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Hodgson v. International Union of Electrical

decided: August 2, 1974.

JAMES D. HODGSON, SECRETARY OF LABOR, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, AND ANGEL ROMAN, INTERVENOR-APPELLEE,
v.
INTERNATIONAL UNION OF ELECTRICAL, RADIO AND MACHINE WORKERS, AFL-CIO, AMALGAMATED MACHINE, INSTRUMENT AND METAL LOCAL 485, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Appeal from orders entered after a bench trial in the Eastern District of New York, John F. Dooling, Jr., District Judge, invalidating local union election for the office of business manager, directing that a new election be held under the supervision of the Secretary of Labor and requiring that the incumbent business manager and business agents or organizers seeking that office resign at least thirty days prior to the supervised re-election. Affirmed.

Smith and Timbers, Circuit Judges, and Tyler, District Judge.*fn*

Author: Timbers

TIMBERS, Circuit Judge:

On this appeal from orders entered March 13, 1974 and April 5, 1974 in the Eastern District of New York, John F. Dooling, Jr., District Judge, which (1) invalidated a local union's 1970 election for the office of business manager, (2) directed that a new election for that office be held under the supervision of the Secretary of Labor, and (3) required that the incumbent union business manager and all union business agents or organizers who intend to seek that office resign at least thirty days prior to the supervised re-election, the principal issues are whether the record supports the district court's determination that the contested 1970 election was not conducted in accordance with the union constitution as required by § 401(e) of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (the Act), 29 U.S.C. § 481 (e) (1970), and whether, having invalidated the election, the district court was authorized, pursuant to § 402(c) of the Act, to order resignations prior to the supervised re-election. The latter question appears to be one of first impression.

We affirm.

I.

The facts are not in dispute and may be briefly summarized.

In September 1969, the officers of Amalgamated Machine, Instrument and Metal Local 485 of the International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers, AFL-CIO (Local 485) unanimously appointed one Hamilton Archer to serve as the union's temporary business manager until the next regularly scheduled union election in February 1970.*fn1 In October, Archer's appointment was ratified by Local 485's executive board. The general membership, however, was not afforded an opportunity to participate in Archer's interim appointment.

Prior to his appointment as temporary business manager, Archer had served for three years as one of Local 485's business agents. In this appointive capacity, he had rendered various services to a number of shops represented by the union. Such services included participation in contract negotiations and the hearing and consideration of union member grievances. In addition, Archer had been active in the recruiting and organizing of new union members. After his appointment as temporary business manager, Archer did not resign as one of Local 485's business agents, but he continued to render services in that capacity to many of the shops he had previsouly served and continued formally to be recognized by the union as a "business agent-only". He did devote a substantial portion of his time, however, to the executive functions of business manager.

At a general meeting of the union membership on December 18, 1969, Archer was formally nominated for the office of business manager. Although others had expressed an interest in running, he was the only formal nominee for the office. At the same meeting, intervenor Angel Roman and another individual, both of whom were then business agents of the union, were nominated for the union's offices of Corresponding and Recording Secretary and Vice President, respectively. Their nominations, however, were ruled out of order on the ground that Article XI, Section 7, of Local 485's constitution declares incumbent business agents ineligible for elective office.*fn2

The union elections were held on February 24, 1970. Archer and "his" slate of candidates ran unopposed and were elected.

On February 26, 1970, two days after the election, Roman, along with eight other union members, filed a formal written protest with Local 485's executive board challenging Archer's election. The gravamen of the challenge was that Roman and the vice presidential candidate had been discriminated against because, as business agents, they had not been permitted to run for elective office, whereas Archer, who after his appointment as business manager had continued to function as a business agent and at the time of the election was officially recognized by the union as such, was permitted to run.

After exhausting available internal union remedies without success, Roman filed a complaint with the Secretary of Labor pursuant to § 402(a) of the Act. He charged that Archer's election had not been conducted in accordance with Article XI, Section 7, of the union constitution, as required by § 401(e) of the Act. The Secretary investigated Roman's complaint and found probable cause to believe that there had been a § 401(e) violation. On August 8, 1970, pursuant to § 402(b) of the Act, the Secretary commenced the instant action in the district court seeking a declaration that Archer's election was invalid and an order directing that a new supervised election be held.

After a bench trial, the district court filed a comprehensive opinion which included detailed findings of fact and conclusions of law. The crux of the court's holding was that, since Archer "continued to be a Business-Agent-only as a matter of Internal Local Management, record-keeping, and compensation" after his appointment as business manager and since he was functioning as a business agent at the time of the February 1970 elections, he was ineligible under the union constitution for election to the office of business manager. The ...


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