Wirtz v. Hotel, Motel and Club Employees Union, Local 6, No. 513

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
Writing for the CourtHAYS and FEINBERG, Circuit , and DIMOCK
PartiesW. Willard WIRTZ, Secretary of Labor, United States Department of Labor, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. HOTEL, MOTEL AND CLUB EMPLOYEES UNION, LOCAL 6, Defendant-Appellee.
Decision Date28 July 1967
Docket NumberNo. 513,Docket 31272.

381 F.2d 500 (1967)

W. Willard WIRTZ, Secretary of Labor, United States Department of Labor, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
HOTEL, MOTEL AND CLUB EMPLOYEES UNION, LOCAL 6, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 513, Docket 31272.

United States Court of Appeals Second Circuit.

Argued June 13, 1967.

Decided July 28, 1967.


381 F.2d 501
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
381 F.2d 502
Robert E. Kushner, Asst. U. S. Atty (Robert M. Morgenthau, U. S. Atty. for Southern Dist. of New York, and Martin P. Solomon, Asst. U. S. Atty., on the brief), for appellant

Jerome B. Lurie, New York City (Cohn & Glickstein and Leonard Leibowitz, New York City, on the brief), for appellee.

Before HAYS and FEINBERG, Circuit Judges, and DIMOCK, District Judge.*

HAYS, Circuit Judge:

Both plaintiff Secretary of Labor and defendant union appeal from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in a case involving an election of officials of the defendant union. The district court held that a certain by-law of the union limiting candidacy for union office was violative of Section 401(e) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, 29 U.S.C. § 481

381 F.2d 503
(e),1 but declined to set aside, under the provisions of Section 402(c) of the Act, the election in which the by-law was applied because the Secretary failed to show that application of the questioned bylaw "may have affected the outcome" of the election. However, the district court enjoined the application of the by-law to future elections. During the course of the hearing on the Secretary's application, the district court rejected certain evidence proffered by the Secretary with respect to other violations of Section 401 which the Secretary alleged that the union had committed in the course of the election, on the ground that the Secretary's action was not supported by any complaint from a union member with respect to these alleged violations. (See § 402(a), 29 U.S.C. § 482(a)).2

Plaintiff attacks

(1) the refusal to set aside the election, and

(2) the rejection of evidence as to the additional violations.

Defendant attacks

(1) the holding that the union's bylaw violated Section 401(e), and

(2) the issuance of an injunction against future violations.

We hold that the lower court was correct in its ruling with respect to the additional alleged violations, but reverse the decision that the by-law was violative of Section 401(e). For the reason last stated and also for the reason that the court had no power to enjoin future violations, we set aside the injunction which the district court ordered.

I.

We turn first to the district court's determination that the questioned by-law constituted a violation of the statute.

The by-law provides:

"In order to be eligible for nomination as an officer, a candidate must possess the following qualifications: (1) He must be a member of the Union in continuous good standing for a period of two years immediately preceding his
381 F.2d 504
nomination; (2) He must be a member of either the Assembly or the Executive Board, or else, at some time in the past, have served at least one year on either the Executive Board, the Assembly, or the old Shop Delegates Council. In order to be eligible for nomination as a member of the Executive Board, as a delegate to the Assembly, or as a department delegate, a candidate must be a member of the Union in continuous good standing for a period of at least one year immediately preceding his nomination."

The aspect of the clause to which the Secretary takes exception is the requirement of previous service on the Executive Board, in the Assembly, or on the Shop Delegates Council.3

Section 401(e) provides that "every member in good standing shall be eligible to be a candidate and to hold office (subject to * * * reasonable qualifications uniformly imposed) * * *." 29 U.S.C. § 481(e). The issue which we must resolve is whether the eligibility restrictions of the union by-law are "reasonable qualifications."

In determining this question we do not regard the "clearly erroneous" rule as controlling, see Donaldson Publishing Co. v. Bregman, Vocco & Conn, Inc., 375 F.2d 639, 641 (2d Cir. 1967); Baranow v. Gibralter Factors Corp., 366 F.2d 584, 587-589 (2d Cir. 1966); Mamiye Bros. v. Barber S.S. Lines, Inc., 360 F.2d 774, 776-778 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 385 U.S. 835, 87 S.Ct. 80, 17 L.Ed.2d 70 (1966), although even if it were, we are left with "the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed." See United States v. United States Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 394-395, 68 S.Ct. 525, 92 L.Ed. 746 (1948).

In deciding the issue of reasonableness we must keep in mind the fact that the Act did not purport to take away from labor unions the governance of their own internal affairs and hand that governance over either to the courts or to the Secretary of Labor. The Act strictly limits official interference in the internal affairs of unions. See, Calhoon v. Harvey, 379 U.S. 134, 85 S.Ct. 292, 13 L.Ed.2d 190 (1964); Gurton v. Arons, 339 F.2d 371 (2d Cir. 1964). The Act prescribes only certain basic minima and leaves the area not covered by these minimum prescriptions to the decisions of the unions themselves.

"Congress intentionally created a narrow remedy under Title IV of the LMRDA so that interference with union elections and management would be kept at a minimum." Wirtz v. Locals 410, 410A, 410B & 410C, Int\'l Union of Operating Engineers, 366 F.2d 438, 442 (2d Cir. 1966).

The Supreme Court, in discussing Title IV, referred to "the general congressional policy to allow unions great latitude in resolving their own internal controversies." Calhoon v. Harvey, supra, 379 U.S. at 140, 85 S.Ct. at 296.

