Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

HARRISON v. AFL-CIO

June 7, 1978

BONZELL HARRISON
v.
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR AND CONGRESS OF INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATIONS; THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES; THE DISTRICT COUNCIL #33 AND LOCAL 54



The opinion of the court was delivered by: LUONGO

 LUONGO, J.

 This is an action under Title I of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 411-415, for unlawful suspension and expulsion from a labor union. Jurisdiction is conferred by § 102 of the Act, 29 U.S.C. § 412. The case is before me on a motion by defendant Local 54 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) to dismiss the claim against it.

 Plaintiff's pro se complaint, even though embellished by ninety-five exhibits, is vague and ambiguous, but, in essence, alleges the following. On August 18, 1969, while serving as president of Local 54, plaintiff "asserted the jurisdictional rights [of Local 54] against Local 590," a local which apparently consists of certain clerical workers. Complaint para. 1; see id., Exhibit 5a. As a result of this "assertion of the jurisdictional rights against Local 590" (id. para. 2), the International President of AFSCME, Jerry Wurf, changed Local 54's jurisdiction (see id., Exhibits 7a, 8a) and had plaintiff removed from the union. In a June 5, 1970 telegram, Wurf

 
"issued a libelous and slanderous statement against the plaintiff's reputation, which barred the plaintiff from office, and at the same time prompt [sic] Local 54's Executive Board Members to bring criminal charges against the plaintiff on June 19, 1970, in accordance with Article V, Section 12 of the International Constitution, as to the aforesaid telegram, and eventually the Secretary-Treasurer of Local 54 improperly suspended the plaintiff from union membership on February 4, 1971, to annul the plaintiff's letter of August 8, 1969 of Local 54's jurisdiction for membership eligibility. . ., so that Mr. Jerry Wurf, International President could revoke Local 54's original Charter of August 1, 1968, and place Local 54's jurisdiction for membership eligibility inside the Cafeteria of the Dining Service Department of the University of Pennsylvania. . . ." Id. at para. 2.

 The June 5 telegram stated that plaintiff was "engaging in conduct imminently dangerous to the welfare of the local union" and ordered plaintiff's suspension from the office of president. Id., Exhibit 10a. After a hearing before an AFSCME judicial panel, which plaintiff repeatedly calls a "Kangaroo Court" (id. para. 3), plaintiff was expelled from the union on October 1, 1970. His appeal of that decision to the AFSCME International Convention was frustrated by Wurf, who changed the location of the convention from New York City to Houston, Texas, without notifying plaintiff. Id. para. 7. Plaintiff alleges a number of additional injuries, including deduction of union dues from his pay after he had been expelled (id. paras. 9, 11), a forced "non-scheduled vacation for twenty (20) working days, without pay" (id. para. 10), and dismissal from his job (id.), all of which were related to his suspension and expulsion from the union. On page 14 of the complaint, plaintiff states:

 
"The essence of the complaint, is that the Plaintiff invoked District Court's jurisdiction under 29 U.S.C. Section 412, since the Plaintiff was improperly suspended from union membership for asserting the jurisdictional rights against Local 590[.]"

 Plaintiff contends that the defendants' actions deprived him of rights secured under the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution in violation of §§ 101(a)(2), (5) and 102 of the LMRDA. He asks for compensatory and punitive damages and reinstatement in the union.

 Since Local 54 has filed an answer to the complaint, I interpret its motion as one for judgment on the pleadings under Federal Rule 12(c). Local 54 contends that the action against it should be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted because there are no allegations upon which the Local can be held liable and because the action is barred by the statute of limitations.

 A. The Merits

 Section 101(a) of the LMRDA, 29 U.S.C. § 411(a), provides:

 
. . . .
 
(2) Freedom of speech and assembly.-Every member of any labor organization shall have the right to meet and assemble freely with other members; and to express any views, arguments, or opinions; and to express at meetings of the labor organization his views, upon candidates in an election of the labor organization or upon any business properly before the meeting, subject to the organization's established and reasonable rules pertaining to the conduct of meetings: 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 ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.