Sunday, May 29, 2011

Rank and File Carpenters Say Council Bylaws Are Unlawful

Rank and File members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBC), have asked a federal judge to stay all proceedings, including the current bylaw review process, arguing that the "Draft Bylaws" put forth by the UBC, for the New York City District Council of Carpenters (Council), "effectuates an entirely new animal, that of the Council functioning as a Local Union," and for the purposes of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) is as a matter of law, unlawful.

The LMRDA (29 C.F.R. PART 451) defines a "labor organization" as one "in which employees participate and which exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers concerning grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay, hours, or other terms or conditions of employment..."

By that standard, the proposed May 9, "bylaws" strip the Locals of all their traditional powers and functions and because the Council has taken on those functions, they argue, the Council, despite its name is in actulity functioning as a Local Union.

The pro se motion by John Musumeci (who runs a popular rank and file blog) and William T. Doherty out of Wilmington, MA, joined by several UBC members, was filed on Monday May 16, during a Court conference with Judge Berman of United States District Court in Manhattan.

The motion seeks among other things to have the Court:

  1. Review de-novo the decision and; order of the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Harrington v. Herman and Harrington I & and; II and the final decisions of the court which issued in Harrington v. Chao, 372 F. 3d. 52 on June 21, 2004 for clear errors of law and fact.
  2. Mandate direct Elections of all Local Business Agent, Business Representatives and Organizer positions as declared officer positions under the Local autonomy guaranteed by the NLRA (1935) and its subsequent amendments (Taft-Hartley 1947) and (LMRDA 1959).
  3. Mandate direct Elections of all Council Officer positions by Secret Ballot of the members as guaranteed by Federal Labor Law and the NLRA.
  4. Direct the UBC and the BTEA and Contractor Associations to immediately suspend any and all Contract Negotiations and extend the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and Contract in 12-month increments as allowed under NLRB Board Rules and precedent case-law.
  5. Require the UBC and Council to submit a formal legal brief defending their position(s) as to why the Court should not declare the Council a Local and require Direct Elections of all Officer Positions via secret ballot of the rank and file.
The motion was filed as a direct action against the proposed restructuring and new Council bylaws by the UBC and supplements the previously filed Bilello Motion on January 26, and the Bill Lebo submission filed on April 3.

Doherty and Musumeci say the proposed bylaws "violated the terms of a "consent decree" the Council signed in 1994 in response to a federal effort to "eliminate fraud, corruption and restore democratic rights." The proposed bylaws among other things eliminates and eviscerates the local autonomy which is guaranteed and granted to workers under federal law and tramples on union democracy.

At a forum held on Monday May 23rd, Court appointed Review Office ("RO") Dennis Walsh, when speaking about the motion and on the question of whether the "Council functions as a Local Union" said, "it is an intriguing question that is ripe for discussion and decision by the Court."

The RO has also "urged all members to read and consider these draft bylaws and to submit written comments" to him and become "part of a very important Court record." 

The RO was appointed in June by a federal judge presiding over a two-decade-old civil racketeering lawsuit brought by the federal government against the Council charging corruption and mob control. That case resulted in a 1994 consent decree meant to clean up the Council, a task that, based on the 2009 criminal case, the RO's "First Interim Report," and new phase of investigation, remains far from complete.

In response to the motion the UBC has written a letter to Judge Berman requesting that the Court hold a pre-motion conference prior to requiring any briefing in opposition to the motion.

The UBC placed the Council under "emergency supervision" on August 10, 2009 because its leadership was charged with racketeering.

The Council, representing some 25,000 workers in 11 unions, ran a lucrative racket for more than ten years, siphoning off more than $10 million from scheduled benefit contributions and accepting up to $1 million in illegal contractor bribes. In 2010, the fun ended. Free-spending council boss Michael Forde pleaded guilty in July, as did eight other union members and associates. Additionally, former head of the Wall-Ceiling Association, and Benefit Fund Trustee Joseph Olivieri, a reputed Genovese crime family associate, was found guilty of perjury by a jury. Forde had beaten the rap twice before, but this time the feds were determined to not let him walk. He wound up with an 11-year prison sentence.


5.27.11 Letter to Judge Berman

1 comment:

  1. Let's go brothers and sisters mccarron is coming to town for a meeting. This means one thing the fire under his feet is getting hot!
    When is the last time his highness took the time to come to NEW YORk.Instead of meeting with the membership he wants to backdoor us by hiding behind closed doors with mr Walsh and trying to cut a deal. He will be in town sometime this week and doesn't have the decency to call one of his Emergency Meetings that he likes to throw around in the new BY-LAWS MCCARRON MUST GO! Rally Rally when he is here this week!


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