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LYKINS v. ALUMINUM WORKERS INTL. UNION

December 19, 1980

Toy LYKINS
v.
ALUMINUM WORKERS INTERNATIONAL UNION and Aluminum Workers International Union, Local 480



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CAHN

MEMORANDUM

Before the court is the motion of defendants Aluminum Workers International Union and Aluminum Workers International Union, Local 480, for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, defendants' motion will be denied.

 I. JURISDICTION

 Plaintiff pleads jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331(a). However, jurisdiction is not proper under § 1331(a) because plaintiff does not and apparently cannot allege an amount in controversy in excess of $ 10,000. However, this case involves the operation of § 8(a)(3) of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 158(a)(3), which permits union security clauses. Thus, jurisdiction is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1337(a) because the action arises under an act of Congress regulating commerce. American Federation of Labor v. Watson, 327 U.S. 582, 66 S. Ct. 761, 90 L. Ed. 873 (1946). *fn1" Plaintiff does not plead this basis for jurisdiction in his amended complaint. *fn2" I accept jurisdiction of the case on this basis and will grant plaintiff leave to file a second amended complaint to reflect this correct basis of jurisdiction.

 II. FACTS

 Plaintiff Toy Lykins brought this action in July 1979 against defendants Aluminum Workers International Union (International) and Aluminum Workers International, Local 480 (Local 480), seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. Plaintiff claims that defendants' use of plaintiff's union dues for purposes other than collective bargaining, contract administration or grievance adjustment against his wishes violates his first amendment rights to free speech and association.

 Plaintiff works at Schuylkill Products, Inc. at its plant in Cresona, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. Defendant International is the certified representative for purposes of collective bargaining of plaintiff and other Schuylkill Products employees.

 In December 1978 Schuylkill Products and defendants entered into a collective bargaining agreement. Article I, Section 10 of that agreement contains a union security clause requiring all employees covered by the agreement "to become or remain members ... in good standing of the Union with respect to payment of Union membership dues as a condition of employment."

 After the signing of the collective bargaining agreement, plaintiff sent a letter to defendant Local 480 stating in part:

 
I do not intend to rejoin the Aluminum Workers International Union but I know I must pay a fee to be able to work. However, I would like an account of how my fee has been spent.

 (Amended Complaint, Exhibit B). Defendants responded that plaintiff could learn how his dues were being spent by attending the monthly union meeting. (Amended Complaint, Exhibit C). In January 1979, plaintiff paid defendants an initiation fee of $ 25. Beginning in January 1979 and presumably continuing to the present, plaintiff has paid defendants $ 7.94 each month in dues.

 Plaintiff alleged in his complaint that defendants are spending all or a portion of the money he must pay as a condition of employment for purposes other than collective bargaining, contract administration and grievance adjustment with the employer in violation of plaintiff's first amendment rights. Plaintiff further alleges he is unable to identify the precise expenditures to which he objects because defendants have not yet accounted for the expenditure of plaintiff's contribution to the union. (Amended Complaint at 6).

 Defendants have moved for summary judgment on the following grounds: (1) lack of justiciable controversy; (2) plaintiff's failure to exhaust administrative or statutory remedies; (3) lack of first amendment violation. *fn3"

 III. DISCUSSION

 A. THIS CASE PRESENTS A JUSTICIABLE CONTROVERSY

 Defendants argue that plaintiff can prove no actual injury here and therefore that no justiciable case or controversy exists. I disagree.

 Plaintiff alleged in his amended complaint that,

 
Defendants are expending all or a portion of the moneys exacted from him as a condition of employment, authorized and made enforceable by § 8(a)(3) of the NLRA, for purposes other than collective bargaining, contract ...

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