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HODGSON v. UMW

May 24, 1972

James D. Hodgson, Secretary of Labor, United States Department of Labor, Plaintiff,
v.
United Mine Workers of America et al., Defendants


Waddy, D. J.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: WADDY

WADDY, D. J.

 This matter having come on for trial before this Court without a jury and the Court having considered the evidence, both oral and written, having reviewed the pre-trial and post-trial briefs and heard oral arguments of counsel, and considered all post-trial submissions by the parties, and being fully advised in the premises, makes findings of fact and conclusions of law as set forth hereinafter in this memorandum opinion.

 This is an action originally instituted by W. Willard Wirtz, then Secretary of Labor, United States Department of Labor, by Complaint filed on December 15, 1964. Secretary of Labor George P. Shultz was substituted as Plaintiff by order of the Court on September 11, 1971, and the present Secretary of Labor, James D. Hodgson, was substituted as Plaintiff by order of Court entered June 29, 1971. Plaintiff, by this action brought under Title III of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, 29 U.S.C.A. § 461 et seq., (hereinafter called "LMRDA"), seeks to cause the International Union, United Mine Workers of America (hereinafter called "International Union") to terminate alleged trusteeships maintained over seven of its Districts. Said Districts are subordinate bodies of the International Union and subject to its laws.

 Defendant International Union is an unincorporated association, maintaining its principal offices at 900 Fifteenth Street, Northwest, in the City of Washington, District of Columbia, and is a labor organization engaged in an industry affecting commerce within the meaning of §§ 3(i) and (j) of the LMRDA (29 U.S.C. § 402(i) and (j). The individual defendants are or were at the time suit was filed, officers of United Mine Worker Districts 4, 6, 7, 17, 23, 30 and 31. The individual defendants were not elected officers by the members in good standing but were appointed as presidents and/or secretary-treasurers of the above-named Districts by the President of the International Union. Districts 4, 7, 17, 23, 30 and 31 are known as "provisional" districts in which all officers are appointed by the President of the International Union subject to approval by International Union's Executive Board. District 6 is known as a "semi-autonomous" district in which the president and secretary-treasurer are appointed by the President of the International Union.

 Before bringing this action the Secretary of Labor received written complaints from members in good standing of local unions within the jurisdiction of each of the seven Districts referred to above, alleging that the defendant International Union was violating Title III of the LMRDA (29 U.S.C. § 461 et seq.). More specifically, the complaints alleged that the defendant Union had violated the Act and was continuing to violate the Act by keeping Districts 4, 6, 7, 17, 23, 30 and 31 in trusteeship. The Secretary of Labor, acting pursuant to and in accordance with section 304(a) of the LMRDA (29 U.S.C. § 464(a)), investigated each complaint and found probable cause to believe that violations of Title III of the Act had occurred and had not been remedied in that the defendant Union had imposed trusteeships over Districts 4, 6, 7, 17, 23, 30 and 31, and that continuation of the trusteeships was not necessary for a purpose allowable under section 302 of the LMRDA (29 U.S.C. § 462). The Secretary thereupon began this action as directed by the statute.

 The defendant, International Union, vigorously resists these proceedings and contends that the law does not require the election of officers for these districts because they are not labor organizations or intermediate bodies within the meaning of the LMRDA but are administrative arms of the International Union and thus not subordinate bodies in trusteeship.

 The Court finds that the districts in question are labor organizations within the meaning of the LMRDA: that they are subordinate bodies of the defendant, International Union, and that the International Union has kept and is keeping said districts in trusteeship in violation of the statute.

 Section 3(i) of the LMRDA (29 U.S.C. § 402(i) defines "labor organization" as follows:

 Section 3(j) of the LMRDA (29 U.S.C. § 402(j) provides:

 
A labor organization shall be deemed to be engaged in an industry affecting commerce if it --
 
(1) is the certified representative of employees under the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, or the Railway Labor Act, as amended; or
 
(2) although not certified, is a national or international labor organization or a local labor organization recognized or acting as the representative of employees of an employer or employers engaged in an industry affecting commerce; or
 
(3) has chartered a local labor organization or subsidiary body which is representing or actively seeking to represent employees of employers within the meaning of paragraph (1) or (2); or
 
(4) has been chartered by a labor organization representing or actively seeking to represent employees within the meaning of paragraph (1) or (2) as the local or subordinate body through which such employees may enjoy membership or become affiliated with such labor organization; or
 
(5) is a conference, general committee, joint or system board, or joint council, subordinate to a national or international labor organization, which includes a labor organization engaged in an industry affecting commerce within the meaning of any of the preceding paragraphs of this subsection, other than a State or local central body.

 Section 101(a) of the LMRDA (29 U.S.C. § 411(a)(1) provides:

 
Every member of a labor organization shall have equal rights and privileges within such organization to nominate candidates, to vote in elections or referendums of the labor organization, to attend membership meetings and to participate in the deliberations and voting upon the business of such meetings, subject to reasonable rules and regulations in such organization's constitution and bylaws.

 . . . Section 3(h) of the Act, 29 U.S.C.A. § 402(h) defines trusteeships as follows:

 
(h) "Trusteeship" means any receivership, trusteeship, or other method of supervision or control whereby a labor organization suspends the autonomy otherwise available to a ...

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