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FALCONE v. DANTINNE

August 2, 1968

James S. Falcone, Plaintiff
v.
Russell Dantinne, et al., Defendants


Davis, J.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: DAVIS

Before the Court is an action in accordance with the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, 29 U.S.C. Sec. 401 et seq., where the plaintiff seeks to permanently enjoin the defendants, all officers and representatives of Local 802, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers, from depriving him from participating in union meetings, running for union office, or any other rights which he may exercise as a member in good standing of the Union. *fn1"

 Finding of Fact

 1. Plaintiff is an employee of the Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company and has been a member of defendant Local Lodge 802, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Shipbuilders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers for a number of years (N.T. p. 108; Paragraph 5 Complaint).

 2. Defendant Local Lodge 802, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Shipbuilders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers (hereinafter referred to as "Union"), is a labor organization representing the employees of Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company for purposes of collective bargaining. Defendant Russell Dantinne is the President of the Union; defendant Joseph April is a Trustee of the Union, and defendant Philip News is Executive Secretary of the Union and acts as its Business Manager (Paragraph 3 Complaint; N.T., p. 8, 18; Plaintiff's Exhibit 2).

 3. Under date of January 18, 1967, charges within the Union were filed against the plaintiff by defendants Russell Dantinne and Joseph April (Plaintiff's Exhibit 2, Exhibit B).

 4. These charges were filed under and pursuant to the provisions of Article XVII of the Constitution of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Shipbuilders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers, which Article provides the grounds for charges against members and established the procedures to be followed when charges are filed (Defendant's Exhibit 2).

 5. The provisions of the Constitution which plaintiff was charged with prohibit:

 
"(e) engaging in any activity or course of conduct contrary or detrimental to the welfare or best interest of the International Brotherhood or of a subordinate body;
 
(k) engaging in or fomenting any acts or course of conduct which are inconsistent with the duties, obligations and fealty of the members of a trade union and which violate sound trade union principles of which constitute a breach of any existing collective bargaining agreement;
 
(m) threatening with violence or assaulting any union member or officer." (Defendant's Exhibit 2).

 6. The charges against plaintiff alleged the violation of the above mentioned provisions of Article XVII of the aforesaid Constitution and stated that plaintiff violated such provisions:

 
"On January 4, 1967, by urging and encouraging our members not to report to work on that date and by harassing, denying and threatening with violence Local Lodge officers in their efforts to assure no work stoppage while contract negotiations with Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company were in process. As a result of your activity and that of others, the outcome of negotiations was seriously jeopardized and over 1100 of our members lost a day's wages." (Defendant's Exhibit 1).

 7. These charges were sent to plaintiff by registered mail and he received them a day or so after January 18, 1967 (N.T., p. 103).

 8. Article XVII, Section 2(b) of the Constitution provides that after formal charges are filed the Local Lodge President will set up an informal hearing between the parties and "a sincere effort will be made to resolve the matter at this point." (Defendant's Exhibit 2, Article XVII, Section 2(b).)

 9. In accordance with the provisions of Article XVII, Section 2(b), an informal hearing was set for January 27, 1967. It was held in the presence of the Union's Executive Board (Plaintiff's Exhibit 2, Exhibit C), President Dantinne directed all Union officers to be present. (N.T. p. 20).

 10. Prior to the informal hearing, Mr. Russell Dantinne, Mr. Joseph April, Mr. Frank Brooks, Mr. Benny Morris and Mr. Philip News discussed, with one another, the alleged misconduct of the plaintiff. (N.T. p. 62).

 11. Prior to the informal hearing on January 27, 1967, Mr. Roosevelt Glass and Defendant Philip News, both of whom are Union officers, members of the Official Board and members of the Union Trial Body, discussed the plaintiff's alleged misconduct and stated that plaintiff had taken part in stopping people from going into the yard at Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company on January 4, 1967. (N.T. p. 64).

 12. At the informal hearing on January 27, 1967, Mr. Vincent Masciarelli appeared with plaintiff as plaintiff's personal representative pursuant to Article XVII, Section 4(c) of the Constitution of the Union and he communicated this fact to the Official Board. (N.T. pp. 102, 120).

 13. Plaintiff was advised of the informal hearing and was aware that its purpose was to try to resolve the charges against him. (N.T. p. 104).

 14. At the informal hearing on January 27, 1967, Benny Morris and Joseph April, both Union officials, appeared as witnesses against the plaintiff. (N.T. p. 119).

 15. Plaintiff was never informed prior to the informal hearing on January 27, 1967, that any witnesses against him would be presented at the time of the informal hearing.

 16. Plaintiff made no suggestion at the informal hearing to compromise the charges against him and in fact indicated no willingness to settle the charges (N.T. pp. 104-106).

 17. Since the charges were not settled at the informal hearing, a trial body was appointed by the Union's officers, excluding the two charging parties, pursuant to Article XVII, Section 3(a) of the Constitution, which provides:

 
"Section 3(a)-Local Lodges shall have jurisdiction to hear charges, through a trial body, involving their members or their officers, or members working or seeking work in their jurisdiction if the offense is there committed, subject to provisions of Section 3(b) of this Article. The trial body of the Local Lodge shall consist of a panel of three of the elected officers of such Lodge as decided by the elected officers. No charging or other directly involved party shall sit as a member of a trial body, and any member of a trial body may be challenged for cause and, if the trial body finds cause to exist, such member shall vacate his position and the President shall fill such vacancy by appointment. In the event such vacancy cannot be filled by a Local Lodge officer the Local Lodge shall elect from among the members of the Local Lodge to fill such vacancy." (Defendant's Exhibit 2).

 18. The trial body was picked by the Union's officers, except for the two charging parties, after the informal hearing. (N.T. pp. 14, 18, 19).

 19. Philip News, Executive Secretary of the Union, Roosevelt Glass, Inspector and Chief Steward of the Union, and Frank Brooks, Recording Secretary of the Union, were selected as members of the trial body.

 20. At no time did plaintiff ever challenge any member of the trial body for cause pursuant to his right to do so under the Constitution.

 21. By registered letter dated January 30, 1967, plaintiff was notified that a formal hearing would be held on the charges against him on February 22, 1967, at the Union's office (Plaintiff's Exhibit 2, Exhibit D; N.T. p. 110).

 22. Article XVII, Section 4, of the Constitution of the Union, provided, in regard to the conduct ...


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