I believe, however, that the moving defendant's third point is well taken. It is my opinion that under the facts of this case the labor union (not itself an employer) cannot be made a party for injunctive relief against it.
The relevant provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act are as follows:
Section 3, 29 U.S.C.A. § 203:
(a) 'Person' means an individual, partnership, association, corporation, business trust, legal representative, or any organized group of persons.
* * *
"(d) 'Employer' includes any person acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer in relation to an employee but shall not include the United States or any State or political subdivision of a State, or any labor organization (other than when acting as an employer), or anyone acting in the capacity of officer or agent of such labor organization."
Section 15, "Prohibited acts" (29 U.S.C.A. § 215):
"(a) After the expiration of one hundred and twenty days from the date of enactment of sections 201-219 of this title, it shall be unlawful for any person --
"(1) to transport, offer for transportation, ship, deliver, or sell in commerce, or to ship, deliver, or sell with knowledge that shipment or delivery or sale thereof in commerce is intended, any goods in the production of which any employee was employed in violation of section 206 or section 207, or in violation of any regulation or order of the Administrator issued under section 214; except that no provision of this chapter shall impose any liability upon any common carrier for the transportation in commerce in the regular course of its business of any goods not produced by such common carrier, and no provision of this chapter shall excuse any common carrier from its obligation to accept any goods for transportation;
"(2) to violate any of the provisions of section 206 or section 207, or any of the provisions of any regulation or order of the Administrator issued under section 214;
"(3) to discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any employee because such employee has filed any complaint or instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to sections 201-219 of this title, or has testified or is about to testify in any such proceeding, or has served or is about to serve on an industry committee;
"(4) to violate any of the provisions of section 212;
"(5) to violate any of the provisions of section 211(c), or to make any statement, report, or record filed or kept pursuant to the provisions of such section or of any regulation or order thereunder, knowing such statement, report, or record to be false in a material respect.
"(b) For the purposes of subsection (a)(1) proof that any employee was employed in any place of employment where goods shipped or sold in commerce were produced, within ninety days prior to the removal of the goods from such place of employment, shall be prima facie evidence that such employee was engaged in the production of such goods. June 25, 1938, c. 676, § 15, 52 Stat. 1068."
Section 16, "Penalties" (29 U.S.C.A. § 216), provides in subdivision (a) for criminal penalties for "* * * any person who willfully violates any of the provisions of section 15  * * *."
Section 16(b) provides for civil liability for liquidated damages in amount equal to the proper double wages against "* * * any employer who violates the provisions * * *" relating to minimum wages and maximum hours.
Section 17, 29 U.S.C.A. § 217, confers jurisdiction upon the Federal district courts to restrain violations of Section 15.
It is the plaintiff's contention that since, under Section 3(a), a "person" may be "any organized group of persons", that the Union, as an "organized group of persons", is subject to the relief available under the Act, even though it is not an employer -- because the Act itself, after defining "person", continues in Section 3(d) to define the term "employer" as "any person".
Such a contention is in patent disregard of the language of the Act. Section 3(d), in defining "employer", states: "'Employer' includes any person acting directly or indirectly in the interests of an employer in relation to an employee but shall not include * * * any labor organization (other than when acting as an employer), or anyone acting in the capacity of officer or agent of such labor organization." Here the Union was not acting as an "employer" and the acts performed by the defendant officers, agents, etc., of the Union were performed in their capacity of "officer or agent" of the Union. Further, the word "person" as used in Section 15 refers to "employer" violators.
The Act was never intended to enlarge the jurisdiction of this Court to give an employee relief therein against "persons" not specified in Section 15. If the employee has any grievance against such other "person" he may avail himself of the proper tribunal to obtain relief.
It may further be noted that Section 16(b) of the Act, dealing with civil liability of violators, specifically provides for "any employer who violates * * *" etc. This emphasizes the Congressional intent to limit civil remedies against employers only.
For the reasons stated, the complaint is therefore dismissed as to the Union, its officers, agents and members.
© 1992-2004 VersusLaw Inc.