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A. H. BULL S.S. CO. v. NATIONAL MARINE ENGINEERS'

October 17, 1957

A. H. BULL STEAMSHIP CO., Plaintiff,
v.
NATIONAL MARINE ENGINEERS' BENEFICIAL ASSOCIATION, AFL-CIO, and International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots, Inc., AFL-CIO, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BRUCHHAUSEN

The plaintiff, an operator of ships engaged in cargo transportation, instituted this action against the defendants for specific performance of collective bargaining agreements, made between the plaintiff and each of the defendants. The subject motion is for provisional remedies, enforcing the agreements, pendente lite.

The defendant, National Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association, AFL-CIO is hereinafter called 'MEBA.'

 The defendant, International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots, Inc., AFL-CIO is hereinafter called 'MMP.'

 The plaintiff and the defendant, MEBA, as representative of the licensed engineering officers, employed aboard the plaintiff's vessels, entered into a collective bargaining agreement, bearing date June 18, 1955, which by its terms does not expire until June 15, 1958. The agreement provided that 'there shall be no strikes, lockouts or stoppages of work during the period of this agreement,' also grievance procedure, for the arbitration of all disputes, relating to its interpretation or performance. It also obligated the defendant MEBA to furnish plaintiff on call, and as the plaintiff might from time to time require, competent and fit licensed officers to serve aboard plaintiff's vessels.

 The plaintiff and the defendant, MMP, as the representative of Licensed Deck Officers, other than the Masters of vessels, entered into a similar agreement, bearing date July 1, 1955, expiring on September 30, 1958, which agreement contained an additional provision, viz.:

 'It is understood that in the event a picket line is established against any vessel, the Licensed Deck Officers of such vessel will report and perform all of their normal duties incidental to the security of the vessel, passengers and cargo, provided that no Licensed Deck Officers shall be required to work under conditions which may endanger his health or safety. The Organization undertakes to use its best efforts to obtain clearance for such purpose from the Union establishing the picket line.'

 On or about August 19, 1957 each defendant called a strike against the plaintiff. The strikes have been on ever since.

 Prior to the aforesaid work stoppages, negotiations were had, pursuant to wage reopening clauses contained in the agreements. The parties came to no agreement thereon. The plaintiff contends that no dispute then existed between the parties, excepting that the defendants claimed that their members, employed by the plaintiff, had a feeling of insecurity because of fears that the plaintiff's parent corporation, American Coal Shipping, Inc., whose officers were not and are not represented by the defendants, might take over plaintiff's operations, also that the defendants declined to arbitrate the matter. Significantly, MEBA admits that, besides demanding a 6% wage increase, it requested an additional amount for its engineer members 'sufficient to compensate them for a possible complete loss of their jobs through the transfer of their vessels to American Coal' (Exhibit E, attached to affidavit of Herbert L. Daggett, sworn to October 9, 1957). MMP makes a similar admission (affidavit of Charles T. Atkins, October 8, 1957, at page 4). It appears that the plaintiff acquiesced in the 6% wage increase, which had previously been generally adopted in the dry cargo shipping industry.

 In neither agreement is the no-strike clause qualified by the wage reopening clause. The defendants, by the terms of the agreements, were not entitled to strike by reason of the collapse of the wage negotiations, whatever the cause.

 The work stoppages have caused and are causing serious loss, damage and irreparable injury to the plaintiff for which it has no legal remedy.

 As to the Defendants' Claim that the Court has no Jurisdiction of the Action.

 The plaintiff, in its complaint, alleged as the basis for jurisdiction the diversity of citizenship of the parties and Section 301 of the National Labor Management Relations Act, 1947 (29 U.S.C.A. § 185).

 There is complete diversity between the plaintiff, a Delaware corporation, and the defendant, MMP, a New York corporation. This cause of action is separate and apart from the plaintiff's case against the defendant MEBA.

 There is some doubt as to whether diversity exists in the action between the plaintiff and MEBA, in that there is evidence that some of the members of MEBA reside in the State of Delaware, the same ...


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