United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, E.D
August 9, 1963
JAMES LUCAS, PLAINTIFF,
TED KENNY, PRESIDENT, DISTRICT COUNCIL OF CARPENTERS, AND JOHN LUCAS AND THOMAS RUST, BUSINESS AGENT AND FINANCIAL SECRETARY, RESPECTIVELY, OF LOCAL 1693, MILLWRIGHTS MACHINERY AND ERECTORS UNION, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Will, District Judge.
Plaintiff James Lucas brings this action against defendants
Kenny, John Lucas, and Rust as individuals and against Kenny in
his capacity as President of the District Council of Carpenters
and against Lucas and Rust as Business Manager and Financial
Secretary, respectively, of Local 1693, Millwrights Machinery and
Erectors Union, seeking to recover the sum of $12,288.48, an
amount alleged to be due to him as a result of defendants'
failure to assign jobs to plaintiff in 1961, 1962 and 1963.
Plaintiff alleges that defendants had an obligation to secure
work for him and that work was obtained for out-of-state workers
despite the availability of unemployed local members, including
plaintiff, in violation of the rules and regulations of the
union. The defendants move to dismiss the complaint, arguing,
among other theories which need not be considered here, that this
Court lacks jurisdiction in this matter.
Plaintiff asserts that jurisdiction lies in this court under
Section 102 of Title 1 of the Labor-Management Reporting and
Disclosure Act of 1959, 29 U.S.C. § 412. This section
establishes the Federal District Court as the proper forum for
"any person whose rights secured by the provisions of this
sub-chapter have been infringed by any violation of this
subchapter." The rights referred to are specifically stated in
what is known as the Bill of Rights section of the Act, Section
411: to vote in elections, to nominate candidates, to participate
in deliberation of issues, freedom of speech and assembly, to
participate in the determination of dues, initiation fees and
assessments, to due process in actions resulting in fine,
suspension, expulsion, or other discipline, and to receive copies
of the collective
bargaining agreement. Thus, the Bill of Rights guarantees to
union members certain basic rights relating to the internal
affairs of the union. Tomko v. Hilbert, 288 F.2d 625 (3 Cir.
The complaint herein charges the defendants with violating
their obligation to secure and assign work to the plaintiff, a
subject unrelated to the guarantees provided in the Bill of
Rights and the areas of union democracy with which it is
concerned. Instead, the acts complained of allege a failure on
the part of the union and its officers to live up to promises
made in the collective bargaining agreement.
In Allen v. Armored Car Chauffeurs Union etc., 185 F. Supp. 492
(D.C.N.J. 1960), a union member brought an action against his
employer and the union under the Bill of Rights section for,
inter alia, the union's failure to prosecute a grievance. As in
the instant case, the union moved to dismiss for lack of
jurisdiction, contending that the Bill of Rights section applies
only to questions relating to the internal political and civil
rights which exist between the union and its members. The court
granted the motion, stating, 185 F. Supp. at page 494, "Nowhere in
Title 1 is there any mention whatever of a collective bargaining
agreement, or of a Union member's derivative rights thereunder,
save in Section 104. Section 104 merely gives the Union member
the right to receive from his Union a copy of the collective
bargaining agreement, and in nowise gives the member the right to
sue the Union to carry out the agreement."
A complaint challenged by a motion to dismiss must be viewed in
a manner most favorable to the plaintiff. As in the Allen case,
supra, the best possible interpretation which can be given to the
complaint in this action is that the allegations are sufficient
to establish a cause of action under Section 101(a)(5) of the
Act, which protects members against "improper disciplinary
action." The court in Allen, ruling that the complaint failed
even when viewed from this posture, said, 185 F. Supp. at pages
494-495, "The disciplinary action of which this Court is given
jurisdiction, as noted above, is not discharge from employment,
but the discipline of a member by the Union as to his
membership." Again, in the instant case, the union's actions do
not relate to the union-member relationship and are therefore not
reviewable under the jurisdiction of this Court, limited as it is
to cases arising under the Bill of Rights section.
Failing to come under the Act, the case is one of contract law
based on the collective bargaining agreement and, diversity of
citizenship not being claimed, the action falls outside the
jurisdiction of this Court. Accordingly, the defendants' motion
to dismiss must be granted. The complaint is dismissed.
An order consistent with the above will be entered.
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