United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
PHARAMOND CONILLE, YVES RIGAUD, JACQUES LARAQUE, MICHELET AUGUSTE, GUY RAPHAEL, JEAN LOUIS, JAMES SHEA, ELGA BERNARD, HODELIN AUBOURG, GABRIEL BERNARD, CARMESUZE MICHAUD, KALLOT JEAN-FRANCOIS, MONIQUE MODAN, JOSEPH BERLUS, MARIE AVELINE FORTUNAT, VALENTINE DUBUISSON, FRANCHETTE DORSAINVIL, SALLY ROGERS, STANLEY SIENKIEWICZ, YVONNE VASSELL, and LOCAL 402, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY, AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, Plaintiffs,
COUNCIL 93, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY, AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, and AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY, AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, Defendants.
FINDINGS OF FACT AND RULINGS OF LAW
WILLIAM G. YOUNG, DISTRICT JUDGE
August 14, 2017, Pharamond Conille ("Conille") and
eighteen other members of Local 402 of the American
Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees
("AFSCME") (collectively the
''Plaintiffs'') brought suit seeking
emergency equitable relief against AFSCME Council 93
("Council 93") and AFSCME International
("International") itself (collectively the
"Defendants"). As amended, the Plaintiffs
complained that they were denied equal voting rights as
guaranteed by the AFSCME Constitution and federal law (count
I), that Local 402 was being wrongfully deactivated (count
II), and that Conille had been denied due process and been
the victim of retaliation in violation of federal law and the
AFSCME Constitution (counts III, IV, and V). Am. Compl.
¶¶ 23-142, ECF No. 25. Council 93 counterclaimed,
alleging that upon its deactivation Local 402 had not turned
over its assets, bank accounts, and books and records as it
was required to do. Def.'s Answer & Countercl. 20,
ECF No. 42.
action commenced virtually on the eve of an impending AFSCME
convention, pre-trial sparring was vigorous. On September 22,
2017, the Plaintiffs filed a motion for partial summary
judgment on counts I and II pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 56(a), Pis.' Mot. Partial Summ. J., ECF No. 31,
along with supporting memorandum of law, affidavit, and
statements of disputed and undisputed facts, Mem. Law Supp.
Pis.7 Mot. Partial Summ. J., ECF No. 32; Conille Aff. Supp.
Pis.' Mot. Partial Summ. J. ("Conille Aff."),
ECF No. 33; Pis.' Statement Undisputed Material Facts
Supp. Pis.' Mot. Partial Summ. J., ECF No. 34; Statement
of Facts in Dispute, ECF No. 54. On October 13, 2017, the
Defendants filed a memorandum in opposition to the motion for
summary judgment. Mem. Law Opp'n Defs.' Mot. Summ.
J., ECF No. 48, along with supplemental statements of facts,
Defs.' Statement Material Facts, ECF No. 49.
oral arguments and a careful review of the record, this Court
concluded that there existed a genuine issue of material fact
in dispute as to count I. Trial Tr. 10/20/17 at 21:3-7; Trial
Tr. 10/26/17 at 4:3-7:10. As to count II, this Court ruled
that the Defendants' interpretation of their Constitution
was reasonable and the Court would defer to them and their
interpretation moving forward. Trial Tr. 10/20/17 at
22:21-23:5; Trial Tr. 10/26/17 at 7:11-23. The question still
remained whether Local 402 was wrongfully deactivated. Trial
Tr. 10/20/17 at 22:21-23:5; Trial Tr. 10/26/17 at 7:11-23.
two-day non-jury trial commenced on October 26, 2017.
Court promptly made its findings and rulings from the bench
on December 4, 2017, focusing primarily on count I. This
Court found that the Plaintiffs prevailed as to count I and
ordered that the executive board of Council 93 be
reconstituted and reorganized to allow for equal
representation on or before December 31, 2018. Electronic
Clerk's Notes, ECF Nos. 80, 81. The reorganization must
be in effect and voted on by December 31, 2018. On that date
the Defendants are instructed to file a report with the Court
as to the reconstitution. Electronic Clerk's Notes, ECF
No. 80. All actions of the executive board as of the date
this matter was filed up to December 31, 2018 are declared
provisional. Electronic Clerk's Notes, ECF No. 80. This
Court also found facts and entered judgment for Council 93
and the International as to all other counts and dismissed
the counterclaims. Id. The Court takes this
opportunity to amplify and supplement its oral decision and
makes the following findings of fact and rulings of law.
FINDINGS OF FACT
402 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal
Employees was a trade union of employees of the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts, located at 85 River Street in Waltham,
Massachusetts. Conille Aff. ¶ 1. Local 402's
membership consisted of employees from the Department of
Developmental Services ("DDS") who worked at the
Fernald State School in Waltham, Massachusetts. Id.
at ¶ 2. Most of those employees worked for a subdivision
of DDS called either "Metro Residential Services"
or "Northeast Residential Services." Id.
at ¶ 3.
was the Vice President of Local 402. Trial Tr. 10/26/17 at
29:9-11. Raymond McKinnon ("McKinnon") served as
Local 402's President prior to his retirement.
Id. at 30:16-17. Yves Rigaud, Jacques Laraque,
Michelet Auguste, Guy Raphael, Jean Louis, James Shea, Elga
Bernard, Hodelin Aubourg, Gabriel Bernard, Conille, and
McKinnon constituted the Executive Board of Local 402.
Id. at 31:3-11. The rest of the Plaintiffs were
members of Local 402. Id. at 31:3-32:8.
AFSCME is an international labor union, and the parent of
Council 93 and Local 402. Conille Aff. ¶ 9; Trial Ex. 1
at 9. Council 93's local unions represent members
employed by both public and private employers in
Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Trial Ex. 8.
The AFSCME Constitution
Bill of Rights of the AFSCME Constitution states:
4. Members shall have the right to fair and democratic
elections, at all levels of the union. This includes due
notice of nominations and elections, equal opportunity for
competing candidates, and proper election procedures which
shall be constitutionally specified.
7. Members shall have the right to full participation,
through discussion and vote, in the decision making processes
of the union, and to pertinent information needed for the
exercise of this right. This right shall specifically include
decisions concerning the acceptance or rejection of
collective bargaining contracts, memoranda of understanding,
or any other agreements affecting their wages, hours, or
other terms and conditions ...