The opinion of the court was delivered by: Edelstein, District Judge:
This opinion emanates from the voluntary settlement in the
action commenced by plaintiff United States of America (the
"Government") against the defendants International Brotherhood
of Teamsters (the "IBT") and the IBT's General Executive Board
(the "GEB") embodied in the voluntary consent order entered
March 14, 1989 (the "Consent Decree"). The provisions in the
Consent Decree provided for three Court-appointed officials,
the Independent Administrator to oversee the remedial
provisions, the Investigations Officer to bring charges
against corrupt IBT members, and the Election Officer to
oversee the electoral process leading up to and including the
1991 election for International Officers (collectively, the
"Court Officers"). The goal of the Consent Decree is to rid
the IBT of the hideous influence of organized crime through
the election and prosecution provisions.
On March 19, 1991, the Government moved this Court for (i)
a declaration that the function of the International Union
nominating convention as set out in ¶ F.12.(D) of the Consent
Decree may not be altered except by compliance with ¶ L.17 of
the Consent Decree; and (ii) an order enjoining the IBT, as the
representative of the GEB, and its employees, members, agents,
attorneys and affiliates (including local unions, joint
councils, and area conferences [hereinafter the "subordinate
entities"]) from taking any action to alter the function of the
International Union nominating convention as set out in ¶
F.12.(D) of the Consent Decree. This Court held oral argument
on this motion on March 20, 1991, after which the parties
submitted proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law.
This dispute arises because the Government has reasons to
believe that constituencies of the IBT are planning for the
IBT convention delegates to "vote out" the Consent Decree,
more particularly, the provisions for direct rank and file
elections of International Officers. The Government contends
that with the Consent Decree's electoral provisions voted out,
the IBT would attempt to revert to its prior election process.
Thus, the convention delegates themselves elect the General
President at the convention, eliminating the rank and file
vote, and thereby disenfranchising the membership. The
Government seeks to prevent this situation. The Government
asks this Court to rule on the legal status of provisions of
the Consent Decree.
The validity of the Consent Decree's electoral changes to
the IBT constitution are no longer at issue. Accordingly, the
relevant ruling for this Court to make is a substantive
determination of the legal effect of the Consent Decree in the
event that the convention delegates vote against its
constitutional changes. In the alternative, this Court will
also rule on the Government's motion de novo.
The Consent Decree settled the litigation between the
Government and the IBT (the "underlying litigation"). As has
been discussed more fully in opinions of this Court and the
Court of Appeals this RICO litigation involved allegations of
a massive racketeering enterprise and conspiracy to
participate in that enterprise. See, e.g. United States v.
International Brotherhood of Teamsters, et al., 931 F.2d 177
(2d Cir. 1991) (Election Rules); United States v.
International Brotherhood of Teamsters, et al., 907 F.2d 277
(2d Cir. 1990) (All Writs Act injunction); United States v.
International Brotherhood of Teamsters, et al., 905 F.2d 610
(2d Cir. 1990) (Friedman & Hughes); United States v.
International Brotherhood of Teamsters, et al., 708 F. Supp. 1388
(S.D.N.Y. 1989) (Opinion denying motion to dismiss
complaint in underlying litigation).
The Consent Decree amended the electoral and disciplinary
provisions of the IBT constitution. By ¶ 9(a), the entire
Consent Decree immediately became part of the IBT constitution:
The IBT Constitution shall be deemed and hereby
is amended to incorporate and conform with all of
the terms set forth in the order.
Paragraph 9(b) further stated that the provisions
of the Consent Decree would formally be voted a
part of the IBT constitution by the delegates to
the 1991 IBT Convention.
By no later than the conclusion of the IBT
convention to be held in 1991, the IBT shall have
formally amended the IBT constitution to
incorporate and conform with all of the terms set
forth in this order by presenting said terms to
the delegates for a vote. If the IBT has not
formally so amended the IBT constitution by that
date, the Government retains the right to seek
any appropriate action, including enforcement of
this order, contempt, or reopening this
Among its substantive provisions, the Consent Decree amended
the IBT constitution's then existing procedure for electing
the General President and International Officers. Under the
prior system, officers of IBT subordinate entities had been
ex officio delegates to the IBT convention. At such a
convention, those delegates would directly elect the General
President and International Officers. The Consent Decree
created a three-step election process culminating in direct
rank and file secret ballot elections. First, the local unions
have been holding local secret ballot delegate elections during
the fall of 1990 and the spring of 1991. Second, these elected
delegates will attend the 1991 IBT national convention to be
held June 24-28 in Epcot Center, Florida (the "convention").
