WILKES-BARRE, ETC. v. NEWSPAPER GUILD, ETC., Civ. No. 79-1181.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
Writing for the CourtNEALON
PartiesWILKES-BARRE PUBLISHING COMPANY v. NEWSPAPER GUILD OF WILKES-BARRE, LOCAL 120 et al.
Decision Date25 June 1980
Docket NumberCiv. No. 79-1181.

504 F. Supp. 54

WILKES-BARRE PUBLISHING COMPANY
v.
NEWSPAPER GUILD OF WILKES-BARRE, LOCAL 120 et al.

Civ. No. 79-1181.

United States District Court, M. D. Pennsylvania.

June 25, 1980.


504 F. Supp. 55
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
504 F. Supp. 56
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
504 F. Supp. 57
Allan M. Kluger, Richard M. Goldberg, Wilkes Barre, Pa., William Caldwell Hancock, Daniel C. Kaufman, Nashville, Tenn., for plaintiff

Warren J. Borish, Philadelphia, Pa., Nancy Schiffer, Donald Sugarman, Detroit, Mich., for defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

NEALON, Chief Judge.

The Wilkes-Barre Publishing Company instituted the above-captioned action on September 18, 1979, predicating jurisdiction on § 301(a) of the Labor Management Relations Act,1 and the doctrine of pendent jurisdiction.2 The complaint contains three counts and asserts interrelated causes of action against three distinct sets of defendants. Count I sets forth a claim against the Newspaper Guild of Wilkes-Barre, Local 120 (hereinafter referred to as "Guild Local"),3 alleging that members of Guild Local violated a provision of the collective bargaining agreement prohibiting outside competitive activity by participating in the organization and operation of a strike newspaper.4 Count II avers that The Newspaper Guild (hereinafter referred to as "Guild International") also breached or, alternatively, tortiously induced members of Guild Local to breach the "Outside Activity" clause. The remaining defendants, local and international unions representing other employees of plaintiff,5 various officials of

504 F. Supp. 58
the defendant unions,6 and the Wilkes-Barre Council of Newspaper Unions, Inc., owner and publisher of the strike newspaper known as the Citizens' Voice, are charged in Count III with tortiously interfering with the contractual relationship between plaintiff and Guild Local by procuring the participation of Guild Local members in the operation of the strike paper

All defendants have moved to dismiss, asserting among sundry grounds two common objections to the complaint: (1) that plaintiff has failed to exhaust administrative remedies, and (2) that judicial intervention in this labor relations matter is preempted by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Additionally, the labor organization defendants, other than Guild Local, have moved to dismiss on the ground that the complaint fails to allege that they breached collective bargaining agreements with plaintiff; the Union officers have moved to dismiss on the basis that Union representatives cannot be held individually liable for actions taken in their official capacities; all defendants, other than Guild Local, have moved to dismiss on the ground that assertion of pendent jurisdiction over the state law claim of tortious interference with the performance of a contract is inappropriate; and defendants Joseph Maurer and the International Printing & Graphic Communications Union have moved to dismiss plaintiff's request for an injunction, contending that such equitable relief would offend their First Amendment rights.

After close examination of the pertinent authorities and careful consideration of the parties' respective arguments, I have reached the following conclusions: (1) plaintiff's claim of tortious interference with a collective bargaining agreement is not subsumed under the federal common law of labor relations; (2) pendent party jurisdiction exists over plaintiff's state law claim of tortious interference; (3) plaintiff's claim of tortious interference is preempted by the NLRA; (4) plaintiff has failed to allege the existence of a collective bargaining agreement with Guild International; and (5) plaintiff has failed to exhaust arbitration remedies with respect to the § 301 claim asserted against Guild Local.7

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

At the core of this lawsuit is a protracted labor dispute between the Wilkes-Barre Publishing Company, which owns and publishes a daily newspaper of general circulation in the Wilkes-Barre area known as the Times Leader, and the labor organizations representing Times Leader employees for collective bargaining purposes. Since October of 1978, when the parties reached an impasse in contract negotiations, Times Leader employees, acting under the aegis of the unions named as defendants in this proceeding, have been on strike and operating a so-called "interim strike newspaper." Plaintiff does not contest in this forum the legitimacy of the publication as an economic strike weapon. Rather, plaintiff argues that members of Guild Local are contractually bound not to work on the strike paper, and that the remaining defendants tortiously induced Guild Local members to breach this commitment. Thus, the focal point of this action is the collective bargaining agreement between plaintiff and Guild Local.

