The opinion of the court was delivered by: Glasser, District Judge.
This action was commenced on September 30, 1998, by the
plaintiff, United Derrickmen and Riggers Association, Local
Union No. 197 of the International Association of Bridge,
Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers, AFL-CIO ("Local 197"
or "plaintiff") against Local No. 1, Bricklayers and Allied
Craftworkers, AFL-CIO ("Local 1" or "defendant") for breach of
contract. Specifically, Local 197 alleges that Local 1 has
breached the Constitutions of the Building and Construction
Trades Department of the AFL-CIO ("BCTD") and the Building and
Construction Trades Council of Greater New York ("BCTC").
Additionally, Local 197 alleges that Local 1 has breached the
plans created by the BCTD and the BCTC for the voluntary
resolution of union jurisdictional disputes in the construction
industry. Plaintiff also alleges two state law claims for
tortious interference with prospective business and contractual
relations, claims which the defendant argues are preempted by
the National Labor Relations Act.
Local 197 moves for partial summary judgment in its favor
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 on the First through Fourth claims
for relief alleged in the Complaint, which constitute its breach
of contract claims. It seeks to enjoin Local 1 from refusing to
honor its contractual obligations and ordering Local 1 to submit
to the BCTD and BCTC jurisdictional dispute plans, and to
reaffiliate with the BCTC, from which Local 1 withdrew in
November 1996. Local 1 has cross moved for summary judgment to
dismiss the plaintiffs suit in its entirety.
Plaintiff Local 197 and defendant Local 1 are both
unincorporated associations operating as labor organizations in
the greater New York Metropolitan area representing employees in
the construction industry. Defendant Local 1 is affiliated with
the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, AFL-CIO. Plaintiff
Local 197 is affiliated with the Bridge, Structural and
Ornamental Iron Workers, AFL-CIO.
The Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New
York ("BCTC") is an association of affiliated construction
trades unions with craft jurisdiction within the City of New
York. The Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL
— CIO ("BCTD") is an association of construction trades unions
affiliated with the AFL-CIO on a national and international
The BCTD, in conjunction with several multi-employer
associations or unionized contractors employing members of the
AFL-CIO affiliated construction unions, has designed the "Plan
for the Settlement of Jurisdictional Disputes in the
Construction Industry" ("the National Plan"). The National Plan
provides a procedure for the resolution of jurisdictional
disputes between affiliated national and international unions
and their local construction unions affiliated with the BCTD.
The BCTC, in conjunction with the Building Trades Employers'
Association have designed and administered the "New York Plan
for the Settlement of Jurisdictional Disputes" ("the New York
Plan"). The New York Plan provides the procedure for the
resolution of jurisdictional disputes on a local level between
BCTC affiliates. Local 197 is affiliated with the BCTC. Local 1
was affiliated with the BCTC, but withdrew its affiliation in
The relevant industry involves the setting or installation of
stone on buildings and other construction projects in the
metropolitan New York area. The work is performed by two groups
of construction employees: the setters who are the skilled
journeymen or craftworkers responsible for the installation or
setting of the stone product ("the Journeymen"), and the support
personnel who bring the necessary materials to the proper place
and assist the Journeymen in other ways ("Support Persons").
Since the early 1990s, Bricklayers local unions have
represented the Journeymen. Local 1 in particular has
represented Journeymen since the former stone setters local
union was merged into it in 1994. Until 1996, plaintiff Local
197 had generally represented the Support Persons of stone
setters in this area.
A similar pattern of journeymen and support personnel
characterizes the installation of other masonry products. In
each instance a Bricklayers' local union represents the
journeymen or craftsmen. In the installation of brick and block,
the support personnel are represented by local unions known as
Mason Tender locals, affiliated with the Laborers International
Union of North America. In the installation of tile, marble, and
terrazzo, the support personnel are represented by another local
of the Bricklayers International.
B. Local 1's Resignation from the BCTC
According to the defendant, when Local 1 assumed jurisdiction
over stone setters in 1994, its officers became aware that stone
setters' jobs were in decline. They believed that this was due
to plaintiffs representation of the setters' support personnel
and felt that Local 197's contractual manning requirements and
wage benefit package were excessive.
