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International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union No. 654 Health and Welfare Fund v. Industrial Valley Controls

October 20, 2010

INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS LOCAL UNION NO. 654 HEALTH AND WELFARE FUND, ET AL,
v.
INDUSTRIAL VALLEY CONTROLS, INC. D/B/A IVC, INC.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Elizabeth T. Hey United States Magistrate JUDGE*fn1

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiffs International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union No. 654 Health and Welfare Fund ("Local 654"), et al. (collectively "Plaintiffs"), brought suit against Defendant Industrial Valley Controls, Inc. ("IVC" or "Defendant"), alleging IVC was a party to a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") with Local 654 from 1997 to the present, and asking the court to compel IVC to submit to an audit of its accounting and employment records.*fn2 Presently before the court is Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment (Doc. 10) and Defendant's response (Doc. 11). For the reasons that follow, I will grant the motion in part and order Defendant to submit within thirty days of this Memorandum and Order to an audit by an auditor appointed by Plaintiffs. Final judgment will not be entered at this time, however. Instead, I will give the parties the opportunity to review the audit and provide submissions regarding the amounts owing, if any.

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

A. Formation of the Collective Bargaining Relationship and Relevant Sections of the Agreement and Declaration of Trust

Except where stated, the following facts are not in dispute. In 1997, IVC and its President, Brian Reskos, signed a one-page "Letter of Assent" authorizing the Penn-Del-Jersey Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association ("NECA") to be its collective bargaining representative with Local 645. See Letter of Assent, attached to Doc. 10 at Exh. "B." The Letter of Assent stated in relevant part that it "shall remain in effect until terminated by the undersigned employer giving written notice to the Penn-Del-Jersey Chapter of NECA and to the Local Union at least one hundred fifty (150) days prior to the then current anniversary date of the applicable approved labor agreement."

Id.

Since 1997, NECA and Local 654 have been parties to a consecutive series of CBA's, the most recent of which covers the period from June 2, 2008, through May 27, 2012. See 2008-2012 CBA, relevant portions of which are attached to Doc. 10 at Exh. "F."*fn3 Each CBA contains a provision regarding changes and termination.*fn4 However, nether the Letter of Assent nor the CBA's defines the method or address for providing written notice of intent to terminate.

The CBA's between NECA and Local 654 specifically provide that the parties shall be bound by the Agreements and Declarations of Trust establishing the Pension and Health and Welfare Funds ("Trust Agreement"). See Doc. 10 at Exh. "F," pp. 28-29. The Trust Agreement sets forth various mechanisms whereby Plaintiffs' trustees may pursue information necessary to ensure compliance with the Trust Agreement's terms. For example, Article V, Section 5.9 of the Trust Agreement provides:

The Trustees are hereby empowered and authorized to adopt bylaws and to promulgate any and all necessary rules and regulations which they deem necessary or desirable to facilitate the proper administration of the Trust Fund, provided the same are not inconsistent with the terms of the Trust Agreement.

Trust Agreement, attached to Doc. 10 at Exh. "G," p. 26. The Trust Agreement further provides, in part, that "[t]he contributions or payments of the Employer shall be made in accordance with the [Trust Agreement], and as it may be amended, and in accordance with the said Pension Plan and any rules or regulations promulgated by the Trustees in connection therewith," and that "[t]he Trustees may compel and enforce the payment of the contributions in any manner they deem proper." Id. at 14, 15. In addition, Article V, Section 5.10(e) of the Trust Agreement provides:

The Trustees are hereby empowered, in addition to such other powers as are set forth herein or conferred by law: To do all acts, whether or not expressly authorized herein, which the Trustees may deem necessary or proper for the protection of the property held hereunder.

Id. at pp. 27-8.

Moreover, the Trust Agreement indicates the manner and type of information required for purposes of an audit. Article IV, Section 4.5 provides as follows:

Each Employer shall furnish to the Trustees upon request individual time sheets which shall set forth thereon the names and classifications of the employees from whom contributions to the Fund have been made, the number of hours for which payment has been made for each employee, social security numbers and individual time sheets as the Trustees may ...


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