Wirtz v. Local Union No 125, Laborers International Union of North America, Afl 8212 Cio, No. 58

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBRENNAN
Citation88 S.Ct. 639,389 U.S. 477,19 L.Ed.2d 716
Decision Date15 January 1968
Docket NumberNo. 58
PartiesW. Willard WIRTZ, Secretary of Labor, Petitioner, v. LOCAL UNION NO. 125, LABORERS' INTERNATIONAL UNION OF NORTH AMERICA, AFL—CIO

389 U.S. 477
88 S.Ct. 639
19 L.Ed.2d 716
W. Willard WIRTZ, Secretary of Labor, Petitioner,

v.

LOCAL UNION NO. 125, LABORERS' INTERNATIONAL UNION OF NORTH AMERICA, AFL—CIO.

No. 58.
Argued Nov. 8 and 9, 1967.
Decided Jan. 15, 1968.

Page 478

Louis F. Claiborne, Washington, D.C., for petitioner.

Mortimer Riemer, Cleveland, Ohio, for respondent.

Mr. Justice BRENNAN, delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a companion case to No. 57, Wirtz v. Local 153, Glass Bottle Blowers Ass'n, 389 U.S. 463, 88 S.Ct. 643, 19 L.Ed.2d 705. Petitioner, the Secretary of Labor, filed the action in the District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, under § 402(b) of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, 29 U.S.C. § 482(b). His complaint challenged the validity of a general election of union officers conducted by the respondent Local Union on June 8, 1963, and the validity of a runoff election for the single office of Business Representative made necessary by a tie vote for that office at the June 8 election. The complaint alleged, in part, violations of § 401(e), 29 U.S.C. § 481(e), in permitting members not 'in good standing' to vote and to run for office on both occasions. However, the only allegation that internal union remedies had been exhausted, as is required by § 402(a), was in regard to the runoff election of July 13; the complaint stated that the loser in the runoff elec-

Page 479

tion, one Dial, protested and appealed to the General Executive Board of the International Union concerning the conduct of that election and, having received a final denial of his protest by the General Executive Board, filed a timely complaint with the Secretary. The District Court held that the omission in the complaint of an allegation that a member complained internally about the conduct of the June 8 general election was fatal to the Secretary's action addressed to that election and dismissed that part of the complaint. D.C., 231 F.Supp. 590. The Secretary appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. During pendency of the appeal, respondent Local conducted its next regular triennial election of officers. The Court of Appeals thereupon vacated the judgment of dismissal and remanded to the District Court with instructions that the portion of the Secretary's complaint dealing with the June 8 election be dismissed as moot. 6 Cir., 375 F.2d 921.1 We granted certiorari. 387 U.S. 904, 87 S.Ct. 1686, 18 L.Ed.2d 621. In light of our decision today in Wirtz v. Local 153, Glass Bottle Blowers Assn., supra, the action of the Court of Appeals must be reversed; we there held that '* * * the fact that the union has already conducted another unsupervised election does not deprive the Secretary of his right to a court order declaring the challenged election void and directing that a new election be conducted under his supervision.' 389 U.S., at 475, 88 S.Ct., at 650.

In the circumstances we might remand to the Court of Appeals to decide the merits of the Secretary's appeal.

Page 480

The issue on the merits is whether the District Court erred in holding that the Secretary in his suit may not challenge the alleged violations affecting the general election of June 8 because Dial specifically challenged only the runoff election of July 13 with respect to the office of Business Representative. The merits of this question have been fully briefed and argued in this Court and the underlying issue of statutory construction has already been the subject of several and conflicting rulings by various federal courts.2 The interests of judicial economy are therefore best served if we proceed to resolve this important question now.

