good faith in light of proposed amendments to the Constitution. Two amendments to Section 9C emerged at the 1991 Convention over which Defendant Lucassen presided. One version, proposed by a Canadian group, would provide for five-year terms "commencing thirty (30) days following election" and another version, proposed by an American group, would provide for five-year terms "commencing on the day of their inauguration." See Exhibit A to First Affidavit of George Vest, Jr. These amendments were not adopted by the General Convention, but were referred to a Constitutional convention. See First Affidavit of George Vest, Jr., at para. 15. Rather than waiting for the approval of the Constitutional convention, Defendant Lucassen implemented the proposal in total disregard of the union's determination.
Defendants' attempt to minimize the importance of these proposed amendments is utterly unavailing. Defendants may be correct that the "American" proposal contained a "golden parachute" for incumbent officers,
paying them until March 31, 1992 despite the fact that their terms would immediately expire after the election in the event that the amendment passed. However, complaints about the "golden parachute" contained in the "American" proposal are wholly irrelevant. Defendants' argument leaves intact the inescapable conclusion that the American proposal, like the Canadian proposal which Defendants ignore, was a clear effort to change the status quo in which officers remained in power until April. The preamble to the American proposal announces quite clearly that the amendment was predicated on the notion that "it would seem more reasonable for the newly elected General Executive Board Members to assume their duties immediately." See Exhibit A to First Affidavit of George Vest, Jr. Had the union contemplated that newly-elected officers could assume office immediately, the proposed amendments would have been unnecessary. Thus, the union's decision at the Convention to defer such a proposal should have indicated to Defendants that immediate installation was not appropriate, and the Defendants' decision to eject the Plaintiffs reveals the bad faith and unreasonableness of Defendants' actions.
In Bunz v. Moving Picture Machine Operators Protective Union, Local 224, supra, the Court of Appeals for this Circuit has stated quite clearly that a union "cannot immunize itself from discrimination simply by affording each member the 'mere naked right to cast a ballot'." 567 F.2d at 1121, citing Young v. Hayes, 195 F. Supp. 911, 916 (D.D.C. 1961). Rather, the Court stated that Section 101(a) of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, 29 U.S.C. § 411(a)(1), requires that the right of each union member to vote must be "meaningful". Id. (citations omitted). Specifically, the Court explained that the refusal to implement the result of a properly-conducted vote denies union members the equal right to suffrage guaranteed by the labor laws, and discriminates against those whose position is disfavored. Id. at 1122, citing Pignotti v. Local 3, Sheet Metal Workers, 343 F. Supp. 236 (D.Neb. 1972), aff'd, 477 F.2d 825 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 414 U.S. 1067, 38 L. Ed. 2d 472 , 94 S. Ct. 576 (1973) (union violated Section 101(a)(1) by calling for new votes after members defeated the motion because union refused to implement the negative vote of the union members).
The Defendants' unreasonable interpretation of the union's Constitution in this case violated the rights of union members to a fair and meaningful vote, as guaranteed by 29 U.S.C. § 411(a)(1), in two respects. First, the Defendants' unreasonable construction of the Constitution effectively invalidated the results of the 1986 election whereby the Plaintiff incumbents were elected to a five-year term of office, ending in April of 1992. The Defendants' actions are no different from ejecting an officer in the middle of his or her term, or from refusing to implement a disfavored election result. All that is different in this case is the fact that the Defendants have the right to succeed the Plaintiffs when their term rightfully commences. In other words, the fact that Defendants prevailed in the 1991 elections does not give them the right to eject elected officials prior to the expiration of their terms.
At bottom, the Defendant Lucassen has used his position to nullify the votes of the majority of the electorate in the 1986 election.
Defendants also violated Section 101(a)(1) in refusing to adhere to the union's decision at the 1991 election to defer consideration and implementation of proposals allowing newly-elected officers to assume their duties immediately after the October 1991 election. Defendants do not dispute that the union, by a democratic vote, determined to postpone any consideration of a proposal which would have changed the union's tradition of beginning the officers' new terms in the April following the convention. Rather than adhere to the members' determination that immediate installation deserved further study, Defendants decided to implement the proposal forthwith on their own initiative.
Defendants' attempt to justify overriding the convention's determination because of their fear of the Plaintiffs' alleged malfeasance. However, this argument is disingenuous at best. Both sides slung accusations of wrongdoing at the other during the campaign. Despite these accusations, the electorate decided not to implement a proposal allowing immediate succession. Thus, the Defendants cannot resort to a purity of heart defense in the face of the electorate's determination. By ignoring the members' vote at the 1991 Convention, Defendants have discriminated against the majority of members which determined to postpone consideration of the proposed amendments, and have effectively abrogated the rights guaranteed by Section 101(a)(1).
The Defendants also contend that no Section 101(a)(1) violation has occurred because there has been no discrimination or uneven application of the UBCJA Constitution. Under Defendants' reading of Calhoon v. Harvey, 379 U.S. 134, 139, 13 L. Ed. 2d 190 , 85 S. Ct. 292 (1964), their actions pass muster because their reading of the Constitution does not single out any particular group. Apparently, Defendants' actions are lawful because all union members are subject to the Defendants' new interpretations. The Court of Appeals in this Circuit has already rejected the Defendants' reading of Calhoon. The Bunz case construed the precedent in Calhoon and found that a union discriminates against its members when it denies some of them the right to vote, or when it refuses to implement the results of an election when the outcome is disfavored by those wielding power. Bunz, supra, 567 F.2d at 1121. As discussed above, this is precisely what occurred in this case.
For the reasons discussed herein, the Court finds that the Plaintiffs are entitled to declaratory judgment and hereby enjoins the Defendants from ejecting the incumbent Plaintiff officers Rogers, McMillan and Pierce from their respective offices in the UBCJA until the expiration of their five-year terms in April of 1992. Because the Court grants Plaintiffs the relief requested pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 411(a)(1), the remaining claims in the Complaint are rendered moot. The Court shall issue an Order of even date herewith consistent with the foregoing Opinion.
ORDER - November 20, 1991, Filed
Upon consideration of the Plaintiffs' Motion for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief, the Defendants' Opposition thereto, the record herein, the applicable law, and for the reasons articulated in this Court's Opinion issued of even date herewith, it is, by this Court, this 20th day of November, 1991,
ORDERED that, for the reasons expressed in the Court's Opinion of even date herewith, the Plaintiffs' Motion for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief shall be, and hereby is, GRANTED; and it is
FURTHER ORDERED that the Plaintiffs Rogers, McMillan, and Pierce shall be restored to their respective offices in the union forthwith, and shall complete the remainder of the terms without further interference by the Defendants; and it is
FURTHER ORDERED that the above-captioned case shall be, and hereby is, DISMISSED from the dockets of this Court.