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Minor v. Pro-Comm Communications

April 20, 2007

ARTHUR MINOR, JR., ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
PRO-COMM COMMUNICATIONS, INC., DEFENDANT.



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

MEMORANDUM and ORDER

I. Introduction

This matter comes before the Court following a bench trial in this Court on November 27, 2006. At the close of trial, the Court directed the parties to file proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. Those findings/conclusions have now been filed. (Docs. 81, 82, 83, and 84.) Having heard the evidence in the case and reviewed the parties' submissions, and in accordance with FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 52, the Court finds and concludes as follows:

II. Findings of Fact

Nature of the Complaint

1. This action for collection of contributions arises under Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA") of 1947, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 185, and Sections 502 and 515 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") of 1974, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1132 and 1145.

The Parties

2. Local 309 is a voluntary unincorporated association with its principal office in Collinsville, Illinois. It is a labor organization in an industry affecting commerce within the meaning of the LMRA.

3. The Local 309 Health and Welfare Fund ("Health and Welfare Fund") is a covered multi-employer"employee welfare benefit plan" as defined in Sections (3)(1) and 515 of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1002(1), 1145 and is administered in Collinsville, Illinois. The Trustees of the Health and Welfare Fund are "fiduciaries" as defined in Section 3(21)(A) of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1002(21)(A), and were authorized to bring this action pursuant to Section 502(g)(2) of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(2).

4. The NECA-IBEW Pension Benefit Trust Fund ("Pension Fund") is a covered multi-employer "employee pension benefit plan" as defined in Section (3)(2) and 515 of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1002(2), 1145 and is administered in St. Louis, Missouri. The Trustees of the Pension Fund are "fiduciaries" as defined in Sections 3(21)(A) of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1002(21)(A), and were authorized to bring this action pursuant to Section 502(g)(2) of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(2).

5. The Southwestern Illinois Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee ("JATC") is a covered "employee welfare benefit plan" as defined in Section (3)(1) and 515 of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1002(1), 1145 and is administered in Collinsville, Illinois. The Trustees of the JATC are "fiduciaries" as defined in Sections 3(21)(A) of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1002(21)(A), and were authorized to bring this action pursuant to Section 502(g)(2) of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(2).

6. The National Electrical Benefit Fund ("NEBF") is a covered multi-employer "employee pension benefit plan" as defined in Section (3)(2) and 515 of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1002(2), 1145 and is administered in Rockville, Maryland, with payments made to the Springfield, Illinois NECA office. The Trustees of the NEBF are "fiduciaries" as defined in Sections 3(21)(A) of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. §1002(21)(A), and were authorized to bring this action pursuant to Section 502(g)(2) of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(2).

7. The National Labor Management Cooperation Committee--Illinois Chapter ("NLMCC") is an industry-wide, labor-management committee under Section 302(c)(9) of the LMRA, 29 U.S.C. § 1861(c)(9), and is not covered by ERISA.

8. The Administrative Maintenance Fund ("AMF") is administered by the Alton-Wood River Division, Illinois Chapter NECA. The AMF was established for the purpose of administration of the Labor Agreement, and is not covered by ERISA.

9. Defendant Pro-Comm Communications, Inc. is a corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the State of Illinois. It is engaged in the electrical construction business with a principal business address of 1920 S. Morrison, Caseyville, Illinois, 62232.

Facts Related to the Collective Bargaining Relationship

10. On or about September 1, 1999, Local 309 and the Southwestern Illinois 3 Division-Illinois Chapter National Electrical Contractors ("NECA") entered into a South Central Illinois Telecommunications Labor Agreement ("1999 Telecommunications Labor Agreement") effective September 1, 1999 through August 31, 2002.

11. On July 26, 2002, Rebecca Cheatham, as Treasurer of Pro-Comm Communications, Inc., signed a "Letter of Assent-A" on behalf of Defendant.

12. The Letter of Assent-A bound Defendant to the 1999 Telecommunications Labor Agreement and all future Telecommunications Labor Agreements.

13. The Letter of Assent-A also outlines the procedure by which Defendant could terminate NECA's representation by providing NECA and Local 309 with 150-days written notice of termination prior to the anniversary date of the applicable Telecommunications Labor Agreement.

14. Defendant did not provide written notice terminating the Letter of Assent-A dated July 26, 2002.

15. On or about September 1, 2002, Local 309 and NECA entered into a Telecommunications Labor Agreement ("2002 Telecommunications Labor Agreement") effective September 1, 2002 through August 31, 2005.

16. On or about September 1, 2005, Local 309 and NECA entered into Telecommunications Labor Agreement ("2005 Telecommunications Labor Agreement") effective September 1, 2005 through August 31, 2008.

17. The 1999, 2002, and 2005 Telecommunications Labor Agreements ("Telecommunications Labor Agreements") each provide that they will continue in effect from ...


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