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INTERNATIONAL UNION OF BRICKLAYERS v. HUDSON VALLE

June 21, 1994

INTERNATIONAL UNION OF BRICKLAYERS AND ALLIED CRAFTSMEN LOCAL NO. 5, EMIL A. PARIETTI, JR. and PHILIP MOSCA, as Trustees of the Hudson Valley District Council Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen Joint Benefit Funds, Plaintiffs,
v.
HUDSON VALLEY DISTRICT COUNCIL BRICKLAYERS AND ALLIED CRAFTSMEN JOINT BENEFIT FUNDS, ANDREW GALLANTE, SR., MICHAEL CAVALLARO, SALVATORE MAURO and RODERICK CIFERRI III, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: VINCENT L. BRODERICK

 VINCENT L. BRODERICK, U.S.D.J.

 I

 This case presents the question of the extent to which international trade unions having authority over locals under the applicable union constitutions may determine the identity of union representatives on joint employer-union employee benefit funds under the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947 ("Taft-Hartley Act"), 29 U.S.C. 185, 186 and ERISA, 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq.

 The current dispute arises out of a conflict concerning the conditions under which the designee of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen ("International Union,") can displace previously appointed union-appointed trustees of employee benefit (ERISA) funds within territory covered by a newly created Local which replaces locals formerly part of the Hudson Valley District Council of the union.

 II

 The International Union, like many labor organizations, has concentrated ultimate authority at the International Union level in order to coordinate bargaining demands, resist takeovers from hostile groups representing employers or political factions, and bargain with other unions concerning jurisdictional matters - a particularly significant matter in the construction industry. See authorities cited, Trustees of Hudson Valley District Council of Bricklayers v. UW Marx, 851 F. Supp. 133, 1994 WL 174739, 1994 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5839 (S.D.N.Y. May 3, 1994).

 So long as union members control a labor organization as required by the Bill of Rights of Members of Labor Organizations, 29 U.S.C. 411 - 415, the internal structure of the union may be established by the organization itself. *fn1" Section 301 of the Taft-Hartley Act (29 U.S.C. 185) permits enforcement of agreements between labor organizations as well as between such organizations and employers. See Wooddell v. IBEW, 502 U.S. 93, 112 S. Ct. 494, 116 L. Ed. 2d 419 (1991); Shea v. McCarthy, 953 F.2d 29 (2d Cir. 1992).

 The International Union Constitution, which the parties do not question is binding on all local entities within the union provides:

 
The Constitution and By-Laws and all actions of Local Unions shall be in conformity with the IU [International Union] Constitution, all rules, regulations and Codes promulgated thereunder, and all decisions, rulings and orders issued by the IU Executive Board.

 Pursuant to that authority, on March 31, 1994 the International Union Executive Board directed the merger of all local union entities within the scope of the Hudson Valley District Council into a new Local 5 and appointed plaintiff Emil Parietti, Jr. its President. That directive provided:

 
The principal officer of the new Local 5 will be the President, who shall have the authority to make all necessary appointments to be set forth in the Local Constitution and By-Laws, including the appointment of trustees to all trust funds in which members of Local 5 participate. The IU Executive Board appoints Emil Parietti, Jr., currently the ...

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