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Larson & Sons v. Radio & Television B. Engrs.

DECEMBER 28, 1965.

GUST G. LARSON & SONS, INC., AN ILLINOIS CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

RADIO AND TELEVISION BROADCAST ENGINEERS LOCAL UNION NO. 1220 OF THE INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS, MARVIN W. BALOUSEK, ET AL., OFFICERS AND BUSINESS REPRESENTATIVES OF LOCAL 1220, FLOYD LINNEMAN, ET AL., PICKETS FOR THE UNION, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



Appeal from the Circuit Court, the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Winnebago County; the Hon. ARTHUR V. ESSINGTON, Judge, presiding. Reversed and remanded with directions.

MR. JUSTICE DAVIS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

This is an appeal from an interlocutory order granting to plaintiff a temporary injunction which restrained the defendant union and individual defendants from maintaining pickets at a site at which the plaintiff was constructing a building to house a television station and from interfering in any way with plaintiff's employees or the employees of any of plaintiff's subcontractors.

The plaintiff, a general contractor, was hired by Rock River Television Corp., herein called WCEE-TV, to construct a building to house its broadcasting facilities. At the time in question, the building was not yet completed and WCEE-TV had not commenced televising. All of plaintiff's employees, as well as the employees of its subcontractors, were members of The Rockford Building Trades Union. WCEE-TV, which was not a party to this action, had in its employ two nonunion technical engineers. These engineers were engaged in the installation of technical electronic equipment within the building under construction. The installation of this equipment was not a part of the general construction contract.

The defendants are the Radio and Television Broadcast Engineers Local Union No. 1220, its officers and business representatives, and certain of its members who were picketing at the site. The pickets were all employees of WTVO, a competing television station. It is conceded that the defendants had no dispute with the plaintiff or any of its subcontractors.

The defendants commenced picketing the construction site on August 6, 1965, and continued to do so until August 17. During this period, employees of plaintiff and its subcontractors refused to cross the picket line and no work was done at the site. On the 17th of August the picketing temporarily ceased and there was no picketing until the 23rd of August. During this interval, the construction was resumed. On the 23rd of August the picketing once more began and certain of the employees of the plaintiff and its subcontractors once again refused to cross the picket line, causing a discontinuance of the work. At some time after the picketing began, WCEE-TV removed its nonunion technical engineers from the site during the day while the construction employees were at work, and caused these engineers to work on the installation of the electronic equipment at the site, during the night.

The signs carried by the pickets read as follows:

"Notice to Public WCEE-TV Does Not Meet Prevailing Wages and Working Conditions In Area We Are Not Asking Other Employees of Other Employers To Cease Work. Local 1220 — International Brotherhood of Elect. Workers. AFL-CIO"

WCEE-TV had contracted to commence televising on September 12, 1965. The complaint alleged that if the picketing were to continue, this commitment could not be met. The contract between WCEE-TV and the plaintiff for the construction of the television building provided that if the contractor should fail to supply enough properly skilled workmen, the owner, upon certificate of the architect, could give to the contractor, seven days notice of termination of employment.

On August 11, 1965, WCEE-TV, pursuant to the provisions of the contract, sent notice to the plaintiff that it had failed to proceed diligently with the construction; that the pickets at the construction site did not provide a valid excuse for the failure; that WCEE-TV had to honor its commitments to be on the air September 12; and that it was thus giving the seven days' notice of intention to terminate the contract. The notice was certified by the architect.

On August 25, following the resumption of picketing on August 23, the plaintiff filed this action alleging generally what has been set forth above. The complaint also stated that the pickets approached employees of plaintiff and its subcontractors and truckers in order to prevent them from entering the premises to continue construction work and to deliver materials; that the purpose of the picketing was to compel WCEE-TV to enter into a collective bargaining agreement with the defendant union and constituted a secondary boycott; and that the plaintiff would be caused irreparable harm if the picketing were to continue and if WCEE-TV were to cancel its contract.

The defendants entered their special appearance and filed a motion to quash service of summons, which motion was denied. They then filed their motion to dismiss the complaint which, likewise, was denied. Thereafter, a hearing was held after which the court, on August 30, 1965, granted the temporary injunction. The defendants thereupon prosecuted this appeal, and we have heretofore granted the defendants' motion to stay the temporary injunction order pending a full hearing and final determination by this court.

The defendants' principal contention throughout has been that the acts complained of would constitute an unfair labor practice under section 8(b) (4) of the National Labor Relations Act (29 USCA Sec 158(b) (4)), and that the National Labor Relations Board has jurisdiction over this matter to the exclusion of jurisdiction of our state courts. We agree with this conclusion.

The Labor Management Relations Act leaves much to the states. Congress, however, refrained from indicating how much, and the area in which state action remained permissible has been defined by the slow process of case to case decisions. In Garner v. Teamsters, Chauffeurs and Helpers Local Union No. 776, et al., 346 U.S. 485 (1953), at page 488, the court indicated that litigation to date had found state action permissible under one or more of the following circumstances listed in (1) (b), (2) and (3), and in San Diego Bldg. Trades Council v. Garmon, 359 U.S. 236 ...


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