Brotherhood of Teamsters & Auto Truck Drivers v. Unemployment Ins. Appeals Bd.

Decision Date09 April 1987
CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
PartiesBROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS AND AUTO TRUCK DRIVERS, LOCAL NO. 70 et al., Plaintiffs and Respondents, v. CALIFORNIA UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE APPEALS BOARD, Defendant and Appellant, DALZIEL SUPPLY COMPANY et al., Real Parties in Interest and Appellants. A031528.

Franklin Silver, Beeson, Tayer, Silbert & Bodine, San Francisco, for plaintiffs and respondents.

John K. Van de Kamp, Atty. Gen., Charlton G. Holland, Asst. Atty. Gen., San Francisco, for defendant and appellant.

Thomas J. Dowdalls, Bradley W. Kampas, Severson, Werson, Berke & Melchior, A Professional Corp., San Francisco, for real parties in interest and appellants.

BENSON, Associate Justice.

California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (Board) together with real parties in interest Dalziel Supply Company and other employers in the plumbing supply business (employers) appeal a judgment of the trial court issuing a peremptory writ of mandate compelling the Board to set aside its decision to deny unemployment insurance benefits to certain claimants.

Procedural History

The administrative proceedings below were initiated as a result of a number of employees of the real parties in interest filing claims for unemployment benefits for the period of time the employees were locked out of work by their employers. The claims involved employees of eleven plumbing supply companies represented by seven different local unions affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and affected work locations in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. All of the cases were consolidated for hearing before an administrative law judge of the Board. At the administrative hearing and throughout the proceedings before the Board, the individual claimants were represented by their respective unions and the individual employers were all represented by the same law firm.

At the administrative hearing all facts were stipulated to, and they consisted primarily of the facts stated in the investigation memoranda of the trade dispute section of the Employment Development Department. Following the hearing the administrative law judge issued a decision holding that all of the claimants were eligible for benefits under section 1262 of the California Unemployment Insurance Code, 1 because they had voluntarily left their jobs due to a trade dispute. The claimants appealed that decision, and the Board upheld the decision except for Teamsters Local 287 in San Jose. The unions then filed a petition for writ of mandate in superior court without naming individual claimants as parties to the petition.

In their answer to the petition for writ of mandate both the Board and real parties in interest (the employers) argued, as an affirmative defense, that the unions lacked standing to bring the action. The trial court found that the unions had standing and granted the writ based upon the merits of the case.

Factual Background

There is no conflict as to the underlying facts. With the addition of one paragraph from the administrative record, the superior court adopted the statement of facts contained in the Board's decision.

"The claimants are members of various locals of the Teamsters Union. These locals are numbered 70, 85, ... 315, 655, 853 and 860. The employers are various employers throughout the geographic areas within the jurisdiction of the locals."

"Prior to 1982, each of the employers here involved had been represented by Northern California Suppliers Association as a multiemployer group in collective bargaining with the several union locals. In December 1981, each of the locals was advised by letter that the employers had withdrawn authority for collective bargaining from the association.

"Subsequently, the union locals were further informed that an identified law firm had been retained to represent all of the employers who had withdrawn from the association in upcoming negotiations with each union local. Sometime thereafter, negotiations commenced between each union local and the employers doing business in the local's geographic jurisdictional area. The locals determined it was most beneficial for all locals to be present at the negotiation sessions. Concurrent negotiations then continued in which all of the locals participated.

"The unions and employer representative report, however, that although these negotiations were concurrent, it was at all times the object of the negotiations to obtain separate agreements between each of the employers represented by the above-named law firm and each union. The unions report that although the Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 853 acted as coordinator and spokesperson during the negotiations, he did not have the authority to accept or sign contract proposals on behalf of the other unions. 2

"Throughout the negotiations, all of the employers were represented by a single spokesperson (the identified law firm). Local 853 was the prime spokes-group for all of the union locals except sometime after July 7, 1982 and before August 25, 1982 the locals were advised of the employers' intent to take a different position with Local 287, than with the other locals, and it was agreed that negotiations with Local 287 would be deferred pending settlement with the other locals.

