The opinion of the court was delivered by: POLLACK
This is a suit for injunctive and declaratory relief brought under Section 301(a) of the Labor Management Relations Act, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 185(a), by the Secretary-Treasurer of a local teamsters' union against the General President of the national labor organization with which the local is affiliated.
The object of the suit is to prevent the General President from taking original jurisdiction over and thereby preempting pending local administrative proceedings in relation to charges of official misconduct made by six members of the Local against its Secretary-Treasurer and countercharges by the latter of a similar nature against one of his accusers, a Business Agent and Trustee of the Local.
Plaintiff applied for a temporary restraining order and the parties stipulated to take no action until a trial could be had of the factual issues involved. Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(a)(2) the Court then ordered the trial of this action on the merits to be advanced and consolidated with the evidentiary hearing ordered to be held on the application for a preliminary injunction.
Shortly after September 11, 1974 when this suit was filed, Vincent Refino, the Business Agent and Trustee previously mentioned, filed
a suit under 29 U.S.C. § 411(a)(5) seeking restoration to local membership and to his office from both of which he had been suspended pending an administrative hearing before a local administrative tribunal on the Local's charges of misconduct against him. Refino sued for immediate reinstatement, back pay and punitive damages. Before Refino filed his suit, there already had been preliminary local administrative action taken against him by the Local Executive Council from which he had appealed to the regional body, the Joint Council. Hearings were set for September 4 on his appeal to the Joint Council from his suspension and on September 6 before the Local on the substantive charges against him. However, before those dates, on August 28, Refino requested the General President to take original jurisdiction over his matters and the General President acceded on August 30, thereby presumably suspending the Local and Joint Council hearings. When Refino did not appear before the Joint Council it dismissed his appeal and he then appealed that dismissal to the national organization's General Executive Board; that appeal is pending.
Additionally, on September 25, 1974 Refino applied to this Court for a temporary mandatory order restoring him to his official position, to salary therefrom and to union membership. After hearing this application and on a balancing of the conveniences and equities, such temporary relief was denied. Refino was, however, given leave to participate as an intervenor in the trial of the primary (this Daley) action, and he has done so.
The pretrial deposition of Frank Fitzsimmons, the General President of the national organization, was taken by the plaintiff and the parties proceeded to trial. This Court has, in essence, been asked to decide a question of construction involving the constitution of the national labor organization in a dispute between it and its affiliated local union.
For the reasons stated below, the relief sought by the plaintiff herein and by Refino in his companion suit are each denied and their respective complaints dismissed. The plaintiff herein and Refino are properly before the General President of the national organization on his assertion of original jurisdiction for administrative resolution of the charges and countercharges and Refino's demands for reinstatement and other relief.
II. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America (hereafter "IBT") is an unincorporated association functioning as a labor union in the United States and Canada, representing workers in various fields of industry including, inter alia, workers in the trucking industry. It is governed by the provisions of its Constitution adopted at its duly constituted General Convention held in July 1971. Frank E. Fitzsimmons is the duly elected General President of IBT.
IBT Local Union No. 445 ("Local 445") is one of over 800 local unions affiliated with the IBT and has been granted a charter by the latter authorizing it to act as a local union and an affiliate of the IBT.
Theodore G. Daley is the Secretary-Treasurer and the principal officer of Local 445. He is currently charged by six members of his local union with the improper disbursement of union funds. Daley has also been charged by seven members of Local 445 with the improper expenditure and/or approval of union funds in connection with certain trips to Florida.
Refino, a Trustee and elected Business Agent of Local 445, was charged on July 31, 1974 by Daley with various offenses against the union including misappropriation of union funds. These charges were filed with the Executive Board of Local 445 on July 31, 1974 at a meeting at which Refino was present and voting and the Board in pursuance of one of its by-laws, immediately upon the charge being filed, ordered the immediate suspension of Refino pending the trial of the issues which was scheduled for September 6, 1974. Article 21(d) of the by-laws of Local 445 reads:
Immediately upon any charge being filed pursuant to subsection b. herein, the Executive Board may order the immediate suspension of the accused member pending a trial of the issues pursuant to this section, and no such member, who is also an ...