Respondent Local is governed by the Constitution and the Uniform Local Union Constitution of the Laborers' International Union of North America. Under the Uniform Local Union Constitution as it existed during the period relevant here, a member's good standing was lost by failure to pay membership dues within a specified grace period, and the member was automatically suspended without notice and with loss of all membership rights except the right to readmission (but as a new member) upon payment of a fee. The eligibility of voters and candidates in both elections in this case was determined by reference to a report to the International

Page 481

Union of the names of members for whom a per capita tax had been paid. This report included some 50 to 75 members who were delinquent in the payment of their Local dues and had therefore actually lost good standing under the provisions of the Uniform Local Union Constitution. The cause of this patent disregard of the Local's own constitution was the practice of its Secretary-Treasurer of paying from Local funds the per capita tax of delinquent members selected by him, thus making it appear on the per capita tax report that those members had met their dues obligations when in fact they had not.3 The Secretary's investigation disclosed that approximately 50 of the members voting in the June 8 general election and approximately 60 voting in the July 13 runoff election were ineligible to vote; and that 16 of the 27 candidates for office in the...

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70 practice notes
  • McDonald v. Oliver, AFL--CIO
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • January 14, 1976
    ...under his supervision (emphasis ours). To like effect, see the companion case of Wirtz v. Local 125, Laborers' International Union, 389 U.S. 477, 88 S.Ct. 639, 19 L.Ed.2d 716 (1968). In our present case, however, the Secretary was not seeking to set aside an election as invalid but, to the ......
  • Brennan v. United Steelworkers of America AFL-CIO-CLC (Dist. 15) (Dist. 31), AFL-CIO-CLC
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • April 20, 1977
    ...1841, 29 L.Ed.2d 510 (1971), or which the union did not have a fair opportunity to consider and redress, Wirtz v. Local 125, Laborers,389 U.S. 477, 484, 88 S.Ct. 639, 19 L.Ed.2d 716 (1968). The clear effect of Title IV is to make the Secretary dependent upon the diligence of the union membe......
  • Dunlop v. Bachowski 8212 466, No. 74
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 2, 1975
    .... . .. The expertise and resources of the Labor Department were surely meant to have a broader play. . . .' Wirtz v. Laborers' Union, 389 U.S. 477, 482, 88 S.Ct. 642 (1968). '. . . Congress made suit by the Secretary the exclusive post-election remedy for two principal reasons: (1) to prote......
  • Local No 82, Furniture and Piano Moving, Furniture Store Drivers, Helpers Warehousemen and Packers v. Crowley, No. 82-432
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 12, 1984
    ...an interest "vital" not only to union members but also to the general public, id., at 475, 88 S.Ct., at 650. See Wirtz v. Laborers, 389 U.S. 477, 483, 88 S.Ct. 639, 642, 19 L.Ed.2d 716 (1968). Although Congress meant to further this basic policy with a minimum of interference in the interna......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
70 cases
  • McDonald v. Oliver, AFL--CIO
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • January 14, 1976
    ...under his supervision (emphasis ours). To like effect, see the companion case of Wirtz v. Local 125, Laborers' International Union, 389 U.S. 477, 88 S.Ct. 639, 19 L.Ed.2d 716 (1968). In our present case, however, the Secretary was not seeking to set aside an election as invalid but, to the ......
  • Brennan v. United Steelworkers of America AFL-CIO-CLC (Dist. 15) (Dist. 31), AFL-CIO-CLC
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • April 20, 1977
    ...1841, 29 L.Ed.2d 510 (1971), or which the union did not have a fair opportunity to consider and redress, Wirtz v. Local 125, Laborers,389 U.S. 477, 484, 88 S.Ct. 639, 19 L.Ed.2d 716 (1968). The clear effect of Title IV is to make the Secretary dependent upon the diligence of the union membe......
  • Dunlop v. Bachowski 8212 466, No. 74
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 2, 1975
    .... . .. The expertise and resources of the Labor Department were surely meant to have a broader play. . . .' Wirtz v. Laborers' Union, 389 U.S. 477, 482, 88 S.Ct. 642 (1968). '. . . Congress made suit by the Secretary the exclusive post-election remedy for two principal reasons: (1) to prote......
  • Local No 82, Furniture and Piano Moving, Furniture Store Drivers, Helpers Warehousemen and Packers v. Crowley, No. 82-432
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 12, 1984
    ...an interest "vital" not only to union members but also to the general public, id., at 475, 88 S.Ct., at 650. See Wirtz v. Laborers, 389 U.S. 477, 483, 88 S.Ct. 639, 642, 19 L.Ed.2d 716 (1968). Although Congress meant to further this basic policy with a minimum of interference in the interna......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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