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BULCKE v. GRAHAM

May 6, 1949

BULCKE et al.
v.
GRAHAM



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BLACK

In this action Erland Pearson, individually and as an officer of and for and on behalf of International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union, Local 16, an unincorporated association, seeks to have this Court in the Western District of Washington enjoin the defendant, Thomas Graham, individually and as Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board from proceeding in the District Court for the Territory of Alaska seeking any injunction or injunctive relief restraining the peaceful picketing by plaintiff against the Juneau Spruce Corporation.

The problem presented is intriguing. In brief, the plaintiff is asking this United States District Court for the Western District of Washington to enjoin the defendant from trying to exercise authority in Alaska, which at least apparently the defendant would have the right to exercise in any state of the union if the parties and acts were in such states. Technically the law involved may be cited as the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947. Properly and practically, it may be referred to as the Taft-Hartley Act.

 The plaintiff's position is that it is only seeking in this Court to restrain the defendant from going to an Alaska court where he has no right to go and there seek injunctive relief from the Alaska Territorial Court, which plaintiff says has no jurisdiction or power to act to restrain and enjoin the plaintiff from peaceful picketing. The defendant's answer in effect is that defendant under the law has a duty to seek relief from the Alaska court, the Alaska court has jurisdiction and power to act, and that the defendant is anxious to have the plaintiff restrained from violating Section 8(b)(4)(D) of the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947, being Title 29 U.S.C.A. § 141 et seq., 158(b)(4) (D), and as I have previously stated, always properly and practically always by attorneys referred to as the Taft-Hartley Act.

 Plaintiff in reply states that plaintiff in no wise is guilty of any violation of Section 8(b)(4)(D) of said Act, that all it is doing is engaging in peaceful picketing for the purpose of exercising the constitutional right of free speech to give notice of its views and without purpose to violate the Act and also without accomplishing any of the evils which the Act is, according to its language, intended to prevent.

 Both sides concede that for many months the Juneau Spruce Corporation, in spite of such picketing as plaintiff has engaged in, has been operating, and that the employees of the Corporation, members of International Woodworkers of America, Local M-271, have continued to serve the Corporation. Interestingly, plaintiff is representative of a CIO union, and International Woodworkers of America are members of another CIO union. As a result, the defendant argues that plaintiff's actions are in violation of Section 8(b)(4)(D) of the Act, which in substance says,

 'It shall be an unfair labor practice for a labor organization or its agents to engage in, or to induce or encourage the employees of any employer to engage in * * * concerted refusal in the course of their employment to * * * work on any goods, articles, materials, or commodities or to perform any services, where an object thereof is * * * forcing or requiring any employer to assign particular work to employees in a particular labor organization * * * rather than to employees in another labor organization * * * unless such employer is failing to conform to an order or certification of the Board determining the bargaining representative for employees performing such work or task.'

 It is clear from the affidavits in this case that the Juneau Spruce Corporation has a contract with the Workworkers Union providing for the Woodworkers doing the particular service in connection with the loading of barges that plaintiff contends should be performed by the Longshoremen's Union and by no one else.

 As far as both parties before the Court are concerned, they seem with considerable unanimity to agree that the Alaska court will accept jurisdiction. Plaintiff indicates that the Alaska court not only will accept jurisdiction of an application by a representative of the Board for an injunction, but that the Alaska court will issue the injunction, all to plaintiff's irreparable injury.

 I have before me the text of a recent decision by the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit entitled 'Printing Specialties and Paper Converters Union, etc., et al, v. LeBaron, Regional Director of the Twenty-First Region, N.L.R.B.,' filed December 13, 1948, and found in 171 F.2d 331, 335. In the last paragraph of this decision this language is found, 'The statute (referring to the Taft-Hartley Act) is by no means a model of draftsmanship.' I don't believe any impartial person reading the Act can disagree with that characterization by Judge Healy speaking for the Court of Appeals. Undeniably, the language of the statute as enacted has many variations in respect to what courts have authority to act. Apart from reference to the Court of Appeals or the Circuit of Appeals, as it was known when the Act was enacted, the Act refers to District Courts of the United States, including the District Court of the United States for the District of Columbia one time, somewhere else to the District Courts of the United States, in some other part to the District Courts of the United States, the Courts of the United States for the Territories and Possessions, and elsewhere to some different combination in part or whole of the District Courts of the United States, the District Court of the District of Columbia, the Courts of the United States for the Territories, and the Courts of the United States for the Possessions. Such distinction as the Act makes with reference to the court that shall have power to act or which shall be applied to very naturally produce disagreement between respective interests. While this Act was intended to remove confusion from matters affecting the employer, the employees and the public, it cannot be denied that those who do not favor the Act can at least with some degree of persuasion argue that instead of the Act removing confusion it does manage to confound confusion.

 Confess inability to recognize that a certain ruling by Judge Folta of an Alaska Territorial Court in the area where plaintiff resides and where the local union he represents has its principal place of business and in which Judge Folta held that his Court was a proper court for an action by the Juneau Spruce Corporation against this local union for damages, is res adjudicata in this proceeding.

 That action was only between the union represented by plaintiff and the Corporation, which is not a party here. The defendant in this action was not a party there. Such rights as the defendant has here to institute an action in the Alaska Territorial Court is under Section 10 of the Taft-Haryley Act, 29 U.S.C.A. § 160. Such right as the Juneau Corporation had to bring this action was stated by Judge Folta to have been under Section 303 of the Taft-Hartley Act, 29 U.S.C.A. § 187.

 So we have different parties and different sections, and when we compare Section 303 with Section 10 we find quite different language. So with no trouble at all I say there is no res adjudicata in the proceeding.

 Second, the defendant contends that the decision of Judge Folta constitutes stare decisis, establishing the right of defendant to proceed before the Alaska Court. If a decision by Judge Folta under Section 303 on a demurrer constitutes stare decisis as to the rights of the defendant under an altogether different section with different wording, then I must confess complete lack of understanding of the doctrine of stare decisis I must hold that the right of defendant to maintain an injunction proceeding under Section 10 in no wise has the support of any doctrine of stare decisis.

 I have read with interest the opinion of Judge Folta. It testifies to much thought and analysis of the Act. I do not know that I disagree with his conclusion that the Juneau Spruce Corporation had the right to bring the action it brought in the Alaska court. It seems to me that he could have arrived at that conclusion very ...


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