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Judges affirm construction company had to pay into union funds

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with an Indiana federal court that a construction company that entered into a working agreement with a cement masons union had to contribute to two funds for all hours worked, not just bargaining unit work.

DLF Construction’s agreement with Local 692 of the Cement Masons Union bound DLF to all collective bargaining agreements between the union and various employer associations. Under the CBAs, DLF is required to make fringe benefit contributions to a pension fund and a health and welfare fund established by the union.

An audit of the funds revealed that DLF didn’t make contributions to the funds on behalf of a journeyman cement mason and member of the local union over the course of two years. DLF only contributed to the funds for cement-related work, not other work the union member performed for DLF, including painting and demolition. The audit report indicted DLF owed nearly $12,000 in fringe benefit contributions.

The District Court granted summary judgment in favor of the union funds.

DLF argued that under the Memorandum of Joint Working Agreement, it’s not contractually bound to make contributions for non-bargaining unit work, but DLF has misinterpreted the working agreement. It cited Section 2 in support, but that section binds DLF to the CBAs and establishes what type of employee is covered under the CBA. That section does not limit the CBAs coverage to employees only doing bargaining unit work, the appellate court held in Mark McCleskey, trustee, et al. v. DLF Construction Inc., an Indiana corporation, 11-1826.

There is no language in either the working agreement or CBAs that limits DLF’s obligations to make fringe benefit contributions, so the District Court was correct in finding DLF must pay into the funds for each hour worked by the union journeyman.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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