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GARTNER v. SOLONER

July 3, 1963

Robert A. GARTNER
v.
Jack SOLONER, President and Robert C. Brennan, Secretary-Treasurer, and American Bakery & Confectionary Workers International Union, AFLCIO, Local 492



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WOOD

This is an action brought under the provisions of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, 29 U.S.C.A. §§ 401-531. More specifically, the plaintiff seeks to enjoin the defendants' actions in fining and suspending him from membership in the defendant union for a period of one year.

It is the plaintiff's contention that the fines and suspension are in violation of § 411(a)(2), which protects a labor union member's rights to freedom of speech and assembly. *fn1"

 1. The plaintiff is employed as a maintenance worker by the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) in the City of Philadelphia.

 2. The defendants are the officers of Local 492, American Bakery & Confectionary Workers International Union, AFL-CIO, which is the Union at Nabisco.

 3. Until March 8, 1963, the date of his suspension, the plaintiff was a member in good standing of Local 492.

 4. In November of 1961, local elections were to take place and the plaintiff, who is a 'spokesman' or 'leader' of a minority group within the Local Union, was a candidate for trustee.

 5. Prior to the election, the defendants, Soloner and Brennan, informed the membership that unless a member was 'paid-up' both in fines and dues, he would not be permitted to vote in the pending election.

 6. On November 18, 1961, some four days prior to the election, the plaintiff, who was a paid-up member and eligible to vote, led a group of ineligible members to the vicinity of the offices of the Local and they proceeded to picket the offices of the Local for 30 minutes.

 7. The banners carried by the pickets bore the legend: 'Brennan and Soloner Dictators of Philadelphia.' These signs were addressed to the Secretary of Labor and the United States Attorney General.

 8. The plaintiff was defeated in the election for the office of trustee.

 9. He then began writing a series of letters to the defendant officers, requesting an 'appeal' of the election and alleging that members of the Local were illegally deprived of voting rights. This 'appeal' was held to be without merit by the Local Officers.

 10. Subsequently, the plaintiff filed a self-styled appeal to the International Union's Secretary-Treasurer in Washington, D.C., which initiated an investigation of the matter.

 11. The appeal was denied by the International because the plaintiff failed to follow the Union Constitution, which requires specific charges ...


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