pending the filing of charges and their disposition, he can assume direct control over the Local or District Lodge whenever he believes the Local or District Lodge is violating the constitution or jeopardizing the welfare of the membership. Also, with the approval of the Council, the President may revoke the charter of the Local or District Lodge if either of these organizations is found guilty of a constitutional violation (Art. VI, Sec. 5).
While the trustees of the Local do have charge of its property, the trustees are nonetheless still liable to the Grand Lodge, consisting of the Council and representation of Local Lodges, for all funds and other property under the trustees' control (Art. C, Sec. 13).
The constitution also provides for control of funds and property by the International in case of a revocation of the Local's charter. If the Local is not reopened within six months from the date of the initial revocation, the Local's property becomes the property of the International (Art. D, Sec. 12).
To properly serve its members, the Local or District Lodges establish business representatives who are controlled and supervised by the President (Art. XI, Sec. 2). The constitution further requires that these business representatives file financial and activity reports with the President (Art. XI, Sec. 5).
The constitution also requires the Financial Secretary of the Local to submit a monthly report to the International detailing the number of members of the Local, any additions or subtractions to this membership, a list of individuals expelled and applications rejected, and the reasons therefor. The Financial Secretary must also remit monthly per capita taxes called for in the monthly report (Art. C, Sec. 4).
Finances. The General Secretary-Treasurer of the Council has the authority to audit the books of any Local or District Lodge whenever he believes an audit is advisable; the refusal to comply with such an audit is punishable by suspension or expulsion. (Art. VII, Sec. 5). The International is additionally involved in the finances of the Local and District Lodge by assuming the cost of the bonding of any officer in these subordinate organizations. (Art. VII, Sec. 6).
With respect to the management, investment, and disbursement of the Local's funds and property, the constitution dictates to the Local specifically how these functions must be executed. (Art. D, Sec. 9). This section also authorizes the International to undertake protective action in the presence of "expenditures or contemplated expenditures in violation of this Section."
External Affairs. The most prized collective bargaining cudgel, the strike, is held solely in the hands of the International. Only the President, in certain emergency situations, and the Council at all other times may authorize a strike action. Any violations of this provision will result in the violators being deprived of strike benefits and financial aid during the controversy (Art. XVIII, Sec. 1). Once an authorized strike has begun, it is again only the International, in the form of the Council, that can terminate a strike. (Art. XVIII, Sec. 4).
Pension Plans. Grand Lodge officers receive a pension that is administered by the President, General Secretary-Treasurer and a General Vice-President (Art. XIV, Sec. 2) and is funded by periodic contributions as the "Council deems appropriate." (Art. XIV, Sec. 9).
The pension plan for the business representatives is also administered by the above officers (Art. XV, Sec. 2), but is funded not only by the Grand Lodge but also by the Local and District Lodges (Art. XV, Sec. 9).
Officers of the Local and District Lodges are also covered by a pension plan, again funded by the Local and District Lodges irrespective of whether its officers are eligible for a pension (Art. XVI, Sec. 9), and administered not by Local officials but by the International in the form of the President, General Secretary Treasurer and General Vice-President. (Art. XVI, Sec. 2).
Disciplinary Action. The constitution not only fully defines what constitutes improper conduct on the part of the Local and District Lodge (Art. L, Sec. 1), the officers and representatives (Art. L, Sec. 2), and the individual members (Art. L, Sec. 3), but also the procedures to be followed in processing these violations (Art. L, Secs. 5, 6, 7).
Relationship of District Lodge and Local. Finally, the constitution also subjects the Local to the general control and authority of the District Lodge. (Art. XXIV, Sec. 4). The District Lodge has specific authority to ". . . determine the proportion and method of representation therein of L. Ls. within its jurisdiction . . ." (Art. XXIV, Sec. 8). Section 8 also authorizes the District Lodge to finance its work by collecting revenues from the Local. But it is the International that ultimately controls the purse strings in that the District Lodge, like the Local, can only loan, appropriate, and invest its funds as directed by the constitution of the International (Art. XXIV, Sec. 11).
It is clear from the foregoing that the Local and District Lodges are not independent autonomous entities, but are actually firm components of the International. The defendant contends that Art. XXIV, Sec. 1 through 4 and Art. D, Sec. 1, establish the autonomy of the District and Local Lodges respectively. This contention cannot be sustained by a reading of these sections. If anything, these sections denote even more clearly the dependence, rather than the independence, of these two subordinate units. Section 3 of Art. XXIV establishes the jurisdiction of the District Lodge but it is the Council that determines and defines this jurisdiction. Section 4, while allowing the District Lodge to propose bylaws and amendments also states that these bylaws and amendments cannot be contrary to the provisions of the International constitution and must be submitted to the President who has the power to examine, correct, and approve before any final adoption.
Similarly, Article D, Section 1, allows the Local to adopt its own bylaws, again subject to both the provisions of the constitution and the examination, correction, and approval of the President. In addition, this section allows the President to determine the effective date of any bylaws or amendments that he does approve. Under these conditions, any autonomy vested in the District Lodge and Local pursuant to the sections of the constitution cited by the defendant, considering the all encompassing provisions of the constitution and the ultimate review powers of the President, are, in fact, illusory. The constitution in reality displays
such extensive control and direction of the local as to warrant the conclusion that the local is a component of the International. The local is the internal organizational means which the International employs to keep its accounts of its membership, to collect its revenues, and to execute and enforce its policies.
International Bhd. of Teamsters v. United States, supra, 275 F.2d at 614. For these reasons, the motions to quash service by the defendants, International and District Lodge, will be denied.
The defendants next assert that Section 204 of the Railway Labor Act, 45 U.S.C. § 184, has pre-empted jurisdiction from the state and federal courts by vesting the System Board of Adjustment with exclusive jurisdiction over these disputes. The collective bargaining agreement and the purported "sign-off" agreement constitute, according to the defendants, the basis of plaintiff's complaint. Since an interpretation of these agreements is required to resolve the dispute, plaintiffs contend that the System Board of Adjustment possesses exclusive jurisdiction over the matter. Gunther v. San Diego & A.E. Ry. Co., 382 U.S. 257, 15 L. Ed. 2d 308, 86 S. Ct. 368 (1965); Keay v. Eastern Air Lines, Inc., 440 F.2d 667 (1st Cir. 1971).
While the defendants certainly are correct in their statement of the law, they err in characterizing this dispute as one directly involving the meaning or application of a collective bargaining contract or agreement. Rather than an interpretation of a contract, the focus of the complaint is upon the hostile discrimination and unfair treatment dealt the plaintiffs by their Union representatives. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957), is an analogous case where suit was brought by members of a labor organization against their union alleging unfair representation. The Supreme Court, at 44, in ruling that exclusive jurisdiction did not lie with the National Railroad Adjustment Board, stated:
But § 3 First (i) by its own terms applies only to "disputes between an employee or group of employees and a carrier or carriers." This case involves no dispute between employee and employer but to the contrary is a suit by employees against the bargaining agent to enforce their statutory right not to be unfairly discriminated against by it in bargaining. The Adjustment Board has no power under § 3 First (i) or any other provision of the Act to protect them from such discrimination. Furthermore, the contract between the Brotherhood and the Railroad will be, at most, only incidentally involved in resolving this controversy between petitioners and their bargaining agent.