The last collective bargaining contract between Guild Local and plaintiff was executed

504 F. Supp. 59
on January 18, 1978, but had a retroactive effective date of October 3, 1976.8 The duration of this contract is governed by Article XXV, which provides
1. This agreement shall commence on the 3rd day of October, 1976, and expire on the 30th day of September, 1978, and shall inure to the benefit of and be binding upon the successors and assigns of the Publisher.
2. At any time within sixty (60) days prior to the termination of this agreement, the Publisher or the Guild Local may initiate negotiations for a new agreement to take effect at the expiration of the present agreement. The terms and conditions of this agreement shall remain in effect during such negotiations.
Any increases in wages or other changes shall be retroactive to October 1, 1978. emphasis added

In accordance with Article XXV, Guild Local, on July 26, 1978, advised the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry that written notice of the proposed termination or modification of the existing collective bargaining agreement had been served upon plaintiff. On August 29th, the first of the currently ongoing series of collective bargaining sessions was conducted between representatives of Guild Local and plaintiff. The talks concerning a new agreement continued through September 1978. Negotiations with the other labor organizations representing Times Leader employees also were conducted during this time period. None of the unions, however, entered into a collective bargaining agreement with plaintiff, and on October 6, 1978, the labor organizations sanctioned and ratified a strike against Times Leader. Several weeks prior to the walkout, representatives of the defendant unions undertook organizational activities to publish and distribute the Citizens' Voice as a strike newspaper. On or about September 27, 1978, some three days prior to the contract's expiration date, articles of incorporation were filed under the Pennsylvania Non-Profit Corporation Law by representatives of the local unions, including Guild Local, on behalf of the Wilkes-Barre Council of Newspaper Unions, Inc. The avowed purpose of this nonprofit entity was "to create, establish, and administer a newspaper ... throughout the pendency of the current labor dispute by and between the Wilkes-Barre Publishing Company and any one or more of the following unions; namely, Wilkes-Barre Printing Pressman's and Assistant's Union Local 137, Wilkes-Barre Typographical Union Local 187, Wilkes-Barre Stereotyper's and Electrotyper's Union Local 139, and Newspaper Guild of Wilkes-Barre Local 120 ...." The Citizens' Voice was first published on October 9, 1978, using, among others, striking employees represented by Guild Local.

Plaintiff alleges that negotiations with Guild Local are continuing, and that the 1976 collective bargaining agreement therefore remains operative. Its position is stated in a letter circulated in a negotiation session conducted September 28, 1979. The letter emphasized that "the terms of the present agreement, including the grievance and arbitration obligations, continue during negotiations after the expiration date of September 30." The letter also admonished that "the Company ... will pursue all legal remedies available (including an action for monetary damages incurred) against the Wilkes-Barre Newspaper Guild, its agents and all others who may be held legally culpable in the event that the Guild should fail to live up to its obligations under the law."

Two days after the strike newspaper began publication and five days after the walkout, plaintiff filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), asserting that Guild Local had violated section 8(b)(3) of the NLRA9 by encouraging and directing

504 F. Supp. 60
its members to work on the Citizens' Voice in violation of Article XVIII of the 1976 collective bargaining agreement, which, inter alia, prohibits Guild Local members from engaging in activities outside of working hours that "consist of service performed for publications in direct competition with the Publisher...." On October 18, 1978, plaintiff again filed unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB under section 8(b)(3), this time against the other local union defendants, asserting that "new and special interests acquired in the operation of the Citizens' Voice necessarily conflict with the good faith interest on negotiating a collective bargaining agreement concerning the wages, hours and working conditions of the Company employees." The NLRB subsequently found reasonable cause to believe that the alleged violations of the Act had been committed by the defendant local unions, but proceedings before it were stayed pending the outcome of arbitration proceedings instituted by plaintiff

Plaintiff initially attempted to grieve the outside activity question by letter dated November 9, 1978. This letter concluded:

The existing agreement of the parties contemplates a meeting within five (5) days after receipt of this request
...

