clause contained in § 411(a)(4) is permissive rather than mandatory; (2) the exhaustion requirement should be waived in this case on grounds that the internal procedures available to plaintiffs are not reasonable, but wholly illusory; and (3) the exhaustion requirement is in any event not applicable herein for reason that it is explicitly limited to a four-month period and more than four months had elapsed between the time Scrapchansky filed his charges and plaintiffs commenced the instant lawsuit.
I do not agree. As to satisfaction of the exhaustion requirement in this case, I do not think it enough absent an adverse decision by the Union trial board that a hearing on Scrapchansky's charges was not held within the four-month period. If the exhaustion clause is to be at all meaningful, it must be deemed to contemplate at least some affirmative action or complaint by plaintiffs within the intra-Union framework prior to resort to the federal courts. Here, all that has transpired is that plaintiffs have waited more than four months for a hearing on Scrapchansky's charges. No trial board decision has issued and plaintiffs have lodged no formal internal challenge to the hearing or its procedural aspects. In such circumstances, I do not consider that plaintiffs can be deemed to have satisfied the intent of the exhaustion clause.
I of course recognize that the exhaustion requirement in question is not rigid, and that the extent to which a union member will be required to exhaust internal procedures is a matter within the Court's discretion. Semancik v. United Mine Workers of America, supra at 151; DeTroy v. American Guild of Variety Artists, 286 F.2d 75 (2d Cir. 1961); Pearl v. Tarantola, supra at 292. I further recognize that waiver of the exhaustion requirement has been deemed particularly appropriate in factual circumstances akin to those alleged by plaintiffs herein. See Semancik v. United Mine Workers of America, supra at 150-151. But in the posture of this case, I am not persuaded that waiver should be embraced by the Court.
Given the testimony of Thomas Fagan, President of Teamsters Local 249, as to how pertinent provisions of the Union Constitution and By-Laws have been and will be applied, it is entirely possible that plaintiffs will be vindicated in this matter by the Union trial board. Moreover, while plaintiffs have demonstrated sharp differences in philosophy and opinion between themselves and the Union leadership, they have failed to make a compelling showing that the Scrapchansky hearing is a charade or that any internal action they might pursue would be useless or that intra-Union remedial procedures are unavailable or illusory. See Falcone v. Dantinne, supra. In the absence of such a showing, and in light of plaintiffs' failure to pursue any internal relief, I believe that the Union initially should be allowed to hear and determine the charges filed by Scrapchansky without judicial interference. In this regard, the Court is mindful of the proposition that Congress, in enacting LMRDA, did not intend to supplant union self-regulatory devices with wholesale judicial intervention, but rather sought to encourage the resolution of internal disputes within the framework of union government itself. See Gartner v. Soloner, 220 F. Supp. 115 (E.D. Pa. 1962); see also, S.Rep. 187, 86th Cong., 1st Sess. 7 (1959). As Judge Rosenberg observed in Webb v. Donaldson, 214 F. Supp. 142, 144 (W.D. Pa. 1962), ". . . 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."
This Court heretofore has required that unions undertake the responsibility of controlling or disciplining members who disregard, or encourage others to disregard, valid no-strike clauses contained in collective bargaining agreements. See Eazor Express v. Teamsters Local 249, 376 F. Supp. 841 (W.D. Pa. 1974), modified 520 F.2d 951 (3d Cir. 1975). The Union in this case is attempting to discharge that responsibility by conducting a hearing on charges of contractual interference filed against plaintiffs by another member. Plaintiffs are here attempting to enjoin the operation of nothing less than the very mechanism by which the Union endeavors to meet the obligation that has been imposed upon it. In these circumstances, as distinguished from efforts to obtain review of an adverse trial board decision, enjoin the imposition of sanctions or obtain judicial relief where affirmative internal measures have proved fruitless, I do not believe intervention by a federal court is warranted or proper absent a compelling showing of extreme necessity. Plaintiffs have not made such a showing.
The injunctive relief sought by plaintiffs in this action will be denied without prejudice, and the Union will be permitted to complete its hearing on, and decide the merits of, the charges filed by Scrapchansky. In this, we trust that the Union will proceed with an acuity that the concept of union responsibility pertains in the instant LMRDA Bill of Rights context with no less force than in the context of the regulatory/disciplinary duty which it is endeavoring to discharge.
An appropriate Order will be entered in accordance with the foregoing memorandum.
Hubert I. Teitelbaum United States District Judge
AND NOW, to-wit, this 9th day of March, 1976, in accordance with the foregoing memorandum of decision in the above-captioned case, IT IS ORDERED that the injunction sought by plaintiffs be and the same is hereby denied and their complaint is hereby dismissed without prejudice.
Hubert I. Teitelbaum United States District Judge