Contractors May Proceed with Antitrust Suit Against New York Local

U.S. Dist. Judge Richard M. Berman (S.D.N.Y., Clinton) ruled Jan. 24 that two telecommunications wiring installation contractors, U.S. Info. Systems Inc. and Odyssey Group Inc.,  may proceed with their claims that Int’l Bhd. of Elec. Workers Local 3 and six contractors that employ Local 3 workers violated federal and state antitrust laws by conspiring to exclude the plaintiffs from telecommunications installation work in the N.Y.C.  area. Berman denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment on the USISI and OGI’s claims brought under the Sherman Antitrust Act and state antitrust law, finding that the plaintiffs, adequately pled violations of the acts.

USISI and OGI, who employed workers represented by the Communications Workers of Am., installed wiring used for the transmission, emission, or reception of voice, data, video, and security by cable, optical, or other electromagnetic systems. The defendant contractor installed electrical wiring for all purposes, including telecommunications. This group of electrical contractors included A.R. Communication Contractors Inc., ADCO Elec. Corp., Five Star Elec. Corp., Forest Elec. Corp., IPC Communications Inc., and NEAD Info. Systems.

USISI and OGI alleged that Local 3 and the contractors conspired with each other to coerce building owners, tenants, building managers, general contractors, information technology consultants, and others in the construction industry to keep the plaintiffs out of the market for telecommunications installation work.   They contended that the defendants threatened — and made good on threats — that those involved in renovating and construction commercial buildings in the metro area would experience “problems” if one of the plaintiffs or another telecommunications contractor using CWA employees was chosen over one of the defendant contractors. [BNA 2/6/02]