film processors, entered into a contract with respect to the employees of that group on August 10, 1962, set to expire October 5, 1964; that R.C.A. and Local 666 as representatives of the photographers, entered into a contract as to that unit of employees, this contract to expire also on October 5, 1964; that both contracts contain the same no-strike clause hitherto quoted and that both and in full force and effect.

There are also allegations setting out that on Debember 18, 1961, Local 780, as representative of the camera repairmen's unit, entered into a contract with R.C.A. and that this contract expired on September 30, 1963; that attempts to negotiate a new contract have thus far failed; that on October 29, 1963, Local 780 caused the group of employees under that expired contract to strike against R.C.A.; that in furtherance of its strike Local 780 has caused members and employees of R.C.A. to picket the entrances to its facilities at the Cape and Patrick Air Force Base; that the picketing has induced R.C.A.'s employees at those two places whose contracts are still in effect to strike in violation of the 'no strike' clause; that employees of R.C.A. who are members of Locals 780 and 666 and whose contracts containing the 'no strike' clause are still operative are violating those contracts by striking and refusing to work; and that the damage and injury which R.C.A. suffers and will suffer, absent the relief sought, is of such a nature that the amount of it will be difficult if not impossible to ascertain legally and that neither Local 780 nor Local 666 is financially able to respond in an action at law for damages. Certain other allegations in the complaint relate to picketing of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, AFL-CIO, members employed by R.C.A. at Merritt Island, but the request for relief as to those employees was abandoned. The restraining order is now sought to apply only to the employees under the contracts in force with Locals 780 and 666, respectively, which are scheduled to expire October 5, 1964.

It thus appears that R.C.A. seeks to enforce the no-strike, no-picketing pledge of two collective bargaining agreements, premising its right to injunctive relief upon breach of them by and through appellees.

The labor unions maintain with respect to jurisdictional residence of the cause that, by cretain cases, the authority of the state to issue injunctions in labor matters of this type has been pre-empted by federal law under which the National Labor Relations Board has been accorded exclusive jurisdiction of such matters. Perhaps the most heavily relied upon cases advanced by them are those of Re Green, 1962, 369 U.S. 689, 82 S.Ct. 1114, 8 L.Ed.2d 198; Ex parte George, 1962, 371 U.S. 72, 83 S.Ct. 178, 9 L.Ed.2d 133; General Drivers, Warehousemen, and Helpers, Local Union No. 89 v. American Tobacco Co., Inc., 1955, 348 U.S. 978, 75 S.Ct. 569, 99 L.ed. 762; Bogle v. Jakes Foundry Co., 1960, 362 U.S. 401, 80 S.Ct. 812, 4 L.Ed.2d 864; McCrary v. Aladdin Radio Industries, Inc., 1957, 355 U.S. 8, 78 S.Ct. 12, 2 L.Ed.2d 22; and Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Helpers & Taxi Cab Drivers, Local Union No. 327 v. Kerrigan Iron Works, Inc., 1957, 353 U.S. 968, 77 S.Ct. 1055, 1 L.Ed.2d 1133.

Re Green, decided May 21, 1962, involved an attorney representing a labor union, who had been held in contempt by an Ohio state court without a hearing which could have given him an opportunity to establish that the court had no power to issue the injunction because acting in a field exclusively reserved by Congrees for the National Labor Relations Board. The contempt charged was that of advising the union to continue picketing in violation of an ex parte injunction. In haveas corpus proceedings in the state courts the attorney challenged their jurisdiction to penalize him for the conduct cited and was denied relief. On certiorari, the Supreme Court of the United States reversed the judgment below, holding that due process was violated by the conviction without a proper hearing. The respondent had argued that in the dispute between the comployer and the union there was not concerned any attempt to organize workers nor any refusal of the employer to bargain, but only the enforcement of a nostrike clause in a collective bargaining agreement, which was left by Congress either to the federal courts or to the state courts. The petitioner attorney urged that the unfair labor practice charge filed with the National Labor Relations Board was based on the employer's refusal to bargain in good faith and that the collective bargaining agreement which the employer sought to have the state court enforce had been signed by unauthorized agents. The Supreme Court of the United States, in the course of its opinion, commented that it was impossible to determine from the record whether or not the dispute was exclusively within the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board and, further, that the Ohio court could not know whether it was within bounds when, without a hearing, it cited a person for contempt for violating the injunction.

As to the November 13, 1962, Ex parte George case, the situation factually was one where the American Oil Company was involved in a labor dispute with the National Maritime Union, which peacefully picketed a refinery operated by a subsidiary of American Oil Company. The subsidiary had a valid collective bargaining...

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