including members of other locals in the same international union.
Local unions clearly have unique, local interests, which differ from local to local in the same international. Both sides agree that within the IBEW there are construction locals, mixed locals,
and non-construction locals. The IBEW has locals in geographically diverse parts of the country and its local members work in diverse industries under diverse economic conditions. Plaintiffs themselves admit that local unions have diverse opinions on many issues, such as binding arbitration. Plaintiffs Motion for Summary Judgment at 32.
Plaintiffs argue that outside contributions from members of other locals in the IBEW encourage "grassroots political change, the process by which new policies spread from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, gaining support at local levels." Plaintiffs Motion for Summary Judgment at 32. They insist that members of the same international union, although members of different locals, should be allowed to influence each other.
The question for the Court is whether it is reasonable for local unions with local interests to limit the possibility of undue influence over their elections and their leadership. This Court believes that it is reasonable. Just as the international union in Sadlowski could protect itself from undue influence from outside the international, id. at 121, so to can local unions protect themselves from undue influence from outside the local. While communication between local unions is positive, and not prohibited by the rules in question, contributions from outside the local aimed at influencing a local election and swaying its leaders may legitimately be banned, even if the contributions come from members of other locals in the same international.
The Court, therefore, holds that the regulations barring non-members from contributing is reasonable, and therefore valid under § 101(a)(2). The Court makes no distinction between members of different local unions, travelers, and retired members of the local union. All are outsiders to the local union and are prone to have interests separate from the members of the local union holding the election.
Travelers are just as likely to have interests that differ from members of the local union holding an election as are other non-members that are members of different locals in the international union. Indeed, there is more of a chance that travelers, as opposed to non-members of the local that are members of the international union and working in their own home local, will have interests contrary to local union interests at election time. This is because travelers are generally concerned with short term economic issues while the permanent members of the local holding the election are more likely to be concerned with long term interests.
Similarly, retired members have different interests than working members. Allied Chemical and Alkali Workers of America, Local 1 v. Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co., 404 U.S. 157, 172-175, 30 L. Ed. 2d 341, 92 S. Ct. 383 (1971). The primary issue for retirees is their retirement benefits. Id. at 173. This is not necessarily the most important issue for working members. The retired members are in no different, or better, position than any other group that would seek to influence local union elections through contributions. Moreover, and most importantly, the Supreme Court noted in Sadlowski that one of the plaintiffs was a retired member of the Steelworkers and still held that he was an outsider. Sadlowski, 457 U.S. at 106 n. 3., 125.
Plaintiffs also challenge the mandatory campaign contribution disclosure requirements promulgated by the union. As stated above, the union requires that any candidate for local election that spends more than $ 100 on a campaign must disclose the source of his funds. The union contends that the requirement is necessary to prevent fraud and to make sure that only local members are contributing. The list of campaign contributions is filed with the International Secretary and that list is available to opposing candidates upon request.
Plaintiffs argue that the disclosure rules are unreasonable because the union leadership can identify, and discriminate against, the supporters of those running for office.
Defendant argues that the Steelworkers had similar disclosure requirements in Sadlowski and note that the district court responsible for supervising the 1991 Teamsters' election has upheld similar disclosure requirements. United States v. International Bhd. of Teamsters, 742 F. Supp. 94, 105 (S.D.N.Y. 1990) ("In order to . . . ensure honest, fair, and free elections, such disclosure is essential"). Furthermore, the union points out that campaign disclosure is legal under the First Amendment in the federal election context, see Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 46 L. Ed. 2d 659, 96 S. Ct. 612 (1976), and therefore it must be legal under the lower standard imposed by the LMRDA.
Plaintiffs reply that the IBEW is different from the Teamsters and the Steelworkers because the IBEW is a construction union that assigns job through local hiring halls.
The hiring halls are controlled by the local union officials. Because the hiring is controlled by the local officials, plaintiffs contend that there is a possibility of discrimination against local members who support union dissidents.
The plaintiffs also note that minor political parties do not have to disclose their financial supporters in federal elections if there is a "reasonable probability that the compelled disclosure of a party's contributors' names will subject them to threats, harassment, or reprisals." Buckley, 424 U.S. 1, 74, 46 L. Ed. 2d 659, 96 S. Ct. 612; see also Brown v. Socialist Workers '74 Campaign (Ohio), 459 U.S. 87, 74 L. Ed. 2d 250, 103 S. Ct. 416 (1982).
The IBEW answers that the challengers in contested local union elections are not the equivalent of minor political parties that have no chance of winning local elections.
The union disputes that hiring hall discrimination occurs against backers of challengers in local elections.
Additionally, the union points out that there are a number of procedures in place to protest hiring hall discrimination, if, in fact, there is a problem in the hiring halls.
To resolve this second issue, the Court must again look to Sadlowski for guidance. The standard for resolving this question is the same as above: 1) does the rule interfere with a protected interest under § 101(a)(2); and 2) if so, is the rule "reasonable" under § 101(a)(2). 457 U.S. at 111.
It is questionable whether mandatory campaign contribution disclosure at the local union level has any negative impact on plaintiffs rights of free speech and association. However, there is no need to answer that question because disclosure of campaign contributors is clearly permitted as a "reasonable rule" under Sadlowski. 457 U.S. 102, 118, 130-131, 72 L. Ed. 2d 707, 102 S. Ct. 2339;
see also International Bhd. of Teamsters, 742 F. Supp. at 105. The five members of the majority in Sadlowski agreed that disclosure rules were permitted under § 101(a)(2). However, they thought that disclosure rules alone would not solve the problem of outside influence in union elections. Sadlowski, 457 U.S. at 118. "A disclosure requirement ensures only that union members know [that candidates who received funds from outside the union might still be beholden to outsiders]. It does nothing to eradicate the threat of outside influence." Id. The four dissenters also agreed that a disclosure rule was permitted under § 101(a)(2). Justice White, writing for Justices Burger, Brennan and Blackmun stated
A requirement of disclosure of all contributions, together with a ceiling on contributions, would avoid outside corruption without trampling on the rights of members to raise reasonable sums for their election campaigns. Such rules would honor both purposes of the legislation: protecting against outside influence and empowering members to express their views and to challenge established leadership.