United States District Court, W.D. New York
Paul J. Murphy, Plaintiff,
Cascades Containerboard Packaging, Defendant.
DECISION AND ORDER
LAWRENCE J. VILARDO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
March 23, 2018, the plaintiff, Paul J. Murphy, Regional
Director of the Third Region of the National Labor Relations
Board (“NLRB”), filed this action on behalf of
the NLRB seeking a preliminary injunction under § 10(j)
of the National Labor Relations Act (“the Act”),
29 U.S.C. § 160(j). Docket Item 1. The NLRB also moved
for an expedited hearing and asked this Court to issue the
injunction on the basis of affidavits and documentary
evidence. Docket Items 2 and 3. The defendant, Cascades
Containerboard Packaging - Lancaster, a division of Cascades
New York, Inc. (“Cascades”), replied, Docket Item
9, and on April 11, 2018, a hearing was held. The Court
reserved decision and asked the parties for additional
submissions. Docket Item 10. Those submissions have now been
filed. Docket Items 15 and 18.
2004, Cascades has recognized the Graphic Communications
Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (the
“union”), Local 27 (“Local 27”), as
the bargaining representative of Cascades' employees. In
2012, Local 27 suffered financial problems when a plant
employing many of its members closed, and the union asked
union Local 503-M (“Local 503”) to accept the
“administrative transfer” of Local 27. But after
performing a due diligence review, Local 503 decided that it
could not accept the transfer until Local 27 resolved its
result, in September 2012, the union placed Local 27 in
trusteeship, with the Local 503 president as trustee. The
trusteeship lasted more than four-and-a-half years-until
April 2017-when the union terminated the trusteeship and
finalized the administrative transfer. According to Local
503, its president notified Cascades about the administrative
transfer in a meeting at about that time.
meantime, in October 2016, Cascades negotiated a four-year
collective-bargaining agreement with the Local 27 trustee. By
all accounts, labor-management relations went smoothly until
about a year ago. But in July 2017, when Local 503 asked
Cascades to remit dues payments to Local 503 and filed
grievances on behalf of four Cascades employees, Cascades
refused both to recognize Local 503 as the employees'
representative and to arbitrate the grievances. And so Local
503 brought an action in this Court, 17-CV-06605 (Telesca,
J.), seeking to compel Cascades to arbitrate.
Telesca denied the motion for a preliminary injunction in
December 2017. A little over three months later, and eight
months after the problems between Cascades and Local 503
first surfaced, the NLRB stepped in. It sought injunctive
relief by bringing the case at bar, and it issued a
“Complaint and Notice of Hearing” before an
administrative law judge to decide whether Cascades did, in
fact, engage in unfair labor practices. That NLRB hearing was
held in April and May of this year, post-hearing briefs have
now been filed, and the matter is ripe for a decision by
Administrative Law Judge Kimberley Sorg-Graves.
matter at bar, Local 503 appeared as amicus curiae and asked
this Court to consolidate its action before Judge Telesca
with this case. Cascades opposed that motion. Docket Item 16.
Because the two cases are related, interests of efficiency
cut in favor of consolidation. Therefore, Local 503's
request is granted, and 17-cv-6605 (MAT) is consolidated with
18-cv-00375 (LJV) under the latter docket number.
conceptually similar, the standard for analyzing a
preliminary injunction generally and a preliminary injunction
under § 10(j) differ slightly. Kreisberg v. Health
Bridge Mgmt, LLC., 732 F.3d 131, 141 (2d Cir. 2013). The
“two-prong standard for § 10(j) injunctive relief
is well established.” Id. The Court must find
reasonable cause that an unfair labor practice has been
committed and also must find the requested relief to be
“just and proper.” Id. Reasonable cause
means what it says: that there is reasonable evidence
supporting the conclusion that an unfair labor practice
occurred. A final determination on the unfair labor practice,
however, is not necessary. Id.
relief under § 10(j) is just and proper when it is
necessary to prevent irreparable harm or to preserve the
status quo.” Hoffman ex rel. NLRB v. Inn Credible
Caterers, Ltd., 247 F.3d 360, 368 (2d Cir. 2001). This
standard reflects the principles that govern injunctive
relief generally, but with a special gloss-the § 10(j)
standard must be applied to “further the policies of
the Act”. Id. (internal citation omitted). And
the status quo that must be preserved is what existed before
the employer's unfair labor practice. Id.
the NLRB, now joined by Local 503, argues that two unfair
labor practices, in violation of §§ 8(a)(1) and
8(a)(5) of the Act, justify the injunction: (1) Cascades'
failure to recognize Local 503, and (2) Cascades'
unilateral modification of the collective bargaining
agreement. The NLRB and Local 503 assert that these two
actions will result in irreparable harm to the union.
Local 503 is, in fact, the official bargaining unit for the
employees is part and parcel of the decision the ALJ
Sorg-Graves will make. But at this phase, the Court need only
find reasonable cause to believe that the failure to
recognize and arbitrate with Local 503 is an unfair labor
practice. According to the evidence submitted by the NLRB,
there seems to be sufficient similarity between Local 503 and
Local 27-the members have the same stewards, maintain the
same grievance processes, and have the same ...