To continue reading

Request your trial
9 practice notes
  • Dryer v. Los Angeles Rams
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • 5 Diciembre 1985
    ...even considered, arbitration by a less-than-impartial decision maker. (See also Wilkes-Barre, etc. v. Newspaper Guild, etc. (M.D.Pa.1980) 504 F.Supp. 54, 71-72.) ATSA of Calif., Inc. v. Continental Ins. Co. (9th Cir.1983) 702 F.2d 172, 175-176, amended (1985) 754 F.2d 1394, approved "partis......
  • Peabody Galion v. Dollar, No. 81-1391
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit
    • 11 Diciembre 1981
    ...labor practice jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board. Id.; Wilkes-Barre Publishing Co. v. Newspaper Guild of Wilkes-Barre, 504 F.Supp. 54, 65 Some guidelines were provided by the Supreme Court in San Diego Building Trades Council v. Garmon, 359 U.S. 236, 79 S.Ct. 773, 3 L.Ed.2d......
  • Wilkes-Barre Pub. Co. v. Newspaper Guild of Wilkes-Barre, Local 120, WILKES-BARRE
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • 11 Mayo 1981
    ...a pendent claim under Pennsylvania law for tortious interference with the Employer-Local Guild contractual relationship. The trial court, 504 F.Supp. 54 (D.C.), dismissed the section 301 breach of contract claim against the Local Guild for failure to exhaust arbitration remedies, and agains......
  • Palm Beach Co. v. JOURNEYMEN'S AND PROD., ETC., No. 81 Civ. 3702(RJW).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • 31 Julio 1981
    ...Delivery Co. v. Chauffeurs Local 150, supra note 5, 105 L.R.R.M. at 3352-53; Wilkes-Barre Publishing Co. v. Newspaper Guild Local 120, 504 F.Supp. 54, 64-69 (M.D.Pa.1980); Hennepin Broadcasting Associates, Inc. v. NLRB, supra, 408 F.Supp. at 937; California State Council of Carpenters v. As......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • Dryer v. Los Angeles Rams
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • 5 Diciembre 1985
    ...even considered, arbitration by a less-than-impartial decision maker. (See also Wilkes-Barre, etc. v. Newspaper Guild, etc. (M.D.Pa.1980) 504 F.Supp. 54, 71-72.) ATSA of Calif., Inc. v. Continental Ins. Co. (9th Cir.1983) 702 F.2d 172, 175-176, amended (1985) 754 F.2d 1394, approved "partis......
  • Peabody Galion v. Dollar, No. 81-1391
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit
    • 11 Diciembre 1981
    ...labor practice jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board. Id.; Wilkes-Barre Publishing Co. v. Newspaper Guild of Wilkes-Barre, 504 F.Supp. 54, 65 Some guidelines were provided by the Supreme Court in San Diego Building Trades Council v. Garmon, 359 U.S. 236, 79 S.Ct. 773, 3 L.Ed.2d......
  • Wilkes-Barre Pub. Co. v. Newspaper Guild of Wilkes-Barre, Local 120, WILKES-BARRE
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • 11 Mayo 1981
    ...a pendent claim under Pennsylvania law for tortious interference with the Employer-Local Guild contractual relationship. The trial court, 504 F.Supp. 54 (D.C.), dismissed the section 301 breach of contract claim against the Local Guild for failure to exhaust arbitration remedies, and agains......
  • Palm Beach Co. v. JOURNEYMEN'S AND PROD., ETC., No. 81 Civ. 3702(RJW).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • 31 Julio 1981
    ...Delivery Co. v. Chauffeurs Local 150, supra note 5, 105 L.R.R.M. at 3352-53; Wilkes-Barre Publishing Co. v. Newspaper Guild Local 120, 504 F.Supp. 54, 64-69 (M.D.Pa.1980); Hennepin Broadcasting Associates, Inc. v. NLRB, supra, 408 F.Supp. at 937; California State Council of Carpenters v. As......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT