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Union 'Hail Mary' Appeal Denied

Organized labor had asked a single justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court to review the lower court order that the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission strip the illegal project labor agreement from bidding on the $265 million West Parish Water Treatment Plant construction.


Appeals Court: Request denied.



Appeals Court Justice Sabita Singh wrote: "After review of the petition and accompanying documents, I discern no abuse of discretion or clear error of law warranting single justice relief. Accordingly, all relief requested in the petition is denied."


Judge Singh issued the ruling before we, the plaintiffs, even had time to file a response to the filing by the Pioneer Valley Building Trades Council, an intervenor in the case. That's how weak their argument was.


In an editorial on Tuesday, The Boston Globe called the appeal a "Hail Mary."


"But honestly, this whole exercise was a waste of judicial time. In the future, when faced with union lobbying for PLAs, elected officials and public decision-makers should cite [Superior Court Judge Michael] Callan’s lucid ruling on the matter and say a firm and emphatic no."


The defendant, the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission, did not join in the appeal. Rather, it revoked the illegal project labor agreement - as ordered by Superior Court Judge Callan on May 16.


Now what? Filed sub-bids are now due on June 11 and we anticipate merit shops will now compete as the playing field is fair and level. As Judge Callan found:


"Notwithstanding the lip service the PLA pays to being open to all bidders, it most assuredly is not. The evidence before the court is that the PLA poses such a significant disadvantage to open shops as to render a competitive bid impossible. Certainly, in theory, Griffin and others can bid on the Project, but it is bidding blindly, and utterly defies common sense and logic to think that it is a real chance on "equal footing." No reasonable, otherwise highly qualified contractor or subcontractor would entertain such a colossal risk. For all intents and purposes, the PLA excludes open shops from bidding, as it essentially requires bidders to execute an agreement to use union laborers on the Project."


Here's the ruling from the Appeals Court:


-COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS



APPEALS COURT CLERK'S OFFICE



May 29, 2024



RE: No. 2024-J-0305


Lower Ct. No.: 2479CV00227



WAYNE J. GRIFFIN ELECTRIC, INC. & others


vs.


PIONEER VALLEY BUILDING TRADES COUNCIL & another



NOTICE OF DOCKET ENTRY



Please take note that on May 24, 2024, the following entry was made on the docket of the above-referenced case:



ORDER (RE #1): The defendant-intervener Pioneer Valley Trades Council, AFL-CIO, seeks review of an order entered in the Hampden Superior Court following a non-evidentiary hearing in which the court granting the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction that enjoins co-defendant Springfield Water and Sewer Commission (Commission) from proceeding with the bidding and awarding of contracts and subcontracts for construction of a new water treatment plant subject to a Project Labor Agreement requirement.



My authority to overrule an interlocutory order of a trial court judge should "be exercised in a stinting manner with suitable respect for the principle that the exercise of judicial discretion circumscribes the scope of available relief." Edwin Sage Co. v. Foley, 12 Mass. App. Ct. 20, 25 (1981). The standard of review employed by the single justice is whether the trial court judge committed an error of law or an abuse of discretion in entering the order that is the subject of the petition. See Jet-Line Services, Inc. v. Board of Selectmen of Stoughton, 25 Mass. App. Ct. 645, 646 (1988). After review of the petition and accompanying documents, I discern no abuse of discretion or clear error of law warranting single justice relief. Accordingly, all relief requested in the petition is denied. (Singh, J.) Notice/attest/Callan, J.



REGISTRATION FOR ELECTRONIC FILING. Every attorney with an appeal pending in the Appeals Court must have an account with eFileMA.com. Registration with eFileMA.com constitutes consent to receive electronic notification from the Appeals Court and e-service of documents. Self-represented litigants are encouraged, but not required, to register for electronic filing.



ELECTRONIC FILING. Attorneys must e-file all non-impounded documents. Impounded documents and submissions by self-represented litigants may be e-filed. No paper original or copy of any e-filed document is required. Additional information is located on our Electronic Filing page: http://www.mass.gov/courts/court-info/appealscourt/efiling-appeals-faq-gen.html



FILING OF CONFIDENTIAL OR IMPOUNDED INFORMATION. Any document containing confidential or impounded material must be filed in compliance with Mass. R. App. P. 16(d), 16(m), 18(a)(1)(A)(iv), 18(d), and 21.


Very truly yours,



The Clerk's Office



Dated: May 29, 2024



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