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LOCAL 705, INTERN. BROTH. v. WILLETT

July 19, 1985

LOCAL 705, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, CHAUFFEURS, WAREHOUSEMEN & HELPERS OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WILLETT, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Shadur, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Local 705, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen & Helpers of America ("Local 705") charges The Willett Company ("Company"), Willett, Inc. ("Willett"), Willett Interstate System, Inc. ("Interstate") and Railhead Cartage, Inc. ("Railhead") violated the collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") between Local 705 and Company by subcontracting cartage work out to persons not represented by Local 705. Willett, Interstate and Railhead (collectively "Movants") now seek to be dismissed under Fed.R.Civ.P. "Rule" 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). For the reasons stated in this memorandum opinion and order, their motion is denied.

Facts*fn1

Willett is the sole owner of the other defendants. All defendants are affiliated enterprises with common ownership and management, centralized control of labor relations and sharing of equipment, employees and other assets. Company and Local 705 are signatories to a CBA covering local cartage drivers, under which cartage work performed by or assigned to Company employees cannot be subcontracted out or assigned to any other drivers. None of the Movants is a CBA signatory.

In November 1984 Movants did subcontract out cartage work that belonged to Company's employees. Some or all that work (the Complaint is unclear) was contracted out to Railhead, whose stock Willett had purchased "to circumvent or evade" the CBA.

Local 705 asserts this Court has jurisdiction under Section 301(a) of the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA"), 29 U.S.C. § 185(a). Complaint Count I's prayer for relief:

  requests the court to declare defendants a single
  employer or joint employer for purposes of this
  action and to grant such relief as is appropriate,
  including damages.

Count II's prayer:

  requests the court to declare Railhead an alter ego
  of The Willett Company for

  purposes of this action and to grant such relief as
  is appropriate, including damages.

Movants respond:

    1. This Court has no jurisdiction over them under
  Section 301 because they are not signatories to the
  CBA.
    2. All issues raised by Local 705's Complaint are
  within the exclusive jurisdiction of the National
  Labor Relations Board ("NLRB" or simply the "Board").

Those contentions will be dealt with in turn.

Section 301 Jurisdiction over Non-Signatories

Section 301(a) provides:

  Suits for violation of contracts between an employer
  and a labor organization representing employees in an
  industry affecting commerce as defined in this
  chapter, or between any such labor organizations, may
  be brought in any district court of the United States
  having jurisdiction of the parties without respect to
  the amount in controversy or without regard to the
  citizenship of the parties.

Movants' contention of a lack of Section 301 jurisdiction because they are not signatories or parties to the CBA really begs the question. Plainly the gravamen of the Complaint is that Movants are to be treated as parties to the CBA by virtue of their identity with Company.

Courts considering whether defendants are a "single employer"*fn2 have regularly exercised jurisdiction over all the defendants to resolve that issue. Carpenters Local No. 1846 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, AFL-CIO v. Pratt-Farnsworth, Inc., 690 F.2d 489 (5th Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 461 U.S. 942, 103 S.Ct. 2118, 77 L.Ed.2d 1299 (1983); Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local No. 70 v. California Consolidators, Inc., 693 F.2d 81 (9th Cir. 1982) (per curiam), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 105 S.Ct. 263, 83 L.Ed.2d 199 (1984). That applies to the alter ego count too. Penntech Papers, Inc. v. NLRB, 706 F.2d 18, 23-24 (1st Cir. 1983). Movants have failed to cite even one single employer or alter ego case holding the contrary.*fn3

Section 301 Jurisdiction over Representational Issues

But scotching that spurious jurisdictional issue shifts attention to a real one — that stemming from the nature of the issues raised by the Complaint:

    1. Movants claim the relief sought by Local 705
  requires a decision as to representational issues
  within NLRB's exclusive jurisdiction.
    2. Local 705 counters this Court need dispose of
  only the narrow single employer issue for the time
  being, leaving consideration of the ...

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