take place at February meeting); Article VII, Section 2
(Election Board elected at November membership meeting).
Accordingly, the Court finds that to not hold membership
meetings in February, April, September and October violates
the by-laws of Local 1-2.
Second, Local 1-2 did not provide sufficient notice to the
membership of the meetings it did hold after September, 1990.
Local 1-2 did not advertise its October or December 1990
meetings in The Record. Defendants argue that they intended
only to alter the set schedule of membership meetings. But the
fact that these meetings were not publicized (and no quorum was
met in the December, 1990 meeting) makes that assertion
disingenuous. Further, it has been previously held that sending
out notice of a membership meeting nine days in advance in The
Record of upcoming meetings constituted insufficient advance
notice and was deemed a violation of Section 101(a)(1) of the
LMRDA, 29 U.S.C. § 411(a)(1). Fight Back Committee v.
Gallagher, 120 L.R.R.M. 2372, 2375 (S.D.N.Y. 1985) (Ward, J.).
In this instance, the large and geographically diverse
membership of Local 1-2 need timely notice of membership
meetings in order to be able to attend. The defendants in this
instance did not advertise the October and December 1990
meetings at all in The Record, thereby depriving the membership
of their "rights and privileges . . . to attend membership
meetings . . ." and thereby violates Section 101(a)(1) of the
Third, if Moran's proposal were not to be voted on at the
April, 1991 membership meeting, that would be a violation of
both Local 1-2's by-laws, and Section 101(a)(1) of the LMRDA.
Delay in the presentation of by-law proposals for a vote by
membership has been held to be a violation of Local 1-2's
by-laws that govern the consideration of new by-law
procedures, and Section 101(a)(1) of the LMRDA. See Fight Back
Committee v. Gallagher, supra, 115 L.R.R.M. at 2687 (holding
that delaying reading of proposed by-law amendments constituted
irreparable harm by violating by-laws); Fight back Committee v.
Gallagher, supra, 120 L.R.R.M. at 2376 (holding that failure to
read proposed by-law amendments violated Section 101(a)(1) of
Were Local 1-2 to have followed the proper procedure in
considering Moran's proposed by-law amendments, then those
proposals would be submitted for a secret-ballot vote by the
membership at the April, 1991 membership meeting. Local 1-2
argues that the Court should deny plaintiff the injunction,
and instead allow Local 1-2 to consider Moran's proposals as
being submitted de novo.*fn4 Such an outcome would mean that
the proposals would not be voted on until September or November
of 1991. Since Local 1-2 failed to follow its own by-laws and
conform with Section 101(a)(1) of the LMRDA, considering
Moran's proposals de novo would result in unreasonable delay in
their consideration, and would violate Local 1-2's by-laws and
Section 101(a)(1) of the LMRDA.
Alternatively, defendants ask that this Court deny
plaintiffs' application for relief for their failure to
exhaust internal Local 1-2 administrative remedies, in this
instance re-submitting Moran's proposals to the by-law
committee. While this Court has "the discretion to require
exhaustion when the facts presented so merit," Petrazzulo v.
Lowen, 534 F. Supp. 173, 175 (S.D.N.Y. 1982) (Duffy, J.), the
record in this case indicates exhaustion is inappropriate. In
this case, plaintiffs have already submitted the proposal to
the by-law committee, and received comments. As a result, it is
unlikely that further administrative proceedings would yield
any result other than further delay.
Since defendants actions in scheduling membership meetings
since September, 1990, and process followed by the union in
considering Moran's proposals violate Local 1-2's by-laws and
federal law, plaintiffs have demonstrated irreparable harm.
These violations constitute sufficiently serious questions
going to the merits to make them a fair ground for litigation.
Further, since this circuit has held that union members being
delayed from consideration of union business may constitute
irreparable harm, the balancing of the equities favors
plaintiffs since issuance of the injunction would expedite
union members' ability to exercise their LMRDA free speech
B. Discovery of Union Documents
The second portion of this dispute involves the refusal of
defendants to allow plaintiffs to inspect and copy documents
relating to expenses incurred by Local 1-2 during the period
of September, 1990 until March, 1991. Plaintiffs argue that
they are entitled to examine and copy the records by virtue of
29 U.S.C. § 431(c), which states:
"Every labor organization required to make a
report under this title . . . shall make
available the information required to be
contained in the report to all of its members"
[Upon suit a court shall] permit such member for
just cause to examine any books, records, and
accounts necessary to verify such report.
