by Michael Fox
Basically applying the sports rule of no harm, no foul, the Court rejected the mechanical application of the alter ego rule even where companies are "joined at the hip." It affirmed the district court's finding that where a non-union company set up an installation company to do union work,that the alter ego doctrine should not be applied to make the non-union company contribute to benefit funds when it subcontracted with non-union contractors. The union had argued that the non-union company was in violation of a series of collective bargaining agreements it had with the installation company. Massachusetts Carpenter Central Collection Agency v. A.A. Building Erectors, Inc. (1st Cir. 9/8/03) In the Court's view, the union was never in a position that was worse than before the collective bargaining agreements were made and applying the alter ego rule in this situation would be inequitable.