Montgomery Ward and Company vs. Northern Pacific Terminal Company of Oregon Records

Collection Number: 5370

Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library

This collection was processed with the help of generous funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).
DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
Montgomery Ward and Company vs. Northern Pacific Terminal Company of Oregon Records, 1951-1953
Collection Number:
5370
Creator:
Montgomery Ward and Company;
Northern Pacific Terminal Company of Oregon (PTRC);
Fee, James Alger, 1888-1959.
Quantity:
0.5 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Records (documents) .
Repository:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
Brief, reply brief, and opinion argued before the United States District Court, District of Oregon [Civil Case No. 1686]. This suit was filed by Montgomery Ward to recover damages from motor carriers. The damages resulted from a strike and a secondary boycott of Montgomery Ward. The filings by the plaintifs and defendants date from 1951, the opinion of the presiding judge dates from 1953.
Language:
Collection material in English


ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

On December 7, 1940, the clerks and warehousemen at Montgomery Ward's Portland plant went on strike over the terms of settlement in a labor dispute. When the negotiations over the terms of settlement broke down on December 20, the Teamsters Union, representing the warehousemen, called for a general boycott of the goods being shipped to and from the plant.
A contract clause in the Agreement between the Teamsters and the Carriers servicing Montgomery Ward stated that the Union was not in favor of sympathetic strikes and further provided that the Union would not interfere with interstate commerce or in the intrastate commerce moving over the lines of the operator. Despite the language in this provision, there were innumerable instances of direct coercion of employers and employees to restrict handling of Ward's merchandise. After a brief period of struggle with the boycott, the carriers abandoned all attempts to service Montgomery Ward.
In addition to the general boycott, a secondary boycott was developed against the company which exhibited equal strength. Major oil companies refused to sell or deliver fuel oil to the plant, longshoremen refused to handle Ward's merchandise, the Post Office refused to handle any more goods than had been customary before the strike, and railroads did not switch cars onto Ward's sidings.
Only after hearings before the Interstate Commerce Commission did the carriers resume service. Soon afterward, Ward's entered suit against the carriers involved in the strike and boycott in the District Court for recovery of damages that resulted.
Since the case was not ruled on until 1953, the decision was more concerned with carrier liability than with the actual award of damages. The judge, the Honorable James Alger Fee, ruled on the basis of common law that the "carriers were each responsible for the acts and defaults of their own servants...and that 'tertiary' boycotts to isolate a single business from the facilities of commerce...(is) against the labor policy of the United States." As the carriers had consciously withheld their services from use by Wards, they were in violation of the law and, as such, "they should pay for the natural and probable consequences of having failed their duty."

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

Inclusive date range: 1951 - 1953
Bulk date: 1951 - 1953
This collection consists of the briefs filed in 1951 by the plaintiffs, Montgomery Ward, and the reply brief of the defendants, the Northern Pacific Terminal Company of Oregon and other rail carriers as well as the opinion of Judge James Alger Fee, who was the chief judge of the District Court of the United States for the District of Oregon at the time of this filing. The suit filed by Montgomery Ward was an attempt to gain recompense for damages suffered during a strike and secondary boycott that began in December 1940. Judge Fee ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in June 1953.
SUBJECTS

Names:
Montgomery Ward.
Northern Pacific Terminal Company of Oregon.
United States. District Court (Oregon)
International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen, and Helpers of America

Subjects:
Arbitration, Industrial -- Oregon.
Strikes and lockouts -- Oregon.

Form and Genre Terms:
Records (documents)


INFORMATION FOR USERS

Access Restrictions:
Access to the collections in the Kheel Center is restricted. Please contact a reference archivist for access to these materials.
Restrictions on Use:
This collection must be used in keeping with the Kheel Center Information Sheet and Procedures for Document Use.
Cite As:
Montgomery Ward and Company vs. Northern Pacific Terminal Company of Oregon Records #5370. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.

CONTAINER LIST

Container
Description
Date
Box 1 Folder 1 1951
Montgomery Ward & Co., Inc. (Plaintiff) vs. The Northern Pacific Terminal Company of Oregon, et al., (Defendants). No. Civ. 1686. October 1951.
Box 1 Folder 2 1951
Montgomery Ward & Co., Inc. (Plaintiff) vs. The Northern Pacific Terminal Company of Oregon, et al., (Defendants). No. Civ. 1686. December 1951.
Box 1 Folder 3 1953
Montgomery Ward & Co., Inc. (Plaintiff) vs. The Northern Pacific Terminal Company of Oregon, et al., (Defendants). No. Civ. 1686. June 1953.