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FELTON v. ULLMAN

January 27, 1986

DANNY FELTON and MELVIN WADDY, Plaintiffs, against ARTHUR ULLMAN, individually and as Acting President of NEW YORK LETTER CARRIERS, BRANCH 36, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LETTER CARRIERS; JOSEPH S. GIORDANO; NEW YORK LETTER CARRIERS BRANCH 36, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LETTER CARRIERS; VINCENT J. SOMBROTTO; and the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LETTER CARRIERS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendants


The opinion of the court was delivered by: CONNER

OPINION AND ORDER

CONNER, D. J.:

Plaintiffs Danny Felton ("Felton") and Melvin Waddy brought this action under section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185(a) (1982). They seek a declaratory judgment that Felton is the President of New York Letter Carriers Branch 36 ("Branch 36"), an injunction enjoining defendant Arthur Ullman from holding the office of President of Branch 36, and an injunction enjoining Branch 36 from holding any further election of officers until Felton has been declared President of Branch 36.

 This matter is now before the Court on the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment on a statement of agreed facts. For the reasons stated below, defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted, and plaintiffs' motion is denied.

 Background

 In order to render the issues before the Court understandable, it is necessary to set forth some of the background of this case. Branch 36 is a labor organization and collective bargaining agent for some 9,000 letter carriers in Manhattan and the Bronx. Statement of Agreed Facts P4 [hereinafter cited as "SAF"]. It is a local unit of the National Association of Letter Carriers ("NALC"), which represents approximately 200,000 mail delivery employees. Id.

 In October 1985, Joseph S. Giordano ("Giordano") resigned as President of Branch 36, and pursuant to article II, section 3 of the Branch 36 By-Laws, Executive Vice President Arthur Ullman was installed as Giordano's successor. Id. P2. Article II, section 3 provides:

 In the event of death, resignation, impeachment or disability of the President, the line of succession shall be as follows: Executive Vice President; Vice President; Recording Secretary; Financial Secretary-Treasurer.

 Joint Exh. A at 1; SAF P6.

 Plaintiff Danny Felton is the Vice President of Branch 36, and thus, under article II, section 3, he was second in the line of succession when Giordano resigned. He contends, however, that he should have been first in the line of succession because the provisions of article II, section 3 are inconsistent with the NALC Constitution. Article XV of the NALC Constitution expressly states that Branches may not adopt by-laws that are inconsistent with the NALC Constitution:

 Each Branch or State Association may make, alter, or rescind such by-laws, rules, and regulations from time to time as may be deemed most expedient, providing they do not in any way conflict with this constitution.

 Joint Exh. B at 52; SAF P10 (emphasis added).

 Felton argues that the line of succession set out in article II, section 3 is inconsistent with the NALC Constitution because the NALC Constitution does not recognize an office of Executive Vice President. In support of his argument, Felton points to the NALC Constitution for the Government of Subordinate and Federal Branches. Article IV, section 1 of that document provides:

 The offices of the Branch shall be a President, Vice-President, Recording Secretary, Treasurer, Sergeant-at-Arms, a Health Benefits Representative, and a Board of Trustees ...


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