29 U.S.C. § 431(c).
Courts have interpreted this section as granting union members
the right to examine and copy the books and records of their
union as "necessary to further the purpose of the Act to make
full information concerning a union's financial affairs
available to its members." Conley v. United Steel-workers of
America, Local 1014, et al., 549 F.2d 1122, 1124 (7th Cir.,
1977). While the Court is mindful of the protection placed upon
union documents by 29 U.S.C. § 431(c), the plaintiffs in this
case have demonstrated just cause to see the requested
documents, and this Court has previously ordered that they be
Since the Court has already ordered the defendants to make
a limited production of documents to the plaintiffs attorneys,
the only issue for this Court now to decide is whether any
limitations should be placed upon their dissemination.
Defendants have argued for a limited production only to
plaintiffs' counsel, whereby the membership of Local 1-2 would
not be permitted to inspect photocopies of the documents.
Defendants specifically object to the dissemination of
executive board minutes, and attorney's bills. At oral
argument held on this matter, defendants counsel admitted that
any member of Local 1-2 could go to union headquarters and
inspect these documents. His only reason to oppose such
dissemination was potential embarrassment to the leadership.
Further, it is important that the membership be informed about
the amount of attorneys' fees being generated by Local 1-2 so
that it may make an informed vote on how the leadership is
spending its money. Perhaps if the union members that
contribute to the rival groups at Local 1-2 that have
litigated for so many years see the cost of such action, a
more unified local may result.
As a result, the defendants have not persuaded the Court
that the documents should not be available to the membership.
It has been held in this Circuit that "[a] union democracy
cannot function effectively if the members are not adequately
informed of pertinent matters involving an upcoming
referendum." Petrazzulo v. Lowen, supra, 534 F. Supp. at 177.
As has already been discussed, an action that denies a union
member his right to make an informed vote is a violation of
the LMRDA. In this instance, defendants did not make financial
disclosures to the membership from September, 1990, until
March, 1991. In the next meeting, the membership will be
called on to ratify a number of expenditures all at once. In
order that the membership be "adequately informed of pertinent
matters involving an upcoming referendum," id., the plaintiffs
must be allowed to disseminate the documents in question to the
For the reasons stated above, plaintiffs' motion for a
preliminary injunction is granted. Accordingly,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that defendants are preliminarily
(a) failing to conduct its next membership meeting in April,
1991, but no sooner than 21 days from the date of this Order;
(b) failing to conduct a secret ballot vote on plaintiff
Moran's by-law proposal at that meeting; and
(c) failing to make by first class mail notice to the
membership of Local 1-2 of the April, 1991 meeting and vote,
at least 15 days before the meeting; and
(d) failing to allow plaintiffs to review, copy and
disseminate, consistent with this opinion, the following
(1) Minutes of membership meetings held October 2, 1990, and
December 18, 1990;
(2) Minutes of all executive board meetings held during the
period September 5, 1990 through February 27, 1991;
(3) Arbitration Award reclaimed pension by former officers;
(4) Monthly financial statements from June 30, 1990 through
December 31, 1990;
(5) Bills and checks paid to the following consultants:
a. Bernard Wengorover — accountant
b. Leddy & Co. — auditor
c. Nestegg Associates — benefits consultant
d. Martin Segal Co. — pension consultant
e. American Arbitration Association —
f. Steven Mangione Associates — public
g. Thomas Galvin — safety
h. New York Committee on Occupational Safety &
Health — lectures
(6) Contract arbitration expenses — bills and payment
documents to the following arbitrators: Edward Levin, Elliot
Schrifman, Howard Edelman, Eric Schmertz, William Glinsman,
Janet Spencer, Matthew Kelly, Eric Jensen, Susan MacKenzie,
Daniel Brent, Ralph Berger, and the New York Power Authority
for Room Rental;
(7) Payments to the following attorneys:
a. Arthur Schwartz — final invoice
b. Donald Menagh — settlement of final bill
c. Kevin Jenkins — September 20, 1990 through
February 28, 1991, and additional payments for 1988
d. Irwin Geller — September, 1990