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HODGSON v. CHAIN SERV. RESTAURANT

March 6, 1973

James D. Hodgson, Secretary of Labor, Plaintiff
v.
Chain Service Restaurant, Luncheonette and Soda Fountain Employees Union, Local 11, Hotel and Restaurant Employees And Bartenders International Union, AFL-CIO, Defendant


Edelstein, Chief Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: EDELSTEIN

In March 1969 an election of officers was held by the Chain Service Restaurant, Luncheonette and Soda Fountain Employees Union, Local 11, Hotel and Restaurant Employees and Bartenders International Union, AFL-CIO (hereinafter referred to as Local 11). Shortly thereafter, a union member, alleging that union activity during the course of the election violated Title IV of the Landrum-Griffin Act, § 401 et seq. (Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, ("LMRDA") 29 U.S.C. § 481 et seq. (1970)) protested the outcome of the election to union officials. Following the union's refusal to remedy the situation, the member filed a complaint with the Secretary of Labor, who properly initiated judicial proceedings. Ultimately, an out-of-court agreement was reached between the parties setting aside the contested election. In accordance with this agreement an order was entered by this court on November 15, 1971, directing the union to conduct a second election under the supervision of the Secretary of Labor and in accordance with the provisions of § 401 et seq. of Landrum-Griffin, and ordering the Secretary of Labor to "certify to the Court the names of the officers elected," at which time the court was to enter a decree "declaring such persons to be officers of the union." (Order filed November 15, 1971.) The election was held on April 25, 1972. Pursuant to this court's mandate, the Secretary of Labor submitted a Certification of Election dated August 15, 1972, and moved for an order declaring those persons certified to be the elected officers of Local 11. All of those candidates who received a majority of the votes cast for the office in issue were certified, with the exception of Elmer Hauck, a candidate for president. The union opposed the Secretary's motion, demanding that all candidates, including Hauck, be declared officers of Local 11.

The refusal to certify Hauck was based upon the Secretary's assertion that the provisions of § 504 of the Landrum-Griffin Act (29 U.S.C. § 504) rendered Hauck ineligible to hold union office. Section 504(a) prohibits any person who has been convicted of bribery from holding union office for a period of five years from the date of final disposition of the matter. *fn1" According to the Secretary, Hauck's conviction *fn2" of conspiring to violate and of violating § 302(a) (1), (a) (4) and (b) (1) of the Taft-Hartley Act (Labor Management Relations Act, ("LMRA") 29 U.S.C. § 186(a) (1), (a) (4) and (b) (1) (1970)) *fn3" brought Hauck within the § 504 proscriptions. The union maintains, however, that (1) notwithstanding Hauck's conviction under § 302 of the Taft-Hartley Act, Hauck was not convicted of bribery; and (2) the Secretary of Labor did not have standing to refuse to certify Hauck.

 The first question before this court is whether Hauck's conviction for violating § 302(a) (1), (a) (4) and (b) (1) of Taft-Hartley by requesting, demanding, receiving and accepting payments from employers of employees whom Hauck represented constitutes bribery within § 504 of Landrum-Griffin. The union contends that since the term "bribery" was not used in the indictment, conviction or sentence, Hauck is not precluded by § 504(a) of the Landrum-Griffin Act from holding union office. Because such an interpretation of § 504(a) would necessarily frustrate the Congressional policies underlying the Act, it cannot be accepted by this court. *fn4" To hold otherwise would violate the Supreme Court's mandate that a statute must be construed "in the light of the mischief to be corrected and the end to be attained." *fn5" Therefore, we must consider those factors which lead to the enactment of § 504.

 Congress' primary purpose for adopting the Landrum-Griffin Act, as evidenced by the legislative history, was to eliminate the intolerable and corrupt conditions which prevailed throughout segments of organized labor during the 1950's. *fn6" Congressional investigations established that some unions, having fallen under the dictatorial control of criminals and racketeers, were no longer responsive to the demands of their memberships. *fn7" To curb the abuses which gave rise to these conditions and to promote internal union democracy, Congress directed unions to conduct elections in accordance with procedures which are fundamental to a democratic electoral process (Title IV). Realizing, however, that a democratic election would not, in itself, eliminate dishonest officials, the legislators provided safeguards which they believed would prevent irresponsible and unscrupulous persons from gaining control of union government (Title V). To this extent the protagonists in Congress, throughout the entire legislative history, accepted language preventing persons convicted of certain crimes from holding office. *fn8" That this was Congress' intent is evidenced by the following statement which was included by the drafters in the preamble.

