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TABLE TALK PIES OF WESTCHESTER v. STRAUSS

September 16, 1964

TABLE TALK PIES OF WESTCHESTER et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
John STRAUSS, as President, etc., of Bakery and Pastry Drivers and Helpers Local 802, American Federation of Labor, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MCLEAN

On August 7, 1964 plaintiffs began an action in the Supreme Court, Westchester County, New York, by serving upon defendants a summons and complaint which charged defendants with conducting an illegal secondary boycott. The complaint asked an injunction and damages in the total sum of $ 250,000. On August 6, when the complaint was filed in the state court, a justice of the State Supreme Court signed an order to show cause, returnable on August 10, requiring defendants to show cause why a temporary injunction should not issue. The order to show cause contained a stay of the acts complained of pending the return day of the motion. On August 7 defendants removed the action to this court. Plaintiffs now move to remand it. Defendants move to vacate the temporary restraining order issued by the state court.

I will first consider the motion to remand. This requires an examination of the complaint and the petition for removal.

The essential allegations of the complaint may be summarized as follows:

 Plaintiff Table Talk Pies of Westchester ('Table Talk') is a partnership having its principal place of business in Westchester County. It purchases pies and other bakery products which are manufactured in Massachusetts by Table Talk Pastry Company, Inc. Table Talk sells these products to distributors, each of whom has a particular area in Westchester County assigned to him. The other thirteen plaintiffs are such distributors (hereinafter called 'distributor plaintiffs'). The complaint alleges that the distributor plaintiffs are independent contractors and are not employees of Table Talk. The distributor plaintiffs sell these products to retailers in their respective territories.

 Defendant Bakery and Pastry Drivers and Helpers Local 802 ('Local 802') is a labor union. Defendant New York City Bakery Workers Council is alleged to be affiliated with it. The complaint alleges that defendants have placed pickets at the premises of the retailers who are customers of the distributor plaintiffs, and that these pickets have distributed false and misleading handbills and displayed false and misleading signs. The complaint charges that by means of threats, defendants have 'coerced and intimidated' the retailers into refusing to buy plaintiffs' products. It is alleged that defendants' purpose is to compel the distributor plaintiffs to join the union and to compel plaintiff Table Talk to distribute its products only through members of the union and to that end 'to compel retail storekeepers to buy pies and bakery products delivered only by members of defendant union.' The complaint alleges that 'defendants know and intend to conduct an illegal secondary boycott in direct violation of law,' and that they have done so, with resulting damage to plaintiff. The complaint contains no specific allegations of interstate commerce beyond the initial allegation that the products are manufactured in Massachusetts, from which it necessarily follows that they are shipped from Massachusetts to plaintiff Table Talk in New York.

 Defendants' petition for removal states that 'plaintiffs are engaged in an industry affecting interstate commerce within the meaning of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 as amended,' and that 'the activities alleged by plaintiffs to have been engaged in by your petitioners herein concern an industry and activities affecting interstate commerce within the meaning of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, as amended.' Plaintiffs do not dispute these allegations on this motion.

 The question to be determined upon plaintiffs' motion to remand is of course whether or not this court has jurisdiction of this action. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441, 1447.

 The district courts have jurisdiction over actions arising under 'any Act of Congress regulating commerce.' 28 U.S.C. § 1337. The Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 is such an act. 29 U.S.C. § 141.

 Section 303 of the Labor Management Relations Act as amended (29 U.S.C. § 187) provides that it shall be unlawful 'in an industry or activity affecting commerce, for any labor organization to engage in any activity or conduct defined as an unfair labor practice in section 158(b)(4) of this title,' and that anyone injured in his business or property by reason of any such violation may sue in any district court of the United States and 'shall recover the damages by him sustained * * *.'

 29 U.S.C. § 158(b)(4) (Section 8(b)(4) of the National Labor Relations Act) provides that:

 'It shall be an unfair labor practice for a labor organization or its agents * * * (ii) to threaten, coerce, or restrain any person engaged in commerce or in an industry affecting commerce, where in either case an object thereof is --

 '(A) forcing or requiring any employer or self-employed person to join any labor or employer organization * * *

 '(B) forcing or requiring any person to cease using, selling, handling, transporting, or otherwise dealing in the products of any other producer, processor, or manufacturer, or to cease doing business with any other person * * *.'

 The alleged conduct of defendants of which plaintiffs complain falls directly within the scope of the statute. Defendants have allegedly 'threatened' and 'coerced' the retailers with the object of forcing the distributor plaintiffs who are self-employed persons to join a labor organization and also with the object of forcing the retailers to cease doing business with plaintiffs. Although the complaint contains no formal allegations pertaining to interstate commerce, I believe that it sufficiently appears from the complaint that these requirements of the federal statute are also satisfied. Table Talk itself is engaged in interstate commerce, since all its products come to it across state lines. Since it is in interstate commerce, it necessarily follows that it is in an industry 'affecting' commerce. NLRB v. Fainblatt, 306 U.S. 601, 59 S. Ct. 668, 83 L. Ed. 1014 (1939); NLRB v. Denver Building & ...


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