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UNITED STATES v. RYAN

January 24, 1955

UNITED STATES of America
v.
Joseph P. RYAN, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: PALMIERI

The defendant, Joseph P. Ryan, was indicted on three counts for alleged violation of section 302(b) of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, 29 U.S.C. § 186(b), 29 U.S.C.A. § 186(b). The indictment charged that on three separate occasions the defendant while a representative of employees who were employed in an industry affecting commerce, unlawfully, wilfully and knowingly received and accepted sums of money from the employers of such employees.

The case was tried before me without a jury, and I find that the evidence established the following facts beyond a reasonable doubt. In 1950 and 1951, the years covered by the indictment, the defendant was president of the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) and the Atlantic Coast District of the ILA. The ILA, the Atlantic Coast District of the ILA, and the ILA's affiliated local unions were the recognized collective bargaining agents for longshore labor in the Port of New York These organizations bargained for longshore labor in the Port of New York through the Wage Scale Committee of the ILA and were parties to collective bargaining agreements which governed the terms and conditions of employment of longshore labor in the Port. Defendant was a member of the Wage Scale Committee and was authorized to sign and did sign the agreements in effect in 1950 and 1951.

The Wage Scale Committee of the ILA bargained with the New York Shipping Association (NYSA), an association of employers of longshore labor, and J. Arthur Kennedy & Son, Inc., was a member of the NYSA in 1950 and Daniels & Kennedy, Inc. was a member of the NYSA in 1951. Both of these concerns were engaged in stevedoring affecting commerce *fn1" and their employees were members of local unions affiliated with the ILA and were employed in an industry affecting commerce. The collective bargaining agreements entered into by the ILA and the NYSA were binding on J. Arthur Kennedy & Son, Inc. (Kennedy & Son) and on Daniels and Kennedy, Inc. by reason of their membership in the NYSA.

 In December of each year from 1946 to 1951, James C. Kennedy, president of Kennedy & Son and of Daniels & Kennedy, Inc., gave the defendant $ 1,000; and in April, 1951 James C. Kennedy gave the defendant $ 500. On each of these occasions James C. Kennedy visited the defendant in his office at 14th Street and Eighth Avenue in New York City and gave him the money. In December 1950 the envelope containing the money had the following message written on it: 'Merry Christmas to Joseph P. Ryan from J. Arthur Kennedy & Son, Inc.' In December, 1951 the message on the envelope read: 'Merry Christmas to Joseph P. Ryan from Daniels & Kennedy.' In April, 1951 the envelope containing the money had no message written on it.

 The law which defendant has allegedly violated provides that

 'It shall be unlawful for any representative of any employees who are employed in an industry affecting commerce to receive or accept, or to agree to receive or accept, from the employer of such employees any money or other thing of value.' 29 U.S.C. § 186(b), 29 U.S.C.A. § 186(b). And it further provides that 'Any person who willfully violates any of the provisions of this section shall * * * be guilty of a misdemeanor * * *.' 29 U.S.C. § 186(d), 29 U.S.C.A. § 186(d).

 The defendant did not offer any evidence to controvert the proof that he had received and accepted money from James C. Kennedy.

 Since 'employer' is defined as including 'any person acting as an agent of an employer, directly or indirectly,' Labor Management Relations Act, 1947, §§ 501(3), 101(2), 29 U.S.C. §§ 142(3), 152(2), 29 U.S.C.A. §§ 142(3), 152(2), and James C. Kennedy was acting as an agent of Kennedy & Son and Daniels & Kennedy, Inc. when he gave the defendant money in 1950 and 1951, it is clear that the defendant received and accepted money from 'the employer' of employees who were employed in an industry affecting commerce. But the defendant contends (1) that he cannot be considered to have violated 29 U.S.C. § 186(b), 29 U.S.C.A. § 186(b), because he was not a 'representative of * * * employees' within the meaning of the section, and (2) that even if it should be decided that he was a 'representative of * * * employees', the Government has not proved a wilful violation of section 186(b) and has therefore failed to prove that he committed a crime. 29 U.S.C. § 186(d), 29 U.S.C.A. § 186(d).

 Defendant's contention that he was not a 'representative of * * * employees' within the meaning of section 186(b) is based on his belief that the phrase 'representative of employees' as used throughout the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 is a term of art for the collective bargaining agent for a group of employees. The defendant argues that neither he nor any other individual was the 'representative' of the longshoremen who were members of the ILA, the Atlantic Coast District of the ILA, and the local unions affiliated with the ILA. In each case, he says, the union was the 'representative of * * * employees.'

 According to the defendant, section 186 was enacted to insure that welfare funds would be administered for the benefit of union members and would not be used to further the purposes of the union or the union officers; and to limit check-off payments to labor organizations. The defendant argues that Congress intended to achieve these purposes, and did not intend to prohibit gifts to union officers from the employers of the men they represented.

 The legislative history of section 186 does not sustain defendant's position. The provision that later became section 302(b) of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947, 29 U.S.C. § 186(b), 29 U.S.C.A. § 186(b), was offered as an amendment to the bill by Senator Ball in behalf of himself, Senator Byrd and other Senators. See 93 Cong.Rec. 4677 (1947). A similar provision had been offered as an amendment to a bill by Senator Byrd in the preceding Congress. See 92 Cong.Rec. 4809 (1946). It had been passed but was vetoed by President Truman. So far as is material to the decision of the instant case, the Byrd amendment and the Ball amendment are similar to section 186.

 Throughout the debate on the Ball amendment Senators evidenced an awareness that section 186 would apply to payments to a union official by an employer of men whom the official represented. For example, while explaining the effect of section 186 on the floor of the Senate, Senator Taft said,

 'The amendment provides first that --

 'It shall be unlawful for any employer to pay or deliver, or to agree to pay or deliver, any money or other thing of value to any ...


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