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FERGER v. LOCAL 483

May 7, 1964

Harold E. FERGER, William J. Norton, Patrick F. Norton, and Columbus P. Brittain, Plaintiffs,
v.
LOCAL 483 OF the INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BRIDGE, STRUCTURAL AND ORNAMENTAL IRON WORKERS, AFL-CIO, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MEANEY

This is an action brought by Harold E. Ferger, William J. Norton, Patrick F. Norton and Columbus P. Brittain, plaintiffs, against Local 483 of the International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers, AFL-CIO, defendant.

The action is brought under Section 102 of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (hereinafter referred to as LMRDA) (29 U.S.C.A. § 412) which authorizes suits in the United States District Courts for violations of the provisions of the LMBDA.

 The plaintiffs allege that (1) they are members in good standing of the International Union as a result of membership in various locals of the International other than Local 483; (2) that for many years they have secured and performed work within the jurisdiction of Local 483, with that Local's knowledge and consent and have paid to the Local fees demanded by it; (3) that in March, April and May of 1960, or thereabouts, plaintiffs requested transfers from their original locals to Local 483; (4) that the requests were made in accordance with the International's constitution and Local 483 is required thereby to permit the transfer; (5) that Local 483 has refused to permit the transfer; (6) that plaintiffs have appealed this action to the International in substantial accordance with the constitution, but the International has failed and refused to act and more than four months have expired since such failure and refusal; and (7) that, as a result, plaintiffs have been denied rights guaranteed to them by the LMRDA.

 That such an action does lie under the LMRDA against a union for its refusal to accept a transfer of membership from another local of the same international was decided by the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Hughes v. Local No. 11 of International Association of Bridge, etc., 3 Cir., 287 F.2d 810, and reiterated in Tomko v. Hilbert, 3 Cir., 288 F.2d 625, at p. 630.

 As relief the plaintiffs ask that the court enter judgment obligating Local 483 to grant them the rights pertaining to membership in that Local.

 The defendant, Local 483, bases its defense in the present action on three grounds: (1) plaintiffs have not exhausted their administrative remedies; (2) plaintiffs have not joined the International Association as a party defendant which defendant says is a fatal nonjoinder of an indispensable party; (3) plaintiffs have not qualified under the constitution of the International to transfer into the defendant local union, which ground in its brief the defendant considers to be its 'basic meritorious defense.'

 Findings of Fact

 The testimony and exhibits established the following with respect to the several plaintiffs:

 Harold E. Ferger

 (1) He received membership in Local 60, Syracuse, N.Y., in 1941.

 (2) He first secured work through Local 483 in 1942 or 1943.

 (3) He established his residence within the jurisdiction of Local 483 after World War II and has continued to the present date to secure work through Local 483.

 (4) He paid money to Local 483 during all the time he secured work through it, and continued to pay dues to Local 60 (50 cents a day to Local 483; $ 10.00 a month to Local 60).

 (5) He requested of Local 483 a permit pending transfer in 1941 while living in New York, and in 1947 after moving to New Jersey.

 (6) He and the other plaintiffs sent a letter and their membership books to William Chieco, Secretary of Local 483, on May 23, 1960; the letter was sent by registered mail to Chieco's home and was returned 'Not accepted.' The letter requested transfers and permits pending transfer.

 (7) He and the other plaintiffs on May 26, 1960, sent a letter and their membership books to J. R. Downes, General Secretary of the International, stating that Chieco had refused to accept their books, and requesting that transfers be effectuated by the International.

 (8) In 1962 he and Patrick F. Norton were excluded from a union meeting. He has never been permitted to vote at a meeting of Local 483 or to participate in a meeting for any other purpose.

 (9) He wrote to J. H. Lyons, General President of the International on August 16, 1961, setting forth the steps taken by him to effect a transfer, and asking how much longer he would have to wait before the International would effect the transfer.

 Patrick F. Norton

 (1) He joined Local 170 in New York in 1951.

 (2) He moved to New Jersey in 1951 and subsequently has secured work through Local 483.

 (3) He has paid dues to Local 170 and assessments to Local 483.

 (4) He and plaintiff Ferger requested transfers from Mr. Templeton and Mr. Chieco of Local 483 in 1959 or 1960.

 (5) He offered his membership book to Chieco forty or fifty times as part of his attempt ...


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