Gurton v. Arons, No. 226

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
Writing for the CourtLUMBARD, , and HAYS and MARSHALL, Circuit
Citation339 F.2d 371
PartiesAl GURTON et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. Max L. ARONS and Al Manuti, Defendants-Appellees. Rudolph GUARNACCIA et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. Herman D. KENIN, as President, or Stanley Ballard, as Secretary, or George V. Clancy, as Treasurer of American Federation of Musicians, Defendant-Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 226,Docket 29232.
Decision Date24 December 1964

339 F.2d 371 (1964)

Al GURTON et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
Max L. ARONS and Al Manuti, Defendants-Appellees.

Rudolph GUARNACCIA et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
Herman D. KENIN, as President, or Stanley Ballard, as Secretary, or George V. Clancy, as Treasurer of American Federation of Musicians, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 226, Docket 29232.

United States Court of Appeals Second Circuit.

Argued October 30, 1964.

Decided December 24, 1964.


339 F.2d 372

Burton H. Hall, New York City, for appellants.

David I. Ashe, Ashe & Rifkin, New York City, for appellees Arons and Manuti.

Emanuel Dannett, New York City (McGoldrick, Dannett, Horowitz & Golub, Melvin H. Osterman, Jr., New York City, of counsel), for appellees Kenin and others.

Before LUMBARD, Chief Judge, and HAYS and MARSHALL, Circuit Judges.

HAYS, Circuit Judge:

These two cases were consolidated in the district court where a single opinion was written covering both cases. The plaintiffs-appellants are members of Local No. 802, American Federation of Musicians. The defendants-appellees in the Gurton case are Secretary and President of Local 802. The defendants-appellees in the Guarnaccia case are President, Secretary and Treasurer of the American Federation of Musicians.

In the district court the plaintiffs sought a temporary injunction preventing the defendants "from effectuating or attempting to effectuate" a certain ruling of the International Executive Board of the Federation. The district court denied the applications for a temporary injunction and dismissed the complaints in both actions. We affirm.

There is little or no dispute about the operative facts which led up to the present controversy. In February 1964 Local 802 took a mail vote on the question of whether in the future the election of the officers of the local should be by secret ballot mail vote conducted by the Honest Ballot Association. Local 802 has 28,000 members. The vote on the proposal was 12,654 for and 2,206 against. Thereupon plaintiffs Rothstein and Gurton proposed amendments to the by-laws for consideration at a membership meeting to be held in May. The effect of the Rothstein resolution was to rescind the result of the February referendum and to return the method of election

339 F.2d 373
of officers to that of voting in person. The Gurton resolution required that in order to be eligible to vote in a mail vote for election of officers, a member of the local would have to register in person at the office of the Secretary of the local during business hours in the month of September

It appears that the great majority of members of Local 802 are not employed full time as musicians. On the contrary many are employed in other lines of work. When voting in person is required, only a small proportion of the members appear to vote. The requirement of registration in person, particularly registration during regular business hours, would make voting impossible for a large number of members. It is the purpose and design of the plaintiffs and others who are "working members" of the local, i. e., members who are employed full time as musicians, to get and hold control of the local by effectively disenfranchising the other members. The Rothstein and Gurton resolutions were devised to further this end.

The Local 802 Executive Board refused to put the Rothstein and Gurton resolutions on the agenda for the May meeting. Rothstein and Gurton thereupon brought an action to compel the officers of Local 802 to put the resolutions on the agenda. Judge Levet ordered the officers to put the resolutions on the agenda. Gurton v. Manuti, 235 F.Supp. 50 (S.D.N.Y.1964).

About 1500 members of the local attended the May meeting. The Rothstein and Gurton resolutions were adopted by a majority vote.

The officers of Local 802 appealed the action of the meeting to the International Executive Board of the Federation.

The International Executive Board, acting under Article 8, Section 12, of the By-Laws of the American Federation of Musicians which authorizes an appeal when a meeting has taken a stand "in violation of the principles of the Federation," declared the two resolutions to be null and void. The Board held that the resolutions violated Article 12, Section 6, of the By-Laws of the International. This Section provides:

"A Local failing to enforce its own laws, or submitting to unjust, unfair or improper conditions forced upon it by the arbitrary ruling of packed meetings, or through the influence of members who control the situation, must, after a proper investigation, submit to such decision arrived at by the officers of the Federation as, in their opinion, may correct the situation."

The Board's decision said that the "purpose of that Section i. e. Section 6 is to prevent a minority from seizing control of a local by abuse of temporary power and effectuating changes adversely affecting the rights of the majority."

"These same considerations," the decision continues, "in our opinion, make it unlawful for the members at a meeting to disenfranchise the vast bulk of Local 802 members. For example, the Gurton resolution would make ineligible not only those members who live out of town but also those who work out of town during September and even those members who, though in town, must (unfortunately) find full-time employment in other industries and therefore cannot come to the Local's offices when they are open. Where the membership of the local has voted to maximize the opportunities for voting, a minority cannot be permitted to nullify their decision. We hold that the Federation By-Laws do not permit a minority thus to disenfranchise the majority."