"By letter dated July 26, 1982, the employers' representative advised the spokes-group and each local that a strike against one employer by any of the locals would be considered a strike against all of the employers within the jurisdiction of that local.

"The claimants are members of the several union locals who were locked out by the employers in the course of events related immediately below.

"On August 19, 1982, Local 70 engaged in a strike action against one of the employers in Alameda County; and on the following day all of the employers doing business within the geographic jurisdiction of Local 70 locked out those claimants who are members of Locals 70 and 853 employed by them in Alameda County.

"On August 24, 1982, Local 655 brought a strike action against one employer in San Mateo County and Local 860 brought a strike action against another employer in San Francisco County. On the following day, all of the employers doing business within the geographic jurisdiction of Locals 655 and 860 locked out those claimants who are members of Locals 655, 860 and 85 employed by them in San Francisco and San Mateo counties.

"On August 25, 1982, Local 315 brought a strike action against one of the employers in Contra Costa County; and on the following day, all of the employers doing business within the geographic jurisdiction of Local 315 locked out those claimants who are members of Local 315 employed by them in Contra Costa County.

"On September 17, 1982, Local 315 extended its pickets to an employer in Santa Clara County which employed members of Local 287. The members of Local 287 employed by that employer, who are not claimants herein, refused to cross the picket line. Effective at the close of business on September 17, 1982, all of the employers doing business within the geographic jurisdiction of Local 287 locked out those claimants who are members of Local 287 employed by them in Santa Clara County.

"In anticipation of Local 315 extending its pickets, the employers' representative had previously notified Local 287 that if the picket activity was extended, the employers would regard any employees who honored the picket line as having left work because of a trade dispute; and further, that a strike against one employer would be regarded as a strike against all employers."

Unions' Standing to File Petition

On appeal the Board cites Bodinson Mfg. Co. v. California E. Com. (1941) 17 Cal.2d 321, 109 P.2d 935, for the proposition that the unions have no standing to bring this action, since they have no beneficial interest in its outcome. The unions, in turn, rely on several cases, the most pertinent of which are International Union of United Auto. etc. Workers v. Department of Human Resources Dev. (hereafter UAW ) (1976) 58 Cal.App.3d 924, 130 Cal.Rptr. 368 and Stanford v. Unemployment Ins. Appeals Bd. (hereafter Stanford ) (1983) 147 Cal.App.3d 98, 195 Cal.Rptr. 1, for authority that they do have standing to bring a petition on behalf of their members. For the reasons stated below we conclude the unions are correct in their position.

Code of Civil Procedure section 1086 expresses the controlling statutory requirements for standing for mandate: "The writ must be issued in all cases where there is not a plain, speedy, and adequate remedy, in the ordinary course of law. It must be issued upon the verified petition of the party beneficially interested." (Emphasis supplied.) Although it is not necessary that someone who petitions for a writ of mandate be a party to the action below, he must demonstrate that he is beneficially interested in the outcome of the proceeding. (Peery v. Superior Court (1981) 29 Cal.3d 837, 841, 176 Cal.Rptr. 533, 633 P.2d 198.) "The requirement that a petitioner be 'beneficially interested' has been generally interpreted to mean that one may obtain the writ only if the person has some special interest to be served or some particular right to be preserved or protected over and above the interest held in common with the public at large. [Citations.]" (Carsten v. Psychology Examining Com. (1980) 27 Cal.3d 793, 796, 166 Cal.Rptr. 844, 614 P.2d 276.)

Whether a voluntary membership organization such as a union has standing to bring an action as the representative of its constituents has been addressed by the United States Supreme Court in Warth v. Seldin (1975) 422 U.S. 490, 95 S.Ct. 2197, 45 L.Ed.2d 343. 3 "Even in the absence of injury to itself, an association may have standing solely as the representative of its members. [Citation.].... The association must...

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