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TILE, MARBLE, TERRAZZO, FINISHERS INTL. UNION v. G

November 20, 1985

TILE, MARBLE, TERRAZZO, FINISHERS, SHOP WORKERS, GRANITE CUTTERS INTERNATIONAL UNION, AFL-CIO, Plaintiff, against GRANITE CUTTERS AND MARBLE SETTERS AND HANDLERS OF GREATER NEW YORK AND VICINITY, LOCAL 106, ROCCO BARONE, LOUIS NAPPO, MICHAEL SCORCIA, HARVEY CONSOR and ANTHONY MAGRONE, Defendants


The opinion of the court was delivered by: MCLAUGHLIN

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

McLAUGHLIN, District Judge.

The plaintiff in this case is an international union that seeks an injunction enforcing a trusteeship it imposed on the defendant local union. I have read the briefs and affidavits submitted by both sides, and after considering the testimony at the hearing of October 10, 1985, I have reached the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

 Findings of Fact

 1. This Court has jurisdiction over this dispute under section 301 of the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947, 29 U.S.C. § 185.

 2. The plaintiff, Tile, Marble, Terrazzo, Finishers, Shop Workers, Granite Cutters International Union, AFL-CIO ("the International"), is an unincorporated labor organization and was at least at one point the parent organization of the defendant.

 3. Defendant Granite Cutters and Marble Setters and Handlers of Greater New York and Vicinity, Local 106 ("Local 106") is a labor union which represented employees in the craft of cemetary monument cutters and setters in the New York metropolitan area. The following officers of Local 106 are also defendants in this action: Louis Nappo, President; Rocco Barone, Treasurer; Michael Scorcia, Vice President; Harvey Consor, Recording Secretary; and Anthony Magrone, Business Agent. The defendant Local contends that it voted in March 1984 to disaffiliate from the plaintiff International, and that on August 2, 1985 its members voted to merge into Local 282, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America ("Local 282").

 4. The defendant Local claims that it notified the International of the 1984 disaffiliation vote in March of that year. The International contends that it did not receive that notification, and did not see a copy of the letter dated March 16, 1984 until July 8, 1985.

 5. The parties agree that in April 1984, Local 106 ceased paying per capita taxes to the International. The per capita tax must be paid in order for the Local members to be eligible for death benefits provided by the International Union. The Local contends that when it submitted this final payment, which covered the period through February 1984, it again informed the International of Local 106's decision to disaffiliate.

 6. During the spring of 1985, the leadership of Local 106 met several times with Robert A. Sasso, President of Teamsters Local 282. The International learned of the Local's desire to become affiliated with Local 282. On July 16, 1985, the plaintiff International placed the defendant Local under a temporary trusteeship. The letter from the president of the International cited three reasons for imposing the trusteeship. It alleged that Local 106 had failed to pay per capita taxes since February 1984. It further alleged that the Local had not answered the International's letter of April 22, 1985, which had requested information about the collective bargaining agreements of the Local. Finally, the International asserted that on July 8, 1985 it had received Local 106's notification dated March 16, 1984 that the Local membership had voted to disaffiliate from the International.

 7. Plaintiff contended at the hearing and in its memorandum filed the day before the hearing that the trusteeship was imposed not to prevent the disaffiliation, but rather to ensure that the members were fully informed about the pros and cons of disaffiliation before voting on the proposed merger with Teamsters Local 282. I find, however, that this is merely an after-the-fact rationalization for the International's action. In various documents discussing the trusteeship -- including the letter imposing it, other letters sent to various union personnel, the LM-15 form submitted to the Department of Labor, and the initial brief filed in this Court -- not once did the International mention this concern with the democracy of union procedures. I find that the third reason for the imposition of the trusteeship was in fact to prevent disaffiliation, and that the concern with disseminating information to the members before the vote is, as defendants phrase it, a "litigation-related afterthought." Defendant's Post-Hearing Memorandum at 3.

 8. Article VII of the International constitution governs the imposition of trusteeships on locals. It provides that the General President

 
may file charges against any officer or member with the General Executive Council for hearing, or appoint a temporary trustee to take charge and control of the affairs of such subordinate body provided, however, that prior to the appointment of such trustee he shall cause to be issued a notice setting a time and place for hearing for the purpose of determining whether such temporary trustee shall be appointed, but provided further, however, that where in the judgment of the General President, Secretary - Treasurer, an emergency situation exists within the subordinate body, a temporary trustee may be appointed prior to such hearing, but such hearing shall then commence within 30 days and a decision made within 60 days after the appointment of such temporary trustee.

 The International notified the members of Local 106 by a letter dated July 29, 1985 that a hearing would be held on August 13, 1985. The notice stated that the hearing would be held at 7902 Metropolitan Avenue, Middle Village, Queens, at 8:00 p.m. All interested parties were invited to participate. The International alleges that this hearing took place on August 13, 1985 and that the Hearing Officer ...


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