to the provisions of the Act, on a separate amendment basis, or at least a submission of the proposed amendments on the basis of subchapter headings as they appear in the United States Code Annotated, 29 U.S.C.A. Ch. II, or some other grouping less comprehensive than trying to encompass the entire legislation in one Proposition.
In the Court's opinion, the use of the words 'mandatory' and 'necessary' in the ballot may very well have been confusing and misleading to the membership, and as such constituted an erroneous interpretation of the Landrum-Griffin Act and imparted to the membership via the ballot an almost 'forced choice' method of voting. For that reason alone the Court considers the ballot was not in accordance with the constitution, Article XXIV, Section 3, 'compiled in the form of a ballot suitable for submission to the membership through the referendum.'
Where such confusing language is used, in addition to the grouping ofsuch a large number of amendments and such diverse matters into one proposition for amendment, there is additional reason to hold the action of the International Organization and its officers as erroneous and arbitrary and as such illegal.
Plaintiffs have cited at least six instances wherein they claim more than one subject was submitted to the membership, and these cited examples are denied as being different subjects by the defendants; however, after examination of Proposition 4, the Court is satisfied that more than one subject as contemplated by the constitution is embraced therein.
The possibility or claim advanced that similar propositions had been submitted to the membership as was done here and that the procedure is a custom and practice does not, in the Court's opinion, make this action free from challenge by the plaintiffs, if, in fact, it is violative of the constitution. Cunningham v. English, D.C.1957, 175 F.Supp. 764.
Plaintiffs cite the legislative history of the Landrum-Griffin Act to the effect that it contains affirmative federal protection to union members in their right to vote as prescribed by their union constitution. H.Rep. No. 741, 86th Cong., 1st Sess. H.R. 8342. Defendants claim that while a provision was contained in H.R. 8342 to that effect, that the law as enacted omitted such a provision guaranteeing to union members 'all the rights and privileges pertaining to membership under the constitution and bylaws of such labor organization.' The defendants go on to claim that the enactment of section 101(a)(1) of the Landrum-Griffin Act has not put the courts into the business of enforcing rights granted by internal union law. However, it would appear to this Court that a plain reading of the Act in its Bill of Rights portion, as well as others, is a clear indication by Congress that the right to vote extended in the Act is not a mere naked right to cast a ballot. Rather, the general tenor of the Act would seem to indicate that those who make up the management of the union may not submit amendments for referendum to the membership in any form they wish. Permitting a union to submit propositions to its membership in any form they wish might very well open up the way of usurpation of power by union management, which the Court cannot believe was intended by the framers of the Landrum-Griffin Act. The Courts have said that by becoming a member of a union the worker, in effect, makes a contract to be governed by the constitution and by-laws and rules of the organization. Smith v. General Truck Drivers, etc., Union Local 467, D.C.S.D.Cal.1960, 181 F.Supp. 14.
It would seem, therefore, that if the worker is to be held to what amounts to a contractual duty to adhere to the constitution, extreme care should be taken to make sure every procedural safeguard is provided him when amendments are proposed and submitted to the membership for vote, and thus insure adherence to union constitutional amending procedures. The opinion of the court in the case of Hughes v. Local No. 11 of International Association of Bridge, Structural, and Ornamental Ironworkers, AFL-CIO, 3 Cir., 1960, 287, F.2d 810, 818, cited by the defendants, in no way alters this Court's opinion with respect to the safeguards that should be afforded the union members in amending the union constitution.
This Court finds the right to 'vote in * * * referendums * * * subject to reasonable rules and regulations in such organization's constitution and by-laws' is a right which is enforceable, in this case, by the membership against the defendants to insure that ballots for referendums are submitted in a suitable form.
To this Court, the words 'subject to reasonable rules and regulations in such organization's constitution and bylaws' appearing at the end of section 101(a) (1) of the Act, may not, as the Third Circuit seems to say, 'permit of a construction that would secure to members of labor organizations rights in addition to those specifically set forth', but that language is considered to permit of a construction that more clearly defines, as in this case, the right to vote as set forth in the union's constitution. The incorporation of a reference to the union's constitution and by-laws must surely have been intended as an aid in more clearly defining the organizational rights specifically set forth in section 101(a)(1) where they were consistent with the Bill of Rights section of the Act.
TheCourt will not take it upon itself to direct the International Organization to submit the amendments to the constitution in any specified way, other than to state that the amendments must be compiled in a ballot form suitable for submission to the membership through referendum consistent with this opinion. The submission of the 47 separate amendments to the membership would certainly be free from objection, but the defendants may submit them in another form which will comply with this opinion. If the latter option is exercised, the defendants may object that they are forced to speculate as to exactly what form the amendments might take, and this is true to an extent; and the Court considers it can only answer shch objection at this point by stating that it is concerned that, consistent with the Landrum-Griffin Act, the membership should be fully informed as to amendments which are mandatory in the sense they are affirmatively required by the Act, etc., and that full disclosure be permitted in that the electorate be as fully informed and educated as is possible, and consistent with orderly procedures, as to the pros and cons of the subjects (in a more narrowly defined manner than was done here) submitted to them for vote. While it may be that this latter procedure may be more costly and more time consuming and laborious, it is considered to be in keeping with the general intent of the Landrum-Griffin Act. In time, submission of further cases involving voting procedures may permit the courts to set down more clearly defined standards, but this Court does not consider that this can be done at this time.
Defendants claim the Court should not enter into quarrels between union members and their unions, and the Court should place great weight on the interpretation given the constitution by the officers of the International Organization. However, there arise occasions for nonadherence to the foregoing alleged general rules, and the Court is confident the instant case is an instance where it should not adhere to such alleged general rules.
The Court finds there are no issues of material fact existing in this case, and that plaintiffs are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The Court will, therefore, grant the motion of the plaintiffs for summary judgment, and counsel for plaintiffs will submit an appropriate order consistent with this opinion.