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PLENTTY v. LABORERS' INTL. UNION OF NORTH AMERICA

July 22, 1969

John Plentty, Plaintiff
v.
Laborers' International Union of North America, Respondent


Wood, D.J.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: WOOD

WOOD, D.J.:

 Findings of Fact

 1. John Plentty, the plaintiff in this action, is a member in good standing of Local 332 of Laborers' International Union of North America. Local 332 represents approximately 3,800 members (N.T. 12).

 2. On June 19, 1967, Mr. Plentty was duly elected as the Secretary-Treasurer of Local 332 by a secret ballot of the membership (N.T. 14).

 3. On July 8, 1968, Joseph Moreschi, the General President of Laborers' International, sent a letter addressed to Local 332, its officers and members, stating that he had received complaints and reports that Local 332 was being operated in a manner not in accordance with the Union Constitution. Mr. Moreschi then invoked his powers as President under Article IX, Section 6 of the Union Constitution to investigate the situation. The Harrisburg Regional Office of the International was designated to perform the investigation, and the local officers and members were directed to cooperate. (Ex. R-2)

 4. Also on July 8, 1968, President Moreschi sent a letter to Dominic Pelusi, the Regional Manager of the Harrisburg Regional Office, appointing him as his deputy for the purpose of investigation. (Ex. R-1)

 5. On or about July 24, 1968, the Harrisburg Regional Office convened a meeting of the Executive Board of Local 332 at which the Regional Manager, Mr. Pelusi, and the International Staff Representative Willard Harper were present, and at which the affairs of the Local were discussed generally. (N.T. 19-25)

 6. Between July 24, 1968 and November 7, 1968, when the trusteeship was imposed, Mr. Harper spent time investigating the affairs of the Local and conversing with its members. (N.T. 26-7)

 7. Article IX, Section 7 of the Constitution of Laborers' International Union of North America, which was in effect at the time of the events involved, states in relevant part that:

 
"When the General President finds, in his opinion, that action by him is necessary for the purpose of correcting corruption or financial malpractice, assuring the performance of collective bargaining agreements or other duties of a bargaining representative, restoring democratic procedures or otherwise carry out the legitimate objects of such Subordinate Body or the International Union, or to protect the organization as an institution, he may impose and establish a trusteeship over such Subordinate Body and direct the manner in which the affairs and business of such Subordinate Body are to be conducted; during the period of such trusteeship, all the officers of the Subordinate Body are relieved of their particular trust. The Subordinate Body and the officers and members thereof shall cooperate with the trustee designated by the General President, in order that the purposes of the trusteeship may be accomplished and the autonomy of the Subordinate Body restored as soon as possible. All the officers, officials, employees or members shall turn over to the trustee, all monies, books, papers, paraphernalia or other property of the Subordinate Body in their custody, possession or control. . . .

 8. On November 7, 1968, General President Moreschi sent the following letter to Local 332 and its members. (Ex. P-3)

 
"Local Union 332, Its Officers and Members
 
1350 Ridge Avenue
 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19123
 
Dear Sirs and Brothers:
 
As you know, I was previously made aware of complaints indicating that the affairs of the Local Union had not been conducted in a proper constitutional manner, as a result of which, on July 8, 1968, I officially advised you that pursuant to the authority vested in me under Article IX, Section 6 of the International Union Constitution, that a complete and thorough investigation of the affairs of the Local Union would be required.
 
I have since been provided with additional complaints and a report on the results of the investigation. Based thereon, and after carefully considering all of the conditions existing within Local Union 332, and particularly because of the manner in which the affairs of the Local Union have been conducted, I find it necessary to invoke my constitutional power as General President of the International Union, under Article IX, Section 7 of the International Union Constitution, in order to protect and preserve the welfare ...

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