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Executive Board Local 1302 v. United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America

decided: April 16, 1973.

EXECUTIVE BOARD LOCAL 1302, UNITED BROTHERHOOD OF CARPENTERS AND JOINERS OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
UNITED BROTHERHOOD OF CARPENTERS AND JOINERS OF AMERICA, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Moore, Hays and Oakes, Circuit Judges. Oakes, C.j. (dissenting).

Author: Hays

HAYS, C.J.:

This is an appeal from a judgment of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, 339 F. Supp. 613, granting an injunction prohibiting the defendant International Union, its general executive board, its officers and representatives from interfering with or otherwise restricting the plaintiff Local in the legitimate conduct of its affairs and, particularly, from interfering with the plaintiff Local's filing a petition for disaffiliation and a petition for a separate certification with the National Labor Relations Board. The appellant contends that the imposition of trusteeship for the purpose of preventing the Local from petitioning the Board for disaffiliation and separate certification is among the "legitimate objects" of a labor organization within the meaning of Section 302 of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, 29 U.S.C. § 462 (1964). We agree with this contention of the appellant and reverse the judgment of the District Court.

Local 1302 is composed of about 400 carpenters all of whom are employed by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics in Groton, Connecticut. Local 1302 is one of eleven separate unions represented by the Metal Trades Council of New London County in collective bargaining with the Electric Boat Division. The Metal Trades Council has been certified by the National Labor Relations Board since 1945 as the bargaining representative for the eleven unions and has for over twenty-five years negotiated collective agreements covering the Electric Boat Division's approximately 8000 employees. In August 1967 Local 1302 voted to disaffiliate from the Metal Trades Council and seek separate certification in order to deal directly with the employer in behalf of the 400 carpenters rather than to continue to bargain through the Council representing all 8000 employees. The International ordered Local 1302 to refrain from filing for separate certification. Refusing to obey this order, the Local filed the petition for separate certification. The International thereupon, after holding a hearing on the matter, imposed a trusteeship and appointed a trustee. The trustee withdrew the Local's petition for separate certification.

The trusteeship was withdrawn by the International after a new contract was agreed upon by the Metal Trades Council and the employer. This contract expired in June 1972. The International has indicated that it will again impose a trusteeship should Local 1302 file a new petition for disaffiliation with the Board.

The sole question presented on this appeal is whether the imposition of the trusteeship is permissible under Section 302 of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, 29 U.S.C. § 462 (1964).

Section 302 of the Act provides:

"Trusteeships shall be established and administered by a labor organization over a subordinate body only in accordance with the constitution and bylaws of the organization which has assumed trusteeship over the subordinate body and for the purpose of correcting corruption or financial malpractice, assuring the performance of collective bargaining agreements or other duties of a bargaining representative, restoring democratic procedures or otherwise carrying out the legitimate objects of such labor organization."

It is clear from Section 302 that there are two conditions for the valid imposition of a trusteeship: the International must comply with its own constitution in establishing and administering the trusteeship and the trusteeship must be imposed for one of the purposes enumerated in the Section. See United Bro. of Carpenters & Joiners v. Brown, 343 F.2d 872, 882 (10th Cir. 1965). There is no contention in the instant case that the International did not comply with its constitution in imposing the trusteeship.*fn1 Therefore the only question at issue is whether the purpose for which the trusteeship was imposed was one of those enumerated in Section 302.

It is our view that the trusteeship was imposed for the purpose of "carrying out the legitimate objects of such labor organization." The Senate Report on Section 302 said:

"[trusteeships] are among the most effective devices which responsible international officers have to ensure order within their organization. In general, they have been widely used to prevent corruption, mismanagement of union funds, violation of collective bargaining agreements, . . .; in short, to preserve the integrity and stability of the organization itself." 1959 Cong. & Adm. News 2333.

Here the trusteeship was imposed in order "to preserve the integrity and stability of the organization."

The Metal Trades Council from which the Local seeks to disaffiliate is chartered by the Metal Trades Department of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations. The governing body of the Council is the executive board which is comprised of delegates representing each of the affiliated local unions. The object of the Council, and of the Metal Trades Department generally, is to facilitate the adjustment of trade disputes along practical lines and thus to encourage harmonious relations between employees and employers. The constitution of the Metal Trades Department provides:

"Where there exist three (3) or more local unions of affiliated trades in any locality, they shall, when called upon by their respective national and international organizations, form a local metal trades council of this Department, which bodies ...


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