The opinion of the court was delivered by: GREEN
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on the motion of the defendant, the Secretary of Labor (hereinafter "the Secretary"), to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or, in the alternative, for summary judgment. In response, the plaintiffs, members of various local unions of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America ("IBT" or "the Union"), filed a cross-motion for summary judgment.
After lodging internal union disciplinary charges against the IBT's General President Frank E. Fitzsimmons in April 1977 for alleged serious misconduct in union office, the plaintiffs attempted unsuccessfully to prosecute those charges which were dismissed by the Union in February, 1979. Thereafter, on July 25, 1979, the plaintiffs sought to invoke action under 401(h) of the Labor-Management Reporting Disclosure Act of 1959 (hereinafter "LMRDA" or the "Act"), 29 U.S.C. § 481(h), and requested a hearing, to be held pursuant to the procedures set out in 29 C.F.R. § 417, "to determine the adequacy of procedures provided in the Constitution of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen, and Helpers of America for removing elected officers guilty of serious misconduct." They petitioned the Secretary to conduct a secret ballot referendum among the Union's membership to determine whether General President Fitzsimmons should be removed from office for that alleged misconduct.
The complaint in this action relates that plaintiffs Greco and Rollins were members of the class represented by plaintiffs Vitrano, Berryhill, and others in their petition to the Secretary. It is contended that Greco attempted unsuccessfully to intervene in the proceedings before the Union and that Rollins "executed a petition subscribing to disciplinary charges seeking Mr. Fitzsimmons' removal from union office." Complaint, para. 5.
On October 22, 1979, the Secretary issued a Statement of Reasons for Dismissing the Petition, without investigation of the allegations, asserting that the Secretary lacked authority to grant any relief because § 401(h) of the Act does not cover the removal of an officer of an international labor organization.
Plaintiffs then filed suit asking this Court to declare that the Secretary's interpretation of § 401(h) is erroneous in that that section of the Act does give the Secretary authority to initiate and conduct recall proceedings for union officials who do not hold "local" union positions, that is, for officials of national and international labor organizations.
Finding that the Secretary's interpretation of § 401(h) is consistent with the plain meaning of its language, its legislative history, and the purpose of the LMRDA, the complaint must be dismissed.
Although plaintiffs argue that acceptance of the Secretary's interpretation would run counter to Congress' avowed intent in passing the LMRDA, to eliminate corruption as much as possible at all levels of union activity, their contention is contrary to the plain meaning of the statutory words. By its clear language, § 401(h) limits its application to officials of local labor organizations. § 401(h) provides:
If the Secretary, upon application of any member of a local labor organization, finds ... that the constitution and bylaws of such labor organization do not provide an adequate procedure for the removal of an elected officer guilty of serious misconduct, such officer may be removed, for cause shown and after notice and hearing, by the members in good standing voting in a secret ballot conducted by the officers of such labor organization in accordance with its constitution and bylaws insofar as they are not inconsistent with the provisions of this subchapter.
29 U.S.C. § 481(h) (emphasis supplied).
Precisely and unambiguously stated, only a member of a local organization may invoke this section. The term "labor organization," twice repeated in this section, is each time modified by the word "such," undoubtedly referencing the first mention of the term "labor organization" where it is boldly modified by the word "local." The procedure set out then applies, by its own terms, to local labor organizations.
Perhaps the most useful document illuminating Congressional purpose is a Conference Report which bears on the final draft that is used by the conferees in explaining to the entire Congress why the bill should pass. See American Jewish Congress v. Kreps, 574 F.2d 624, 629 n. 36 (D.C.Cir.1978). The Statement of the Managers on the part of the House attached to the Conference Report acknowledges the differences between the two bills under discussion here:
Subsection (b) of the conference substitute deals with removal of officers guilty of serious misconduct. The Senate bill provides that where the Secretary, upon application of a member of a local union, finds after a hearing that the constitution and bylaws of the local union do not provide an adequate procedure for the removal of an elected officer guilty of serious misconduct, such officer may be removed, for cause shown and after notice and opportunity for a hearing, by the members of the union voting in a secret ...