United States District Court, District of Columbia
DAVID W. NOBLE, Plaintiff,
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LETTER CARRIERS, AFL-CIO, Defendant.
L. FRIEDRICH United States District Judge
dispute arises from a membership ratification vote held in
the summer of 2017 by Defendant National Association of
Letter Carriers, AFL-CIO (“NALC”). Before the
Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Counts I, II, III,
IV, and V of Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint. Dkt.
19. For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant the
2017, NALC and the United States Postal Service
(“USPS”) agreed to a tentative collective
bargaining agreement (“CBA”) to replace their
expired agreement. First Am. Compl. ¶ 6, Dkt. 18. Under
the terms of NALC's constitution, NALC members must
ratify a new CBA before it goes into effect. Accordingly,
NALC held a ratification vote. NALC mailed ballots to certain
members in late June 2017, with completed ballots due by July
29, 2017. Id. ¶¶ 5, 9; Def.'s Mem. in
Support of Mot. to Dismiss at 3, Dkt. 19-1. Before the
ratification vote was completed, however, NALC member and
retired letter carrier David W. Noble (“Noble”),
acting pro se, challenged the vote, alleging various
violations of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure
The Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act
LMRDA applies to votes held by Defendant NALC, the exclusive
bargaining representative for city letter carriers employed
by USPS. The LMRDA provides that members of labor
organizations “shall have equal rights and
privileges” to participate in the organization's
elections and referendums, “subject to reasonable rules
and regulations in such organization's constitution and
bylaws.” 29 U.S.C. § 411(a)(1). The LMRDA also
states that members shall have the right to “assemble
freely with other members, ” “express any views,
” and “express [views] at meetings of the labor
organization, ” provided that “nothing herein
shall be construed to impair the right of a labor
organization to adopt and enforce reasonable rules as to the
responsibility of every member toward the organization as an
institution and to his refraining from conduct that would
interfere with its performance of its legal or contractual
obligations.” Id. § 411(a)(2). In
addition, labor organizations must “comply with all
reasonable requests of any candidate to distribute by mail or
otherwise at the candidate's expense campaign literature
in aid of such person's candidacy to all members in good
standing of such labor organization.” Id.
Noble, with Thomas Houff, filed the original complaint in
this action on June 27, 2017. Original Compl. ¶ 4, Dkt.
1. The original complaint asserted five counts. Count I
alleged that NALC “concealed from the membership”
the number of non-career City Carrier Assistants
(“CCAs”) that USPS could employ under the
proposed CBA. Id. ¶¶ 23-24. By not
releasing this information “until after the
ratification ballots were mailed, ” NALC allegedly
violated the LMRDA. Id. Count II also asserted an
LMRDA violation by alleging that “[u]known supporters
of [NALC President] Rolando interfered with and
prevented” Noble from internet live-streaming a
“rap session” meeting held in Atlantic City, New
Jersey on June 14, 2017. Id. ¶¶ 27-28.
Likewise, Counts III and IV asserted that NALC violated the
LMRDA by publishing false information about the tentative CBA
before the ratification vote and unlawfully excluding retired
members from the ratification vote. Id. ¶¶
31-32, 35-36. Finally, Count V alleged that NALC
“refus[ed] to permit opponents of ratification to use
NALC's email list, ” thus violating the LMRDA.
Id. ¶¶ 38-40.
relief, the plaintiffs requested that the Court
“[o]rder NALC to cancel the ratification referendum
begun during the week of June 19, 2017, ”
“[o]rder NALC to permit plaintiffs to use NALC's
list of members' email addresses” to oppose
ratification, and issue a declaratory judgment stating that
NALC violated the LMRDA. Id. ¶ 41.
TRO and Preliminary Injunction Motion
10, 2017, the plaintiffs moved for a temporary restraining
order requiring NALC “to refrain from opening the
[ratification] ballots” and for a preliminary
injunction requiring NALC “to cancel that ratification
referendum.” Pls.' Mot. for TRO & Prelim. Inj.
at 1, Dkt. 5. At the motion hearing, the Court found that the
plaintiffs “ha[d] not established a likelihood of
success on the merits of their claims, ” nor had they
established that the balance of harms weighed in their favor
or that “it [was] in the public interest for the Court
to enjoin the counting of the ratification vote.” Tr.
of Mot. Hr'g at 127-28, July 28, 2017, Dkt. 15.
Court acknowledged that plaintiffs could suffer irreparable
harm because “the Court assumes, along with the
parties, that the challenged ratification vote on the
proposed agreement [cannot] be undone if
the instant case proceeds on the merits.” Id.
at 142 (emphasis added); see also Id. at 128
(acknowledging potential harm because “there can't
be a do-over” of the ratification vote). Because that
concern “d[id] not outweigh the other preliminary
injunction factors, ” the Court denied the motion.
Id.; see also Order, Dkt. 14.
result, the ratification vote continued as scheduled. On
August 7, 2017, NALC announced that voters ratified the CBA
by a vote of 78, 935 in favor and 4, 732 ...