The complaint in the Gurton action asks that the Local's officials be ordered to act in accordance with the Rothstein and Gurton resolutions. Jurisdiction is alleged to be based upon Section 501 of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.1 The complaint in the

339 F.2d 374
Guarnaccia action asks that the ruling of the International Executive Board be declared invalid, that the officials be prevented from "effectuating" that ruling, and that the Rothstein and Gurton resolutions be declared to be valid amendments to the by-laws of Local 802. Jurisdiction is based upon Section 101 of the L.M.R. D.A.2 Both sets of plaintiffs moved for temporary injunctions ordering the Union's officials to put the disputed resolutions into effect

We hold that the applications for temporary injunctions were properly denied.

The facts set forth in the complaints do not constitute violations of Sections 101 and 501 of the L.M.R.D.A.

The only violation of Section 101 claimed by the plaintiffs is a denial of the equal right to vote in elections or referendums. The plaintiffs argue that if they are not allowed to vote in accordance with the limitations on voting contained in the Rothstein and Gurton resolutions, they will be denied their right to vote. But the guaranty of the equal right to vote is surely not a general commission for the federal courts to review the constitution and by-laws of the union. As long as no claim is made that provisions of the constitution and by-laws are being applied in...

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106 practice notes
  • Smith v. Local No. 25, Sheet Metal Workers Intern. Ass'n, No. 73-2338
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • September 11, 1974
    ...to constitute an invitation to the courts to intervene at will in the internal affairs of unions.' Gurton v. Arons, 2nd Cir. 1964, 339 F.2d 371, 375. The Act expresses the congressional judgment that in certain specific areas the interests of individual members need special protection again......
  • American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO v. American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, AFL-CI
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • September 1, 1981
    ...aff'd, 477 F.2d 825 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 414 U.S. 1067, 94 S.Ct. 576, 38 L.Ed.2d 472 (1973). But see, e.g., Gurton v. Arons, 339 F.2d 371, 375 (2d Cir. 1964). This circuit has twice declined to construe section 501, see Yablonski v. United Mine Workers, 466 F.2d 424, 428 n.5 (D.C.Cir.1......
  • Quinn v. DiGiulian, No. 83-2065
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — District of Columbia Circuit
    • July 13, 1984
    ...Blackman, 546 F.2d 713, 717-18 (7th Cir.1976) (Sec. 501 has no application to claim that full and fair hearing denied); Gurton v. Arons, 339 F.2d 371, 375 (2d Cir.1964) (Sec. 501 applies only to handling of union funds and property); cf. Shimman v. Frank, 625 F.2d 80, 99 n. 38 (6th Cir.1980......
  • Piacente v. Int'l Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers, 11 Civ. 1458 (ER)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • September 30, 2015
    ...Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, AFL-CIO, 942 F. Supp. 883, 894-95 (S.D.N.Y. 1996), aff'd, 116 F.3d 1472 (2d Cir. 1997) (quoting Gurton v. Arons, 339 F.2d 371,Page 18375 (2d Cir. 1964)) (internal quotation marks omitted), but instead to "guard against abusive and unjust exercises of union authority......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
106 cases
  • Smith v. Local No. 25, Sheet Metal Workers Intern. Ass'n, No. 73-2338
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • September 11, 1974
    ...to constitute an invitation to the courts to intervene at will in the internal affairs of unions.' Gurton v. Arons, 2nd Cir. 1964, 339 F.2d 371, 375. The Act expresses the congressional judgment that in certain specific areas the interests of individual members need special protection again......
  • American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO v. American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, AFL-CI
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • September 1, 1981
    ...aff'd, 477 F.2d 825 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 414 U.S. 1067, 94 S.Ct. 576, 38 L.Ed.2d 472 (1973). But see, e.g., Gurton v. Arons, 339 F.2d 371, 375 (2d Cir. 1964). This circuit has twice declined to construe section 501, see Yablonski v. United Mine Workers, 466 F.2d 424, 428 n.5 (D.C.Cir.1......
  • Quinn v. DiGiulian, No. 83-2065
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — District of Columbia Circuit
    • July 13, 1984
    ...Blackman, 546 F.2d 713, 717-18 (7th Cir.1976) (Sec. 501 has no application to claim that full and fair hearing denied); Gurton v. Arons, 339 F.2d 371, 375 (2d Cir.1964) (Sec. 501 applies only to handling of union funds and property); cf. Shimman v. Frank, 625 F.2d 80, 99 n. 38 (6th Cir.1980......
  • Piacente v. Int'l Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers, 11 Civ. 1458 (ER)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • September 30, 2015
    ...Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, AFL-CIO, 942 F. Supp. 883, 894-95 (S.D.N.Y. 1996), aff'd, 116 F.3d 1472 (2d Cir. 1997) (quoting Gurton v. Arons, 339 F.2d 371,Page 18375 (2d Cir. 1964)) (internal quotation marks omitted), but instead to "guard against abusive and unjust exercises of union authority......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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