|Posted:||January 14, 2013 04:13 PM|
|From:||Representative Stephen Bloom|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Fair Enforcement of Labor Anti-Injunction Act|
|In a typical labor dispute, employees and/or their union representatives will picket an employer’s premises. Though Pennsylvania’s Labor Anti-Injunction Act prohibits the issuance of injunctions against nonviolent and otherwise lawful demonstrations, we have too frequently seen unlawful measures deployed against employers including, but not limited to: blocking vehicles from entering an employer’s facility; tampering with locks; flattening tires; and interfering with an employer’s right of ingress to and egress from its own property. In such cases, the aggrieved employer will often seek and obtain a court order protecting its rights. However, in many cases, the picketers will not voluntarily obey the court order without further efforts by the employer.
The Labor Anti-Injunction Act does not presently address the manner in which a restraining order shall be served or the costs that may be imposed for failing to obey such an order. As a matter of practice, persons who successfully obtain an injunction seek the assistance of the county sheriff to serve and enforce the order pursuant to the sheriff’s general powers to serve court papers under the Judiciary Code (See 42 P.S. § 2921). The local sheriff decides how many officers are needed to enforce the order. The use of the sheriff is often time consuming and costly for the employer the order is intended to protect. For example, in Philadelphia County, the sheriff’s office often requires the use of multiple officers to serve and enforce an injunction and may charge several thousand dollars per day for its services.
My proposed legislation improves the enforcement of orders by designating a broader array of public officers to serve and enforce an injunction upon the complainant’s request. The reforms would explicitly authorize the sheriff, local police, Pennsylvania State Police and other public officers to enforce labor injunctions, to facilitate orderly and prompt compliance with such court orders.
My legislation also provides the court with express power to impose upon enjoined persons who do not voluntarily obey a court order any legal fees and costs incurred by the complainant. This is necessary because enjoined persons often fail to obey an injunction without complainants’ persistent efforts and the attendant expenses of the public officers necessary to enforce the order. Under fair and equitable judicial practice, persons who refuse to voluntarily obey court orders should be subject to paying the costs of enforcement upon the prevailing party’s motion to the court.
Introduced as HB1470