The legislative policy of leaving to the unions the maximum degree of self-government is emphasized at many points in the legislative history.

In Senate Report No. 1684, 85th Cong., 2d Sess. 12-15 (1958), for example, the following appears:

"The committee gave careful study to various proposals providing for the conduct of union elections by the National Labor Relations Board upon the request of a small percentage of the members. The committee rejected this approach for two reasons.
One fundamental objection is that these proposals turn over to an arm of the State the responsibility for carrying on the internal governmental processes of voluntary associations without any showing that the union officers and members are incompetent or corrupt. Such a measure does not promote freedom or democracy. It reduces self-government. It denies the
381 F.2d 505
private responsibility and self-determination which lie at the heart of a voluntary association." Reprinted in United States Department of Labor, Legislative History of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, p. 702 (1964). Cited hereafter as "Legislative History."

In Senate Report No. 187, the Committee referred to the following "principles" as governing the proposed legislation:

"1. The committee recognized the desirability of minimum interference by Government in the internal affairs of any private organization. Trade unions have made a commendable effort to correct internal abuses; hence the committee believes that only essential standards should be imposed by legislation. Moreover, in establishing and enforcing statutory standards great care should be taken not to undermine union self-government or weaken unions in their role as collective-bargaining agents.
2. Given the maintenance of minimum democratic safeguards and detailed essential information about the union, the individual members are fully competent to regulate union affairs. The committee strongly opposes any attempt to prescribe detailed procedures and standards for the conduct of union business. Such paternalistic regulation would weaken rather than strengthen the labor movement; it would cross over into the area of trade union licensing and destroy union independence." S.Rep. No. 187, 86th Cong., 1st Sess. 7 (1959), reprinted in U.S.Code Congressional and Administrative News, p. 2323 (1959).

Turning to the application of these policies to the present case, we hold that it is not self-evident that basic minimum principles of union democracy require that every union entrust the administration of its affairs to untrained and inexperienced rank and file members. Local 6 has over 26,000 members. Its assets amount to more than $2,300,000. Its Welfare, Pension and Medical Funds have assets of over $30,000,000. The local has jurisdiction of hotel, motel and club employees throughout...

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18 practice notes
  • McGraw v. Barnhart, No. 05-5079.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • June 13, 2006
    ...hope of SSA fees in many cases in which they actually do succeed before the district court. See Bergen, 444 F.3d 1281, 1282; Conner, 381 F.2d at 500. Moreover, if their fees depend on the distinction between remands for awards of benefits and remands for further proceedings, attorneys might......
  • Webb v. Richardson, No. 71-2010.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Sixth Circuit
    • December 20, 1972
    ...to afford representation to Social Security claimants by assuring the awarding of reasonable attorney fees for in-court representation. 381 F.2d at 500. See also Brown v. 472 F.2d 535 Gardner, 387 F.2d 345 (4th Cir. 1967); Ray v. Gardner, 387 F.2d 162 (4th Cir. 1967); Britton v. Gardner, 27......
  • Fenix v. Finch, No. 19679.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • January 19, 1971
    ...the fee to twenty-five per cent, although some courts have done so even though the Act is not retroactive. In Conner v. Gardner, supra, 381 F.2d at 500, the court "We are of the view that the court may award a fee for substantial work done before the court although the court enters no judgm......
  • Wirtz v. National Maritime Union of America, No. 66 Civ. 4519.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • April 19, 1968
    ...precluded from bringing this action based upon Mr. Alexander's complaint. Wirtz v. Hotel, Motel and Club Employees Union, Local 6, 381 F.2d 500 (2d Cir. 1967), cert. granted, 390 U.S. 919, 88 S.Ct. 852, 19 L.Ed.2d 979 James Morrissey, who had been an NMU member for 24 years, ran unsuccessfu......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
18 cases
  • McGraw v. Barnhart, No. 05-5079.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • June 13, 2006
    ...hope of SSA fees in many cases in which they actually do succeed before the district court. See Bergen, 444 F.3d 1281, 1282; Conner, 381 F.2d at 500. Moreover, if their fees depend on the distinction between remands for awards of benefits and remands for further proceedings, attorneys might......
  • Webb v. Richardson, No. 71-2010.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Sixth Circuit
    • December 20, 1972
    ...to afford representation to Social Security claimants by assuring the awarding of reasonable attorney fees for in-court representation. 381 F.2d at 500. See also Brown v. 472 F.2d 535 Gardner, 387 F.2d 345 (4th Cir. 1967); Ray v. Gardner, 387 F.2d 162 (4th Cir. 1967); Britton v. Gardner, 27......
  • Fenix v. Finch, No. 19679.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • January 19, 1971
    ...the fee to twenty-five per cent, although some courts have done so even though the Act is not retroactive. In Conner v. Gardner, supra, 381 F.2d at 500, the court "We are of the view that the court may award a fee for substantial work done before the court although the court enters no judgm......
  • Wirtz v. National Maritime Union of America, No. 66 Civ. 4519.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • April 19, 1968
    ...precluded from bringing this action based upon Mr. Alexander's complaint. Wirtz v. Hotel, Motel and Club Employees Union, Local 6, 381 F.2d 500 (2d Cir. 1967), cert. granted, 390 U.S. 919, 88 S.Ct. 852, 19 L.Ed.2d 979 James Morrissey, who had been an NMU member for 24 years, ran unsuccessfu......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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