 
(b) The Congress further finds, from recent investigations in the labor and management fields, that there have been a number of instances of breach of trust, corruption, disregard of the rights of individual employees, and other failures to observe high standards of responsibility and ethical conduct which require further and supplementary legislation that will afford necessary protection of the rights and interests of employees and the public generally as they relate to the activities of labor organizations, employers, labor relations consultants, and their officers and representatives.
 
(c) The Congress, therefore, further finds and declares that the enactment of this Act is necessary to eliminate or prevent improper practices on the part of labor organizations, employers, labor relations consultants, and their officers and representatives which distort and defeat the policies of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947, as amended.

 Landrum-Griffin Act § 401(a), 29 U.S.C. § 401(a) (1970).

 Unfortunately, Congress failed to provide, in either the Taft-Hartley Act or the Landrum-Griffin Act, definitions for the various crimes enumerated in § 504(a), leaving the definitional task to the judiciary. Recognizing that a narrow reading of § 504(a) would seriously impair the efficacy of the Act, the courts have uniformly held § 504(a) to be a remedial statute which should be liberally construed. When confronted with issues requiring the interpretation of the language, the courts have refused to put form ahead of substance. Instead, they have attempted to determine whether the specific offense involved came within the generally accepted definition of the related § 504(a) crime. Thus, the term "extortion," as used within the statute, has been held to encompass both state and federal extortion laws, Postma v. Teamsters Local 294, 229 F. Supp. 655 (N.D.N.Y.) aff'd per curiam 337 F.2d 609 (2d Cir. 1964); the term "grand larceny" has been defined to include a conviction for the crime of "conspiracy to cheat and defraud a union of its money, goods and property", Berman v. Teamsters Local 107, 237 F. Supp. 767, 768 (E.D. Pa. 1964); and a conviction for "aiding and abetting in the willful misapplication of bank funds pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 656" has been held to constitute embezzlement under § 504, Lippi v. Thomas, 298 F. Supp. 242, 244 (M.D. Pa. 1969).

 Although neither the Landrum-Griffin Act nor the Taft-Hartley Act contain a precise definition of "bribery," the legislative history of § 302 of Taft-Hartley, as amended by and incorporated into the Landrum-Griffin Act (§ 505), clearly expresses Congress' view that § 302 was an anti-bribery statute. For example, Senate Report No. 187 on S. 1555 as reported, *fn9" stated:

 
Section 111 of the committee bill strengthens section 302 of the Labor-Management Relations Act by making it applicable to all forms of extortion and bribery in labor-management relations some of which may slip through the present law.
 
. . .
 
Although provisions of existing law would punish most forms of bribery or extortion if they were vigorously enforced by prosecuting officers, the testimony before the McClellan committee revealed loopholes. The committee bill proposes to close the loopholes. *fn10"

 The section of the House of Representatives bill which amended § 302 of Taft-Hartley (§ 505 of H.R. 8342 as reported and as ultimately adopted by the House), was identical to the Senate provision. The report accompanying the House bill contained an explanation of § 505 which was similar to the Senate's explanation. *fn11" It is thus apparent that § 302, as amended, of Taft-Hartley (§ 505 of Landrum-Griffin) was designed to "prevent corruption in the collective bargaining process through bribery of employee representatives by employers." *fn12"

 Therefore, because both § 504(a) of Landrum-Griffin and § 302 of Taft-Hartley (§ 505 of Landrum-Griffin), seek the elimination of bribery in the context of labor-management relations, they must be read in conjunction with each other: § 302 makes the bribing of a union official a federal offense; § 504(a) forbids persons convicted of bribery from holding union office for a specified period. To hold otherwise, by accepting the union's argument that a conviction for violating § 302 is not tantamount to a conviction for bribery, would create the anomalous situation of prohibiting all persons convicted of bribery, except union officials acting in their representative capacity, from holding union office. Obviously such a result was not contemplated by Congress; *fn13" indeed, Congress' precise objectives were to remove from office union officials convicted of accepting a bribe while engaged in union related activities. Furthermore, because the statutes were intended to reach "all forms of . . . bribery," it makes little difference whether the ...


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