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Eads Coal Co. v. United Mine Workers

MARCH 19, 1971.




APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Jefferson County; the Hon. JOHN D. DAILY, Judge, presiding.


The defendants appeal from an order whereby the trial court granted a temporary injunction sought by the Eads Coal Company, hereinafter referred to as Eads, and the Progressive Mine Workers of America, District No. 1, hereinafter referred to as Progressive, and on behalf of employees of the Belle Rive Mine located in Mt. Vernon, Illinois.

The temporary injunction was granted against certain named individual defendants as well as the United Mine Workers, District No. 12, hereinafter referred to as United. The injunction restrained the defendants from mass picketing, threats to employees, as acts of violence and intimidation of said employees.

Eads had recognized Progressive as the exclusive bargaining agent for the mine employees. United wanted to organize the employees at the Belle Rive Mine and was advised by Eads that it had a valid labor contract with Progressive. Thereafter, United attempted to recruit the employees into joining their union. From the alleged procedures of recruitment this lawsuit resulted. This occurred during the week of October 12, 1970.

A temporary injunction was granted ex parte by the Circuit Court of Jefferson County on October 16, 1970 and was extended an additional ten days on October 26, 1970. A motion to dissolve the injunction was denied on the same date. Thereafter, the temporary injunction, which is the subject of this appeal, was granted on November 4, 1970 after the court had several days of extensive testimony.

• 1 At the outset we should comment that Chapter 48, Section 2A, Illinois Revised Statutes, 1969, popularly known as the Illinois Anti-Injunction Act, is not applicable to this cause. That statute does not apply in situations where violence, threats and intimidation are involved. General Electric Company v. Local 997 U.A.W. (1955), 8 Ill. App.2d 154.

There were a number of witnesses called by each side. Some of the plaintiffs' witnesses testified that they had received threatening phone calls or other verbal threats not to go to work. The threats involved physical harm or damage to their property. Others testified they were hollered at and threatened as they entered the mine entrance or they were crowded or jostled as they entered. Considerable profanity and abusive language was apparently used. Others indicated they had seen a car window smashed out and had heard gunshots near the mine.

The president of the local school board expressed concern to mine officials for the safety of the school children as the school bus had to pass the mine enroute to the school.

Beginning a couple of days after the pickets were present at the mine, the mine employees would either arrive at the mine prior to the pickets or would meet and form a caravan or convoy so that they could all proceed to the mine together. They indicated this was done for mutual protection.

Additional witnesses testified that there were a large number of pickets at various entrances which made it difficult to enter the mine. The evidence as to the number of pickets varied from thirty to one hundred with claims by named defendants that the number of pickets would increase to five hundred. The mine employed around fifty to sixty employees.

Further evidence indicated that many employees stayed away from work as a result of threats. Throughout the relevant period of time officials of United who were also named defendants were present at the site or were involved in instructing the pickets. Most of the witnesses called by the defendants testified they were not involved in any of the alleged acts, but did not contradict the testimony of any of the plaintiffs' witnesses. There was little direct contradictory testimony in the trial.

• 2 From a review of the evidence the findings of the trial court are supported by the evidence and are not against the manifest weight of evidence.

• 3 The question of which of the two unions has the right to represent the employees at Belle Rive Mine is not before this court. The state courts have jurisdiction to issue an injunction, if supported by the evidence, even though there is ultimate jurisdiction over the main issue before the National Labor Relations Board. (Precision Scientific Co. v. International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers (1954), 2 Ill. App.2d 531 and Fansteel Metallurgical Corporation v. Lodge 66 of Amalgamated Ass'n. of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers of North America (1938), 295 Ill. App.2d 323.) The ...

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