Mr. Wien represents unions, their members and their affiliated fringe benefit funds. He has represented unions in major collective bargaining in the construction, transportation and law enforcement industries and has been labor’s advocate at the National Labor Relations Board, the National Mediation Board, the New York State Public Employment Relations Board, the New York City Board of Collective Bargaining, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the New York State Division of Human Rights and in numerous employee disciplinary hearings and contract interpretation grievance arbitration. Mr. Wien has also represented employee benefit funds as general counsel and in Department of Labor investigations, in Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation funding of insolvent plans and plan terminations as well as serving as collection counsel in recouping unpaid employer contributions.
Mr. Wien has long assisted individual employees in the formation of labor unions. During 2018 and 2019 one such labor union successfully organized nearly a thousand transit middle managers in spite of state law stating making “managers” ineligible for union representation.
Mr. Wien has litigated on behalf of unions and benefit funds in both state and federal courts for many years. Significant successful published litigation includes:
- Local 352, National Association of Transportation Supervisors and AECOM 2019 WL 7584388 (2019) which successfully challenged the employer’s claim that petitioned for employees were “supervisors” as defined by the National Labor Relations Act. The National Labor Relations Board found the employees eligible for unionization and the union won the subsequent NLRB supervised election.
- District Council No. 9 v. APC Painting Company, 272 F.Supp.2d 229 (SDNY 2003) which expanded and clarified the extent to which owners of a corporation may be personally liable for amounts due as wages and benefit contributions found owing in arbitration awards. This case also expanded and clarified the liability of related companies under such awards.
- Local 530 v. District Council No. 9, 1999 WL 1006226 (SDNY) upholding the validity of an arbitration award resolving a construction industry jurisdictional dispute.
- Local Union 20, 2000 WL 22664297 (NLRB Div. of Judges) which overturned an NLRB regional director’s determination and held that a union has the right to charge advanced dues even where a collective bargaining agreement contains a union security clause and the employee was not employed at the time the dues were required to be paid.
Mr. Wien additionally has represented unions in the context of internal disputes among union board members and between unions and their own members. Although it is unfortunate that such disputes occur, an essential role of union counsel is to assist unions to comply with laws governing their internal operations such as the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, state laws governing the fiduciary obligation of labor unions, the duty of fair representation and applicable anti-discrimination statutes. It is also an essential role of union counsel to defend against allegations of noncompliance. Significant successful published decisions in the area include:
S.A. v. M.C., 159 A.D.3d 408 (1st Dep’t 2018) upholding union board’s removal of a board member for misconduct, dismissing claims of defamation and breach of union constitution and establishing the principal that internal union disciplinary charges and trial committee decisions are absolutely immune from liability. Notably, the trial court also held that union trial committee members are also absolutely immune from liability.
W.V. v. COBA, 51 Misc.3d 1227(A)(NY Sup. Ct. NY County, 2016), upholding union board determination that sitting board member was not eligible to seek presidency as he failed to meet qualifications and prerequisites stated in the union’s constitution and failed to exhaust arbitration prior to seeking judicial relief. The same plaintiff also sued to challenge his removal from the board and that suit was also dismissed. Index No. 102206/2015 (NY Sup. Ct. NY County, 2016)
C.L v. N.S. 2010 WL 3034246 (SDNY 2010) dismissing First Amendment claims by union board member who resigned from union executive board following allegations of misconduct with court finding that board member’s complaint was not a matter of public concern nor that the union was a state actor both of which needed to exist so as to subject the union to First Amendment regulation. The same plaintiff later sued the union for malicious prosecution based on the misconduct allegation, which was also dismissed. 2014 WL 2085269 (SDNY 2014)
Mr. Wien is a former Commissioner of the Yonkers, New York Commission on Human Rights. He is also a trained mediator and experienced arbitrator.