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AMALGAMATED CLOTHING WORKERS OF AMERICA RANK & FIL

September 10, 1971

Amalgamated Clothing Workers Of America, Rank And File Committee, et al., Plaintiffs
v.
Amalgamated Clothing Workers Of America, Philadelphia Joint Board, et al., Defendants


Lord, Jr., Ch. J.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: LORD, JR.

LORD, JR., Ch. J..

The Court has been called upon by plaintiffs, self-styled dissident members of the defendant union, to enjoin a nominating meeting scheduled for September 8, 1971, *fn1" at which business agent candidates may be nominated; to enjoin the enforcement of certain articles and sections of Union bylaws; and other declaratory and injunctive relief. The thrust of plaintiffs' complaint is that the articles complained of vest in the Union's Board of Directors such power over elections as to have a chilling effect on the First Amendment rights of the plaintiffs; and that eligibility requirements for nomination are repugnant to the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, 73 Stat. 519 (1959), 29 U.S.C.A. § 401 et seq. (hereinafter LMRDA).

 Because the bylaws complained of are alleged to violate not only sections of the LMRDA, but also certain First Amendment rights secured outside the Act, we shall examine each bylaw and the claim made under it.

 Article XII, § 2 *fn2" states, "That the Board of Directors shall supervise all nominations and meetings and elections under the direction of the President and Secretary of the Joint Board." We can only assume, inasmuch as it is not set out, that the complaint with regard to this section deals with the manner in which an earlier nominating session was adjourned without a dissident candidate being nominated. (This meeting was rescheduled for September 8, 1971, the meeting enjoined by our order.) At the prorogued meeting, which both factions agree was adjourned because of disorders arising on the floor and podium, the incumbent agent had been nominated to succeed himself, and the dissident candidate's drive cut off by the adjournment.

 It is unquestioned that a primary purpose of the LMRDA was to guarantee to union members the same rights of association, speech and election which we all share. Title I of the Act, frequently referred to as the bill of rights section, was introduced as an amendment to the LMRDA by Senator McClellan, who, during debate on § 101(a)(1) said:

 
"The select Committee found time and again the denial of the right to vote, the denial of the right to work, the denial of the right to have a voice, the denial of the basic human rights on which our very freedom was founded." *fn3"

 He had referred to it earlier in the Senate debates as:

 
" Bringing to the conduct of union affairs and to union members the reality of some of the freedoms from oppression that we enjoy as citizens by virtue of the Constitution of the United States, which incidentally does not make an exception for union members." *fn4"

 Recognizing the full weight of the Congressional intent that this legislation was intended to protect the unionist in his choice of leaders, we feel that no danger to this choice exists here. Not only was the dissident candidate unable to be nominated, his incumbent opponent's nomination was also voided at the disrupted meeting by the fact of its adjournment. Both candidates may now present themselves to the union membership for nomination and possible election.

 The next section complained of, XII § 5, states in full:

 
"That no candidate running for office in the Philadelphia Joint Board or affiliated local union shall be a party to or attend any gathering where refreshments are served free. A member's ability and record should be the only basis upon which he seeks to be elected, and it is detrimental and against the dignity of the office to spend money to finance a campaign to be elected. Any candidate found guilty of infraction of this ruling will have his name stricken from the ballot and his candidacy nullified." *fn5"

 We fail to see how a rule against a candidate, whether incumbent or dissident, serving refreshments, attending a meeting where they are served, or raising money for a campaign violates the rights of the plaintiffs. They are still free "to vote in elections or referendums of the labor organization, to attend membership meetings, and to participate in the deliberations and voting upon the business of such meetings, subject to reasonable rules and regulations in such organization's constitution and bylaws." Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, 29 U.S.C.A. § 411(a)(1). Nor do we see how these rules violate the right of "every member of any labor organization to have the right to meet and assemble freely with other members; and to express any views, arguments, or opinions; . . ." Id. at § 411(a). Members are still free to campaign for office, express opinions, attend meetings, and make known their displeasure. They are forbidden only to raise campaign funds and serve refreshments at meetings. While such may go against our knowledge of the American campaign tradition, we do not feel that it violates either the Constitution or the Act.

 Article XII, § 6, the next bylaw attacked, states that "Any leaflet, letter or card printed for distribution for campaign purposes must first be presented to the Board of Directors." Plaintiffs have cited Bantam Books, Inc. v. Sullivan, 372 U.S. 58, 66, 9 L. Ed. 2d 584, 83 S. Ct. 631 (1963) for the unexceptionable proposition that "freedoms of expression . . . are vulnerable to gravely damaging yet barely visible encroachments." Here, however, the dissidents have made no offering of any form of discrimination. The Board merely asks that the material be submitted to ...


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