FACT SUMMARY SHEET
50 MILLION DOLLAR LAWSUIT AGAINST
IBEW LOCAL NO. 3 AND SIX ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS
On June 27, 2000, two telecommunications contractors, U.S. Information
Systems, Inc. (USIS) and Odyssey Group, Inc., brought an antitrust
lawsuit in New York federal court against IBEW Local 3 and six
electrical contractors that employ Local 3 workers. Those contractors
are: A&R Electric Co., Adco Electric, Inc., Five Star Electric
Corp., Forest Electrical Corp., Nead Information Systems, Inc.,
and IPC Communications, Inc.
USIS and Odyssey state in their complaint that the antitrust
violations result in trebled damages of $50 million, as provided
for by federal law. Plaintiffs also seek an order prohibiting
the defendants, and anyone cooperating with them, from engaging
in illegal antitrust activity under penalty of civil and criminal
contempt of court.
The basis of the lawsuit is an illegal, on-going conspiracy among
Local 3 and the electrical contractors to take over the telecommunications
wiring market in the New York metropolitan area. The complaint
outlines how the defendants, who control the electrical construction
industry, have utilized their position in the electrical market
to initially limit, and ultimately exclude, the plaintiffs from
engaging in telecommunications work.
For several years, the defendants have threatened to use, and
have, in fact, used disruptions and delays in construction projects
unless Local 3 electrical contractors were given the telecommunications
portions of the projects. They have made false statements about
the plaintiffs and their businesses and have engaged in job site
intimidation, harassment, and vandalism.
These defendants, their agents and others have used various types
of actions, as tools to extend the present electrical monopoly
to telecommunications work. The complaint describes situations
where the defendants' illegal actions kept the plaintiffs off
bidding lists, kept them from getting the bid award, got the plaintiffs'
telecommunications contracts reassigned to electrical contractors,
and interfered with the plaintiffs' work, equipment, and personnel.
In doing so, the complaint shows how the defendants made threats
that there would be labor unrest and threatened to withhold required
overtime so as to prevent the plaintiffs' CWA employee's involvement
on the job site. It describes how misstatements were made regarding
the likelihood of vandalism on projects in which the plaintiffs'
CWA employees took part. In another area, the complaint notes
how the defendants and their agents manipulated situations so
as to bar the plaintiffs from particular buildings, labeling them
as "Local 3 only buildings".
The plaintiffs show in their court papers that they are, routinely,
the best qualified and lowest cost bidders on telecommunications
projects in New York. The papers argue that telecommunications
customers, and thereby the public at large, are harmed every time
the defendants' antitrust actions result in telecommunications
work being awarded to the defendants instead of the lowest qualified
bidder, which are either the Plaintiffs or other CWA telecommunications
contractors. The damages sought by the plaintiffs, as stated in
the complaint, are at least $50 million but the extra cost to
the public is in the hundreds of millions.
Even though the plaintiffs employ Communications Workers of America
("CWA, AFL-CIO") members while the defendants use IBEW
Local 3 workers, this is not a labor case. It is an antitrust
case because it deals with the conspiracy by IBEW Local 3 and
electrical contractors to monopolize and restrain trade. It should
be noted that the National Labor Relations Board has already found
certain of the types of conduct committed by the defendants to
The plaintiffs are continuing their investigation of these matters
and, as they add to the evidence that they are gathering, they
will add more parties to the lawsuit should the evidence so warrant.
They are fully committed to bringing these issues to resolution,
not only because the defendants' conduct is illegal but, more
importantly, because it is harming the telecommunications industry
and is costing the public hundreds of millions of dollars.
For additional information about the lawsuit, for a copy of the
complaint or if you are being, or have been, pressured into selecting
other than the lowest qualified bidder for reasons similar to
those described above, please contact us by clicking here.
The plaintiffs are represented by the New York office of King
& Spalding, a national law firm.