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Local No. 1 Broadcast Employees of International Brotherhood of Teamsters v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters

decided: January 16, 1980.

LOCAL NO. 1 (ACA) BROADCAST EMPLOYEES OF THE INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, CHAUFFEURS, WAREHOUSEMEN AND HELPERS OF AMERICA AND WILLIAM BENDER AND MORTON BORROW AND WALTER JOST AND ANTHONY EVASEW, APPELLANTS IN NO. 79-1065
v.
INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, CHAUFFEURS, WAREHOUSEMEN AND HELPERS OF AMERICA AND FRANK E. FITZSIMMONS, GENERAL PRESIDENT AND EDWARD NAGLE, VICE PRESIDENT AND HIGHWAY TRUCK DRIVERS AND HELPERS LOCAL 107 AND LOUIS J. BOTTONE, PRESIDENT LOCAL 107 AND JOHN E. SMALLEY HIGHWAY TRUCK DRIVERS AND HELPERS LOCAL 107, APPELLANT IN NO. 79-1066



APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA (D.C. Civil No. 75-2684)

Before Adams, Rosenn and Weis, Circuit Judges.

Author: Rosenn

Opinion OF THE COURT

Two interesting questions are presented for our review in this appeal. First, does an international union have the power under its constitution to merge two of its local unions without either's consent? The district court answered this question in the affirmative and declared valid an order of the General Executive Board of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) directing that Local 1 (ACA), a small Philadelphia union be merged into one of IBT's larger locals, No. 107, despite the vigorous objections of each. Second, is a state contract claim by an officer of Local 1 against Local 107, as the successor body, properly pendent to the federally-based merger claim? The district court also answered this question in the affirmative and permitted the assertion of the state law claim. We agree that the merger was properly declared valid, but we conclude that the district court improperly exercised pendent jurisdiction. We therefore affirm in part and reverse in part.

I.

In May, 1971, Local 1 elected William Bender Secretary-Treasurer and a member of the union's executive board. Bender thereafter functioned as principal executive officer and business agent for Local 1. In that capacity, he had primary responsibility for representing the local in union organization, collective bargaining, and grievance proceedings. From May to December 1971, Bender received a salary of $200 per week from the local. However, commencing in January 1972 Bender did not receive payment of his salary because Local 1 was experiencing severe financial constraints. From 1972 to 1974, Bender continued to perform all of his duties for Local 1 without payment of his salary. In March of 1974, Local 1's Executive Board adopted a resolution that Bender be paid retroactively to January 1972 on the basis of $10,000 per year "when and if the Local has the funds and $12,500 for the year 1974." On June 17, 1975, the local passed a resolution to approve $15,000 a year for Bender's services in 1975. Bender, however, never received any payment pursuant to these resolutions because Local 1 lacked the financial resources.

Local 1's small size, declining membership and weak financial status did not go unnoticed by IBT. Therefore, on July 18, 1973, IBT's General Executive Board voted unanimously in favor of merging Local 1 into a larger local union. On May 2, 1974, the Board voted to merge Local 1 into Local 115, a larger Philadelphia local. Local 115 opposed this merger and Bender and Local 1 filed suit in state court to block the merger. The lawsuit was dismissed on December 31, 1974.

Problems arose with the proposed merger of Local 1 into Local 115, apparently due to Local 115's financial condition. IBT subsequently amended its order on July 8, 1975, merging Local 1 into Local 115 and substituted Local 107 as the successor union. Both Local 1 and Local 107 opposed the merger order. On July 21, 1975, IBT directed Local 1 to comply with IBT's General Executive Order merging Local 1 into Highway Truck Drivers and Helpers Local 107. On September 9, 1975, Local 1's members were given formal notice that they were then members of Local 107.

On September 23, 1975, Bender and Local 1 brought suit under section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185 (1976)*fn1 to enjoin the merger of Local 1 into Local 107. They claimed, inter alia, that IBT had ordered the merger as a punitive measure for Local 1's dissident views on IBT's support for President Nixon in 1972 and on Frank Fitzsimmons' leadership as IBT president.*fn2 Bender tacked to Local 1's federal labor law claim a state law claim for salary, both before and after the merger, against Local 107 as the successor union.*fn3 The district court refused to invalidate the merger, denied preliminary injunctive relief, Local No. 1 (ACA) v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 419 F. Supp. 263 (E.D.Pa.1976), and accepted pendent jurisdiction over the salary claim. The denial of injunctive relief was made permanent in a subsequent opinion, Local No. 1 (ACA) v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 461 F. Supp. 961 (E.D.Pa.1978), in which the court declared the merger lawful. It also awarded Bender $33,282.37 for services rendered on behalf of Local 1 before the merger. Local 1 and Bender appeal from the court's denial of injunctive relief and Bender appeals from the court's denial of his salary claim for services performed after the merger of Local 1. Local 107 cross-appeals from the salary award to Bender.

II.

The first question presented for our consideration is whether the district court properly declined to enjoin the merger of Local 1 into Local 107. It is undisputed that neither local desired the merger. The IBT Constitution, however, gives the General Executive Board discretionary power

to merge Local Unions and other subordinate bodies under such terms and conditions and subject to such qualifications as the General Executive Board may determine, taking into consideration such circumstances as financial conditions, jurisdiction, location, and such other factors as appear appropriate in connection with the Local Unions and other subordinate bodies involved.

IBT Constitution, Article IX, § 11. Further, the International's power under its constitution to merge local unions is not dependent upon their consent. The General Executive Board has the discretion to conduct a referendum vote in the locals, but the effect of such a referendum on IBT is only advisory. Id.

Local 1 contended in the district court that IBT ordered the merger in retaliation for Local 1's dissident views on both national politics and internal union affairs. Local 1 argued that the merger should be enjoined as chilling both Bender's and its ...


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