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COLEMAN v. BROTHERHOOD OF RY. & S.S. CLERKS

March 31, 1964

Walter T. COLEMAN, Walter L. Cox, David F. Lynch, and Carolyn L. Klucz, Plaintiffs,
v.
BROTHERHOOD OF RAILWAY AND STEAMSHIP CLERKS, FREIGHT HANDLERS, EXPRESS AND STATION EMPLOYEES and George M. Harrison, individually and as Chairman of said Brotherhood's Grand Executive Council, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BONSAL

On November 18, 1963, plaintiffs, alleging that they are members in good standing of the defendant Brotherhood of Railway and Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express and Station Employees (Brotherhood), filed a complaint against the Brotherhood and George M. Harrison (Harrison) individually and as chairman of the Brotherhood's Grand Executive Council. The complaint asserts jurisdiction of the Court under Section 102, Title I, and Sections 501(a) and (b), Title V, of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA), 2. U.S.C. § 412 and 501(a) and(b).

Plaintiffs, alleging that they are bringing the action for themselves and for all members of the Brotherhood, seek:

 (a) a declaratory judgment declaring that the procedure which resulted in the enactment of Resolution No. 611 at the Brotherhood's Twenty-Second Regular and Eighth Quadrennial Convention in Los Angeles, 'was illegal and therefore null and void under the Act of 1959 (LMRDA) and under the defendant Brotherhood's Constitution; and that said Resolution No. 611 is equally illegal'.

 (b) A preliminary and a permanent injunction enjoining defendants from carrying Resolution No. 611 into effect; and

 (c) Such other and further relief as to the Court seems just, including payment to plaintiffs' counsel of reasonable attorneys' fees.

 Defendants have moved, pursuant to Rules 12 and 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, to dismiss the complaint or, in the alternative, for summary judgment.

 Plaintiffs have moved, pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, for summary judgment and to permit the intervention of George E. Cook as a party plaintiff.

 Finally, plaintiffs have moved by an order to show cause for an injunction pendente lite enjoining the defendants from conducting a trial of charges pending against plaintiff Coleman, from expelling Plaintiffs from the defendant Brotherhood and from taking other specified actions against plaintiffs.

 It appears that defendant Harrison had been Grand President of the Brotherhood for many years. Defendant Harrison states that some months prior to the 1963 Convention at Los Angeles he indicated to other officers and representatives of the Brotherhood that due to his advancing years he wished to be relieved of the arduous duties of Grand President; that at the suggestion of these officers and representatives he agreed to serve the Brotherhood in a less exacting capacity, and that Resolution No. 611 was then prepared following discussions among Brotherhood officials. According to defendants, resolution No. 611 was presented to the Convention by members of the Grand Executive Council and Grand Lodge Board of Trustees on May 13, 1963, and was then referred to the Committee on the Grand Lodge Constitution and Laws, which Committee reported back to the Convention through its chairman, on May 15, 1963. The Proceedings of the Convention show that Resolution No. 611 was adopted by the Convention on May 15, 1963, by a show of hands, with a few dissents being recorded. As adopted, it read as follows:

 'WHEREAS, George M. Harrison has expressed a desire to retire from the office of Grand President of our Brotherhood after having served in our Organization for approximately forty-five years, thirty-five of these years as Grand President, and during all of these years he has been held in high esteem and great respect, his integrity has never been questioned.

 'He has rendered outstanding service and given exemplary leadership to our Organization. We enjoy a position of per-eminence with great prestige -- both national and international -- and we are known for the integrity and responsibility and ethical standards, practiced and observed by our Brotherhood, throughout the American Labor Movement. Our progress is improving the economic and social conditions of our members and the gains achieved generally in their behalf places us in a position of leadership in our segment of international Labor.

 'The participation of George M. Harrison in the many private and governmental agencies and organizations concerned with economic, social and educational matters and international affairs has redounded to the interest and benefit of our Brotherhood, its members and Labor in general, and

 'WHEREAS, the retirement of George M. Harrison from the office of Grand President at this time would deprive the Brotherhood and its members of his vast knowledge, experience, leadership and prestige gained from a background of forty-five years in the Labor Movement and national and international affairs, this would be a tremendous loss to the Brotherhood and would be contrary to the best interest of our members; and

 'WHEREAS, it is the desire and intent to assure to the Brotherhood the continuing services of George M. ...


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