Local 1 and the Bricklayers International Union concluded
that, in order to protect and preserve the work opportunities of
Local 1's own stone setter members, the Local established a
stone tender classification to serve as support personnel for
stone setters. They did so, despite knowing that labor
organizations usually respect the prior jurisdiction enjoyed by
From 1980 to 1993, the Bricklayers' New York local unions were
not part of the New York BCTC. In 1993, upon the creation of
Local 1 through the merger of the seven pre-existing Bricklayer
locals, Local 1 reaffiliated with the BCTC. This comported with
the national pattern in which many locals of all building trades
Internationals either never joined the Local Councils in their
area, or resigned and reaffiliated, often more than once.
The New York BCTC was one of the two local Building and
Construction Trades Councils nationally to have established its
own Jurisdictional Disputes Plan (the New York Plan) to resolve
jurisdictional disputes among its member local unions. Under the
practice and precedents of the New York Plan, the only material
factor was — and is — which union occupied the "turf" first.
Whether that union's actions were imposing unjustified costs
upon contractors, is essentially irrelevant. Knowing that an
adjudication under the New York Plan was almost certain to
result in a ruling against them in any dispute with Local 197
over the support personnel for stone setters, in November 1996,
Local 1 withdrew from the BCTC and, therefore, from BCTC's New
York Plan. It then commenced recruiting and training stone
tenders and signing collective bargaining agreements with stone
C. The Position of the Parties
In support of its case, Local 197 relies on the BCTD's
Constitutional requirements that (a) local unions affiliate with
local BCTCs; (b) local unions submit jurisdictional disputes to
the National Plan for resolution; and (c) there is a general
obligation to adhere to the principles enunciated in the BCTD
Constitution to organize tradesmen on "traditional trade or
craft lines" and to protect established trade jurisdiction as
historically granted and exercised by the BCTD affiliates. Local
197 also relies on the National Plan provision requiring
submission in the "first instance" to a local jurisdictional
plan of jurisdictional disputes (Exhibit "F" National Plan, Art.
VIII, p. 25) as well as the National Plan's requirement that
affiliates seek agreement by their employers to submit to the
plans (Id. at Art. II, pp. 1415).
Local 197 further relies on the BCTC Constitutional
requirement that local unions in the New York area aligned with
BCTD affiliate with their local council and that they contain
provisions in their collective bargaining agreements that
signatory employers agree to submit to the New York Plan.
Finally, Local 197 relies on the New York Plan provisions that
govern the procedures for submission of disputes, the issuing of
awards and the precedential effect of such awards. Additionally,
the New York Plan prevents affiliates from entering into any
agreements inconsistent with the awards and procedures of the
In response, Local 1 argues that none of the documents relied
upon by the plaintiff give rise to rights which this Court can
enforce. It asserts that nothing in the Constitution of the New
York BCTC prohibits a member union from resigning its membership
and that local unions of the Bricklayers International, and
other Internationals as well, have resigned from the BCTC,
reaffiliated, and withdrawn again.
Because it withdrew from the BCTC, Local 1 argues it is not
subject to the New York Plan, and that nothing in the Plan
purports to subject a labor organization that is a non-member of
the BCTC to its provisions. At the time of Local 1's
resignation, there was no outstanding New York Plan award
against it specifically relating to the subject matter of this
lawsuit, nor was there any pending complaint against it under
the New York Plan.
With respect to the National Plan, Local 1 argues that it may
be invoked only by National or International unions, and then
only when the contractor whose job assignment is the source of
the jurisdictional dispute has stipulated to the National Plan.
Local 1's signatory contractors to the stone setter-stone tender
agreement have not stipulated to the National Plan, even though
the Plan provides that local unions are to secure written assent
to the Plan by their signatory employers. Id. at Art. II, Sec.
1(a), pp. 14-15. Therefore, defendant argues, the National Plan
is unavailing to resolve the jurisdictional disputes between
plaintiff and defendant.
Defendant contends that the proper means to resolve this
dispute is through the National Labor Relations Act, which
provides a remedy for this type of situation. When a union
initiates, or even threatens, economic action in connection with
a jurisdictional dispute, an aggrieved party may file an unfair
labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board.
The Board must act quickly and will typically seek a Federal
Court injunction under Section 10 of the Act, 29 U.S.C. § 160,
within several days. Upon securing
that injunctive order, it then schedules a jurisdictional
dispute hearing under Section 10(k) of the Act.
29 U.S.C. § 160(k).
According to Local 1, after its stone tenders began serving as
support personnel for stone setters, Local 197 threatened
economic action on various construction projects where stone
tenders were working. The contractors filed unfair labor
practice charges and the NLRB obtained injunction orders and
scheduled Section 10(k) hearings. Local 197 then withdrew its
pickets or threats and agreed not ...