The opinion of the court was delivered by: BARTELS
Plaintiff Juan Sanchez Lugo, a former worker in the Illumination Products Industry, brings this action for declaratory and injunctive relief under § 302 of the Taft-Hartley Act ("Act"), 29 U.S.C. § 186,
against the Employees Retirement Fund ("Fund") of that industry and the trustees thereof, upon the ground that the Fund is not in compliance with the Act. He claims that two aspects of the agreement establishing the Fund constitute structural defects in violation of the Act, to wit: the failure of the agreement to provide (1) a hearing for an applicant for disability benefits on the issue of his disability, and (2) for vesting of rights to standard retirement benefits before the retirement age insofar that an applicant is required to attain the age of 60 and to have been employed or available for employment by contributing employers for 90 months within the ten years prior to his application. In October, 1973, on defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint, the Court ruled that it has jurisdiction to determine whether the above claims constitute violations of the Act which requires that the Fund be "for the sole and exclusive benefit of the employees." 29 U.S.C. § 186(c)(5). (Lugo v. Employees Retirement Fund of the Illumination Products Industry, 366 F. Supp. 99 (E.D.N.Y. 1973)). On October 21, 1974, a trial was held before the Court without a jury to determine whether the agreement was, in fact, "for the sole and exclusive benefit of the employees." Accordingly, the Court makes the following Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.
1. Plaintiff was continuously employed in the Illumination Products Industry from 1955 to 1972.
2. Plaintiff left his last position in the industry, at Majestic Inc., 535 Sackett Street, Brooklyn, New York, in April, 1972, because he felt he was physically unable to continue working there.
3. When he stopped working, plaintiff was 50 years old and had worked for more than 90 months within the previous ten years.
4. The Fund is administered by the Joint Retirement Committee ("the Committee") in accordance with the provisions of an Agreement negotiated between the representatives of contributing employers in the industry and the unions representing the workers in the industry.
5. Paragraph 5 of the Agreement provides that "The determination in good faith by the Committee of any matter or question under this Agreement shall be final and conclusive." (Emphasis supplied.)
6. Paragraph 18.2(b) provides that the Committee is to be the sole judge of the facts as to whether an applicant is "disabled" to the extent required for eligibility for the Disability Pension Benefit.
7. Paragraph 20(c) requires the Disability Pension application to contain a clause stating that "The Committee has the power to prescribe a medical and/or physical examination (the cost to be born by the Fund), and that the applicant will agree to such an examination before his application will be considered by the Committee."
8. Paragraph 20(a) provides that "The Committee's action in approving or disapproving any application shall be final. A rejected applicant shall have no right or claim of any kind against the Committee, the Union, the Employer, or Employers."
Plaintiff's Application for Disability Benefits
9. Plaintiff duly applied for Disability Benefits on April 13, 1972, and, in addition, applied for ...