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San Filippo v. United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America

October 28, 1975

JOSEPH A. SAN FILIPPO, AS PRESIDENT OF LOCAL #72, UNITED BROTHERHOOD OF CARPENTERS AND JOINERS OF AMERICA, AND ROBERT S. MURPHY, AS SECRETARY OF LOCAL #72, UNITED BROTHERHOOD OF CARPENTERS AND JOINERS OF AMERICA, AND LOCAL #72, UNITED BROTHERHOOD OF CARPENTERS AND JOINERS OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS-APPELLEES,
v.
UNITED BROTHERHOOD OF CARPENTERS AND JOINERS OF AMERICA, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE-APPELLANT



Appeal by Plaintiffs from that portion of the order of the District Court for the Western District of New York, Harold P. Burke, District Judge, which denied their motion for a preliminary injunction, and cross-appeal by Defendant from so much of the order as denied its motion to dismiss the complaint.

Oakes Van Graafeiland and Meskill, Circuit Judges.

Author: Meskill

MESKILL, Circuit Judge

The plaintiffs, Local No. 72 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America and two of its officers (collectively referred to as "Local 72") appeal from the refusal of the United States District Court for the Western District of New York (Burke, J.) to grant a preliminary injunction restraining the defendant United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America ("United Brotherhood") from effectuating the terms of a directive which, inter alia, merges a number of Rochester area locals of the United Brotherhood, including Local 72. The United Brotherhood cross-appeals from the refusal of the district court to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a cause of action. We affirm.

On April 30, 1975, Local 72 commenced an action for preliminary and permanent injunctions to prevent the United Brotherhood from executing a directive, which the local claims was issued by the General President of the United Brotherhood subsequent to a meeting on March 25, 1975. In its amended complaint, Local 72 asserted that the meeting was held without any hearings and that on April 10, 1975, the United Brotherhood, by directive, ordered the following steps to be taken, effective May 1, 1975:

"(1) The District Council*fn1 is ordered dissolved;

(2) carpenters' Local Unions #72, #240, #502, #662 and #1508 are consolidated into one new carpenters' local union;

(3) industrial local unions #2407, #231, #687, and #2255 are consolidated into one new industrial local union;

(4) A 'pro tem' Executive Committee is established, effective immediately;

(5) a General Representative of the United Brotherhood is assigned to 'guide the newly formulated local unions and officers for a reasonable period to insure that the policies and objectives of the United Brotherhood and newly formed local unions are implemented';

(6) The business representatives and the business manager of the District Council are assigned as business representatives of the new carpenters' local union under the direction of the General Representative of the United Brotherhood...."

Local 72 has about 1,008 members. It claims to have assets of approximately $100,000 in its general fund and $35,000 in its contingency fund.*fn2 It complains that the changes ordered by the United Brotherhood will dilute the voting power of the members of Local 72 at the general convention, as well as within the new consolidated local. It further alleges that the merger of the locals will impair the vested rights of the members of Local 72 in that those members will be contributing a disproportionate share of the assets of the new consolidated local.*fn3 Local 72 characterizes the assignment of the "general representative" to aid the consolidated local as an imposition of a trusteeship.

The amended complaint alleges that the United Brotherhood's actions violate the union's constitution, the Constitution of the United States, and The Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (29 U.S.C. ยง 401, et seq.).

The United Brotherhood, in its motion to dissolve the temporary restraining order*fn4 and to dismiss the action, claimed that the court lacks personal and subject matter jurisdiction, that Local 72 failed to state a cause of action, and that it failed to exhaust its remedies within the union. Furthermore, the United Brotherhood claimed that the court should not grant a preliminary injunction because no irreparable harm would be caused to the plaintiffs by any of the defendant's actions and because "it cannot be said with clear and specific certainty that the plaintiff will prevail in this action." On June 18, 1975, after oral argument but ...


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