There, the delegates will vote (i) to approve the Consent
Decree's changes to the IBT constitution as provided by ¶ 9 and
¶ F.12.(D) of the Consent Decree, and (ii) to nominate
candidates for IBT International Officers. In the fall of 1991,
the IBT will hold a union-wide, direct, secret ballot election
of the rank and file for the International Officers.
Since the Consent Decree was executed on March 14, 1989, its
scope, terms, and meaning have been repeatedly challenged.
With respect to the disciplinary provisions of the Consent
Decree, the Court of Appeals and this Court have now
determined that the Investigations Officer and Independent
Administrator are standins for the General President and GEB,
who properly delegated their disciplinary power to those Court
Officers pursuant to Article XXVI, section 2 of the IBT
Constitution. United States v. International Brotherhood of
Teamsters, supra, 931 F.2d 177, 184; United States v.
International Brotherhood of Teamsters, supra, 905 F.2d at 622;
December 27, 1990 Opinion & Order, 754 F. Supp. 333, 337
(S.D.N.Y. 1990); September 18, 1990 Opinion & Order,
745 F. Supp. 189, 191-92 (S.D.N.Y. 1990); August 27, 1990 Opinion &
Order, 745 F. Supp. 908, 911 (S.D.N.Y. 1990); March 13, 1990
Opinion & Order, 743 F. Supp. 155, 159-60, aff'd 905 F.2d 610,
622; January 17, 1990 Opinion & Order, 728 F. Supp. 1032,
1048-57, aff'd 907 F.2d 277 (2d Cir. 1990); November 2, 1989
Memorandum & Order, 725 F. Supp. 162, 169 (S.D.N.Y. 1989); Joint
Council 73, et al. v. Carberry, et al., 741 F. Supp. 491, 493
(S.D.N.Y. 1990); Local 27 v. Carberry, et al., July 20, 1990 at
3-4, 1990 WL 108348 (S.D.N.Y. 1990).
The validity of the Consent Decree's electoral changes are
also settled. This Court and the Court of Appeals in turn have
held that the electoral changes were properly within the
purview of the General President and GEB and binding upon the
entire IBT. United States v. International
Brotherhood of Teamsters, supra, 931 F.2d 177 (1991). The scope
of the Election Officer's duties, October 18, 1989 Memorandum &
Order, 723 F. Supp. 203, stay and certification denied
728 F. Supp. 920 (S.D.N.Y. 1989); appeal dismissed, No. 89-6252 (2d
Cir. Dec. 13, 1989), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 110 S.Ct.
2618, 110 L.Ed.2d 639 (1990), aff'd, 931 F.2d 177, and
approved a comprehensive set of rules applicable to all facets
of the IBT that govern this historic election. July 10, 1990
Opinion & Order, 742 F. Supp. 94 (S.D.N.Y. 1990), aff'd,
931 F.2d 177.
The Consent Decree's constitutional changes are fully
effective and binding on the entire 1.7 million member IBT.
Challenges by subordinate entities and individual IBT members
to the validity of the disciplinary provisions and electoral
provisions have been repeatedly rejected by the Court of
Appeals and this Court. See, e.g., United States v.
International Brotherhood of Teamsters, supra, 905 F.2d 610,
aff'g March 13, 1990 Opinion & Order, supra, (challenges to
disciplinary powers of Court Officers rejected); United States
v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, supra, 931 F.2d 177,
aff'g July 10, 1990 Opinion & Order (challenges of electoral
process to subordinate entities rejected).
Paragraph L.17 of the Consent Decree, the future practices
provision, sets out the obligation of the parties not to alter
the understanding of both parties as to the terms of the
settlement. Paragraph L.17 states:
The parties intend the provisions set forth
herein to govern future IBT practices in those
areas. To the extent the IBT wishes to make any
changes, constitutional or otherwise, in those
provisions, the IBT shall give prior written
notice to the plaintiff, through the undersigned.
