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SECO, INC. v. LOCAL 135

May 21, 1981

SECO, INC.
v.
LOCAL 135, LABORERS' INTERNATIONAL UNION



The opinion of the court was delivered by: LORD

I. Findings of Fact

 1. Seco, Inc. (Seco), is a New Jersey corporation with its principal office in Woodbridge, New Jersey.

 2. At all times relevant to this action, Seco was in the business of purchasing and dismantling large pieces of industrial equipment for resale, and selling the salvaged material as scrap. It employed laborers for that purpose.

 3. A substantial portion of Seco's business is conducted in states other than New Jersey, and Seco causes a substantial amount of materials to be purchased, delivered or transported in interstate commerce.

 4. At all times relevant to this action, Seco's employees were represented for purposes of collective bargaining by Local 734, Laborers' International Union (Local 734), which maintains its office in New Jersey.

 5. Defendant, Local 135, is a labor union representing laborers in a territory which includes parts of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Local 135 maintains an office in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

 6. In 1978, Seco purchased four pieces of property on a job site in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, formerly owned by the bankrupt Alan Wood Steel Company. Seco's workers arrived on the Alan Wood Steel job site in June 1978 to begin dismantling the equipment.

 7. At all times relevant to this action, Daniel Woodall, Jr., was President and a Field Representative of Local 135. His duties as Field Representative included patrolling job sites within a given territory including the Alan Wood Steel site.

 8. In September 1978, Woodall went on the Alan Wood Steel site and observed the activity of Seco employees. After observation and questioning of these employees, and after a brief conversation with Frank Bartolotti, Seco's job site supervisor, Woodall concluded that Seco's employees were working in more than one craft classification at a time, and were being compensated at wage rates lower than those called for by Local 135 collective bargaining agreements. He further concluded that these conditions violated the standards preserved in the area by collective bargaining between Local 135 and employers of laborers.

 9. Woodall then returned to Local 135's office and discussed his findings with William Goodman, Business Manager and Chief Executive Officer of Local 135. Goodman and Woodall concluded that the problem created by Seco's practices was one for the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council (Council) since the interests of more than one craft union were affected.

 10. The Council is a federation of various trade unions representing separate crafts employed in the Philadelphia area building and construction industry. Each craft union local sends delegates to the Council. The number of delegates from a local craft union depends on the size of its membership.

 11. The Council maintains a treasury separate from that of its local affiliates, has its own officers elected by the delegates, and generates funds by a per capita tax imposed on members of the local affiliates.

 12. The Council has committees composed of delegates from member craft unions in various geographic areas, one of which is the Montgomery County Committee. At all times relevant to this action, Local 135's delegate to the Montgomery County Committee of the Council was Marvin James.

 13. On October 9, 1978, the Montgomery County Committee met at the Electrician's union hall, one of the affiliated locals of the Council. Delegates of the Operating Engineers, Carpenters, Bricklayers, Electricians, Cement Masons, Duct Workers, Plumbers, Millwrights, and Teamsters were present. Ralph Williams, then Recording Secretary and Field Representative of the Council, chaired the meeting.

 14. The local delegates in attendance expressed complaints about Seco's operation at the Alan Wood Steel job site similar to those set forth in paragraph 8 above.

 16. Ralph Williams acted as chief spokesman for the Committee, and attempted to question Bartolotti about the complaints of the various Committee member unions. Bartolotti advised the Committee that they should communicate with Bartolotti's superior in Seco, William Spector. Marvin James was the only Local 135 member attending the October 9th job site meeting.

 17. As a result of the October 9th meeting, the Committee decided to set up an area wages and standards picket at the Seco job site. Ralph Williams implemented the decision by notifying member locals of the planned picketing and requesting them to supply picketers.

 18. On October 10, 1978, the Council picketed Seco on the Alan Wood Steel job site. Ralph Williams was ...


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