The opinion of the court was delivered by: HARRIS
This matter is before the Court on plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction, on which the Court held a hearing on July 9, 1990. Upon consideration of the motion, defendants' opposition thereto, and the entire record herein, plaintiffs' motion is granted.
Plaintiffs, employees of the United Parcel Service ("UPS"), are members of the defendant International Brotherhood of Teamsters ("IBT") and of the Teamsters for a Democratic Union ("TDU"), "a national organization of rank-and-file members who seek to reform and democratize their union and to make it a more effective collective bargaining representative."
Complaint at 5. Defendant IBT is a labor organization within the meaning of 29 U.S.C. § 402(i), and defendant McCarthy is the General President of the IBT.
Members of the IBT who work for UPS are covered by a collective bargaining agreement with UPS called the National Master United Parcel Service Agreement ("UPS contract"). The IBT represents 200 locals and 140,000 employees of UPS in the bargaining process. The UPS contract is negotiated every three years, with the current contract to expire July 31, 1990. Under Article XII, Section 2 of the IBT constitution, a collective bargaining agreement must be ratified by the affected members. At issue in this case is the defendants' refusal to provide plaintiffs with the entire collective bargaining agreement that is about to be submitted to the members for a vote. If ratified, that UPS contract would remain in effect through July 31, 1993.
The UPS contract consists of a national agreement containing the basic terms and conditions of employment, and approximately thirty supplements applicable to separate geographic areas and/or job classifications. In accordance with standard IBT ratification procedures, and following national negotiations on the contract, the IBT summoned representatives of the local unions to a meeting in Chicago, Illinois, on June 26, 1990. At that meeting, the IBT presented the representatives with the complete UPS proposed contract, including all supplements.
The IBT leadership recommended that the offer be rejected, and, in fact, the representatives voted unanimously to recommend to the membership that they reject it. The representatives were then instructed to return to their local unions and hold meetings over the weekend of June 30-July 1 to present and discuss the proposed national agreement and applicable supplements. The ballots were to be mailed out on July 9, along with copies of the national agreement and applicable supplements, and a recommendation for rejection unless UPS improved its offer. The tentative deadline for returning ballots is July 30.
The UPS offer, including the national agreement and all of the supplements, is ratified or rejected as a single package by the vote of every member covered by the contract. Thus, although each member votes only on his or her own supplement together with the national agreement, the supplements are not independently ratified. See Davey v. Fitzsimmons, 413 F. Supp. 670 (D.D.C. 1976).
On June 28, plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, requesting that defendants be ordered to produce the proposed UPS contract. Plaintiffs also requested an expedited hearing, and, on June 29, the Honorable Gerhard A. Gesell, sitting as motions judge, denied plaintiffs' motion for expedited consideration.
This Court held a hearing on plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction on July 9.
However, on July 5, the IBT advised all of the local unions that UPS had made a second final offer, which would be mailed to the membership for their ratification or rejection on either July 11 or 12. Again, the IBT will not recommend to the membership that they ratify the new offer. If the members reject UPS's final offer, the Union's National Negotiating Committee has the authority to call a strike at the expiration of the contract, or, in its discretion, to return to the bargaining table. At least one informational meeting has been scheduled to discuss the new proposal. That meeting is being held on July 12 in San Francisco for local representatives in the western United States to explain the details of this latest proposal. In light of these developments, plaintiffs are now also seeking a full copy of UPS's latest proposal.
This case presents the Court with the latest chapter in a saga of litigation between members of the TDU and the IBT. In 1987, following the IBT's announcement that the 1987-1990 UPS contract had been ratified, plaintiffs Braxton, Gaimari, Smith, and Woodward filed suit seeking to overturn ratification of the agreement. As in this case, they argued that by having been denied the opportunity to review the proposed national agreement and all of the supplements, the membership had been denied an informed vote on the contract. The case was settled when the IBT agreed that, with respect to future UPS contracts, it would provide plaintiffs and their representatives with such information. Braxton v. Presser, No. 87-2742 [NHJ] (D.D.C.).
Similarly, in 1988, a TDU member employed by Signal Delivery Service requested that the IBT provide him with a full copy of a proposed Signal agreement negotiated by the IBT, including all supplements. When the IBT refused to provide a copy of the entire contract, the member filed suit, requesting a temporary restraining order that would require the IBT to provide him with the full contract prior to its mailing the ballots to the members. Based on the IBT's representations that it would provide the member with the contract, the court denied the motion for a TRO. However, the court set a further hearing date and stated that if plaintiff had not received a copy of the contract by then, the Court would seriously consider granting the TRO. The IBT provided the contract following the hearing. See Riley v. McCarthy, 723 F. Supp. 1521, 1522 (D.D.C. 1989).
The issue was raised yet again in 1988 when the IBT negotiated a proposed contract for employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement known as the National Automobile Transporters Agreement ("carhaul contract"). Two members of the TDU employed in the carhaul industry brought suit against the IBT when the IBT refused to provide them with the text of the proposed carhaul contract at the time it was provided to the local union representatives. The members argued in part that the IBT's refusal constituted a denial of their rights to an equal vote and to express their views. The court granted plaintiffs' application for a temporary restraining order, enjoining defendants from mailing ballots to the membership for five days. Ultimately, the court ordered that the IBT must provide those plaintiffs with all future carhaul contracts, including all supplements, once the contract has been given to the local union representatives. See Carothers v. McCarthy, 705 F. Supp. 687 (D.D.C. 1989).
Rather than following the precedents as outlined above, or even making a good faith effort to abide by the spirit of the court's rulings, defendants have again refused to provide plaintiffs with a complete copy of the proposed UPS contract. Instead, they have forced the issue once again into litigation, by taking a narrow ...