Representing Labor Unions In Federal and State Courts

In our representation of unions, we have successfully defended our clients' rights by defeating attempts to enjoin picketing, allegations of violations of the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA) and the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), and dismissing claims of discrimination. Further, we have convinced federal courts to confirm important arbitration awards in areas such as reinstatement of wrongly discharged or laid off members, enforcing the provisions of collective bargaining agreements, and the very limited ability of courts to overturn arbitration awards.

Brady v. Local 817, I.B.T.: The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the District Court’s decision dismissing the plaintiff’s suit against the union for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Both courts agreed the LMRDA only controls a relationship between a union and its members, and that the plaintiff was neither a union member nor a “member in substance.” Critical to this outcome was the Second Circuit’s ruling that a union may retain the discretion to accept or reject any application for membership. Thus, since plaintiff’s application was denied, he did not have any rights under the LMRDA since he was neither a formal union member nor a "member in substance. "Brady v. Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, Theatrical Drivers & Helpers Local 817, 13-2038-cv, 2014 U.S. A).

Local 338 RWDSU v. Farmland Dairies:  the Second Circuit affirmed the District Court's confirmation of an arbitrator's award, which required the employer to employ more drivers in accordance with the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. Both courts agreed that the employer had no valid impossibility defense to its failure to comply with the collective bargaining agreement, particularly where the employer had opportunity to argue impossibility of performing its contract at arbitration but failed to do so. Local 338 RWDSU v. Farmland Dairies, 89 Fed. Appx. 748, 2003 WL 22879308 (2d Cir. 2003). 

Duane Reade, Inc. v. Local 338, RWDSU:  the Appellate Division and then the New York Court of Appeals affirmed the New York Supreme Court's dismissal of an employer's lawsuit against a union and its officers during an organizing drive, which alleged trespass, tortious interference with prospective business relations, fraud, and defamation. Relying on the long-established state-law precedent,Martin v. Curran, 303 N.Y. 276 (1951), which requires that a suit against an unincorporated association must show that the actions of the association were approved or ratified by every member, and on preemption under the NLRA, the courts denied the employer's claim for monetary damages. Duane Reade v. Local 338, RWDSU, 3 Misc. 3d 405 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2003), aff'd 17 A.D. 277 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st Dept 2005), appeal dismissed, 5 N.Y.3d 797 (2005).

Duane Reade, Inc. v. Local 338, RWDSU:  the New York Supreme Court dismissed an employer's defamation claim against a union and its officers, which arose out of press releases, flyers, and website postings during a union organizing campaign, based on the New York state requirements for suing an unincorporated association, as well as preemption under the NLRA. Duane Reade, Inc. v. Local 338, RWDSU, 3 Misc. 3d 790 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2004).

Isaac v. Allied Trades Council:  the District Court refused to enjoin an affiliation between two unions and also dismissed all claims alleging breach of contract under LMRA Section 301 and violations of individual rights under LMRDA Section 101. Isaac v. Allied Trades Council, No. 03 Civ.1896 (DMC) (D.N.J. Nov. 16, 2004).

Glozman v. Local 338, RWDSU:  the District Court granted the Union's motion for summary judgment, holding that the union did not violate its duty of fair representation, and that the plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies with regard to his disability claim. Glozman v. Local 338, RWDSU, 204 F. Supp.2d 615 (S.D.N.Y. 2002).

Local 282, I.B.T. v. JJP Realty Holding Corp.:  the Second Circuit upheld the District Court's confirmation of an arbitration award protecting seniority rights. In reaching this decision, both courts found no merit to the employer's claims that it was coerced into signing the collective bargaining agreement with the union. Local 282, I.B.T. v. JJP Realty Holding Corp., 111 F.3d 123 (2d Cir. 1997).

First Nat'l Supermarket v. Local 338, RWDSU:  the Second Circuit upheld the reinstatement of an employee who was discharged for coming to work under the influence of prescription drugs and alcohol. The Court noted that, even though the behavior violated the employer's "work rules" for acceptable conduct, the arbitrator found that it did not constitute just cause for dismissal under the terms of the CBA. First Nat'l Supermarket v. Local 338, RWDSU, 118 F.3d 892 (2d Cir. 1997).

Association v. Local 282:  the Court dismissed a lawsuit by an association of employers that sought an injunction against city-wide picketing by striking concrete truck drivers. Association v. Local 282, Index No. 18049/93 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1993).