This Court is being asked to intercede, actually to interfere, with the internal procedure of the subordinate lodges and the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen. It is being asked to prevent one of its proper officials from performing the duties which he is, by their constitution, authorized and empowered to do until December 31, 1962. As for the apprehension, expressed by the plaintiffs that the employer, not being limited or restrained, may negotiate and execute an unsatisfactory contract, I am aware that the employer's attorney was an observer at the presentation of the pleading in open court, and that being on notice, it appears neither likely nor reasonable that it would enter into an agreement which would be neither compliant to the constitution or to the free will (by ratification) of the employees generally. There is no averment that the Board of Directors was asked to speed up the determination because of the existence of an emergency. There is no reason, therefore, why this Court should act as a substitute for the Board of Directors.
Edward Joseph Hickey, Jr., a lawyer who has participated in legislative history in behalf of railroad unions affiliated with the Railway Labor Executives' Association, in an article entitled THE BILL OF RIGHTS OF UNION MEMBERS published in The Georgetown Law Journal, Volume 48, Number 2, 1959, aptly expressed my thinking in the following words at Pages 243 and 244:
'As stated previously, there is no more highly prized or traditionally enjoyed right than that of the members themselves, expressed in their union constitutions, to pass upon the grievances of their brother members. Trade unions have enjoyed such a procedure for many years, and it is by the voluntary action of the union members in adopting their own governing laws that this choice of procedure has been expressed.'
The Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, 29 U.S.C.A. 411(a) (4) in providing for the right of any member of a labor organization to institute an action in any court contains the proviso '* * * that any such member may be required to exhaust reasonable hearing procedures (but not to exceed a four month lapse of time) within such organization, before instituting legal or administrative proceedings against such organizations or any officer thereof * * *.' Chief Judge Lumbard of the Second Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Detroy v. American Guild of Variety Artists et al., 2 Cir., 286 F.2d 75, at page 78 (1961), construed this statute 'to mean that a member of a labor union who attempts to institute proceedings before a court or an administrative agency may be required by that court or agency to exhaust internal remedies of less than four months' duration before invoking outside assistance.' The requirement that internal remedies be first exhausted would not be a denial of due process. Smith v. General Truck Drivers, Warehousemen and Helpers Union Local 467, D.C., 181 F.Supp. 14 (1960); Ragland v. United Mine Workers of America, D.C., 188 F.Supp. 131 (1960).
The Brotherhood's constitution provides for a method of appeals and eventual determination finally by the Board of Directors or the Board of Appeals. By becoming a member of a union, one in effect makes a contract by which he is governed by the constitution and rules of that organization. Smith v. General Truck Drivers, Warehousemen and Helpers Union Local 467, supra.
Assuming all of the facts as averred in the application and motion are true, it seems abundantly clear that among the most treasured rights of trade unions is the right to be permitted to resolve their own internal problems before a court accepts jurisdiction of such matters. The available internal procedure has not been followed here to exhaustion. The right should be sustained in a union and its membership to permit this to be done without obstruction by injunction. Accordingly, the Application for Relief and Motion for Injunction is hereby refused.
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