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WILKENS v. DE KONING

June 7, 1957

Louis WILKENS, Plaintiff,
v.
William C. DE KONING, Jr. and Local 138, International Union of Operating Engineers, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BYERS

This is a motion for a temporary injunction pending the trial of an action in which the complaint was filed April 25, 1957.

The matter was heard on May 15, on the complaint and on affidavits, pro and con, and briefs were filed May 24.

The relief prayed for in the complaint is for 'an order permanently restraining and enjoining the defendants and each of them from bringing plaintiff to trial (before the defendant union) upon the charge aforesaid (stated below) until the hearing and determination of this civil action and for such other and further relief, etc.'

 Since there is no answer, it is impossible now to know what final form the issues will assume.

 A temporary stay was embodied in an order to show cause dated April 26, 1957, for an injunction pendente lite.

 The complaint asserts jurisdiction under the Taft Hartley Act, Title 29 U.S.C.A. § 186(e). It will be seen that § 186(c) is also involved.

 The allegations of the complaint may be thus summarized: That plaintiff is a member of the defendant union; that a Welfare Fund has been created by contributions of the members; that the trustees of the Fund have not made available the annual audits thereof for inspection by 'interested persons.'

 That on April 23, 1956, plaintiff was given a copy of a report of said Fund said to have been made by accountants, which he exhibited to his attorney;

 That this was deemed by the defendant De Koning to be a violation of the plaintiff's duty as a member of the union; and that the plaintiff was notified that he would be brought to trial on that charge on April 26, 1957, at a union meeting;

 That plaintiff may be expelled from the union as the result of the trial, thus sustaining irreparable damage.

 It is also alleged that the purpose of De Koning, the individual defendant named, and of the union, is to preclude plaintiff and other beneficiaries from inquiring into the finances of the Fund.

 If this were all that is involved, the situation would be much simpler than it is. Section 186, subd. (c) of the Act which authorizes such a fund contains provisions which need not be quoted, concerning the administration thereof and the handling of disputes arising in connection therewith; it specifies that the agreement 'shall also contain provisions for an annual audit of the trust fund, a statement of the results of which shall be available for inspection by interested persons at the principal office of the trust fund and at such other places as may be designated in such written agreement.'

 It cannot be supposed that the statute intended to hedge such an audited statement with a veil of secrecy; clearly a person contributing through his membership in the union, to the Welfare Fund, is an interested person, and clearly it would seem unnecessary for the statute to declare that such an interested person could consult his attorney concerning the audited statement with a view to being advised as to its legal sufficiency.

 Subd. (e) of the same section creates jurisdiction on the part of the district courts of the United States 'to restrain violations of this section,' which is ...


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