If the plaintiff then objects to the proposed
changes as inconsistent with the terms and
objectives of this order, the change shall not
occur; provided, however, that the IBT shall then
have the right to seek a determination from the
Court, of after the entry of judgment dismissing
this action, from this Court or any other federal
court of competent jurisdiction as to whether the
proposed change is consistent with the terms and
objectives set forth herein.
Paragraph L.17 has been interpreted as requiring approval of
any changes to the IBT constitution that would alter the
background understanding of the parties as to disciplinary or
[T]he IBT [must] refrain from any unilateral
changes, `constitutional or otherwise,' in the
broad areas covered by the Consent Decree.
Paragraph [L.]17 was obviously intended to
protect the background understanding of both
parties as to what existing rules, regulations,
and constitutional provisions would govern the
United States v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, supra,
905 F.2d at 620 (quoting March 13 Opinion & Order, supra, 743
F. Supp. at 163).
In the instant matter, this Court must consider (i) ¶ K.16,
the application provision of the Consent Decree, (ii) two
motions to intervene, (iii) the substantive legal status of the
delegates vote at the IBT convention, and (iv) the Government's
A. The Application Provision of the Consent Decree
As a threshold matter, the IBT argues that this Court should
not entertain the Government's motion or make any ruling
regarding the upcoming convention. The Government argues that
the IBT consented to this Court ruling on the instant motion
by way of ¶ K.16. I agree.
Paragraph K.16 authorized this Court to "entertain any
future applications" by the parties, which includes
interpretations and rulings relating to the Consent Decree.
Such rulings have been sought and issued numerous times over
the past two years. See October 18, 1989 Memorandum & Order,
supra, (interpreting ¶ F.12 to determine scope of duties of
Election Officer); November 2, 1989 Memorandum & Order, supra,
(interpreting ¶ D.5 to determine statute of limitations for
charges); November 16, 1989 Order, (interpreting ¶ F.12.(E) to
determine the scope of the Independent Administrator's right to
publish a monthly communication in The International Teamster);
December 12, 1989 Memorandum & Order, 726 F. Supp. 943 (S.D.N Y
1989), (interpreting ¶ E.10 to determine when collateral
lawsuits interfere with work of Court Officers); January 17,
1990 Opinion & Order, supra, (interpreting scope of
applications to Court under ¶ K.16; status of ¶ F.12 changes);
February 27, 1990 Memorandum & Order, 735 F. Supp. 502 (S.D.N Y
1990), (interpreting ¶ F.12.(E) to permit publication of names
of those charged in disciplinary proceedings in The
International Teamster); March 13, 1990 Opinion & Order, supra,
(determining Independent Administrator's power to interpret
disciplinary portions of IBT constitution by ¶ F.12.(A);
inability of IBT to interpret disciplinary provisions of IBT
constitution without complying with ¶ L.17); April 9, 1990
Memorandum & Order, 735 F. Supp. 519 (S.D.N.Y. 1990),
(interpreting "reasonable cause" requirement for sworn
statements set out at ¶ F.12.(C)(c) and (d)); July 10, 1990
Opinion & Order, supra, (interpreting ¶ F.12.(D) scope of
Election Officer duties; ¶ E.10 injunction); November 28, 1990
Memorandum & Order, 133 F.R.D. 99 (S.D.N.Y. 1990),
(interpreting cause requirement to take statements of IBT
agents at ¶ F.12.(C)(i)(d)).
The scope of K.16 is broad enough to warrant the court to
consider prospective matters that may threaten the letter,
spirit and intent of this Decree. The IBT's assertion that
this motion is speculative is merely a play on words. Further,
the IBT has specifically refused to deny the Government's
allegations. On March 20, 1991, I directly asked IBT General
Counsel Grady whether the IBT disputed the Government's
allegations. On behalf of the IBT, General Counsel Grady did
not deny those allegations. (Transcript, March 20, 1991 at
This matter would never even have to be addressed had the
IBT been candid and forthright and assured me that no such
plan was in place. The fact that the did not leads to ...