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RYAN v. INTERNATIONAL BHD. OF ELECTRICAL WKRS.

May 7, 1965

JOHN J. RYAN ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS, ETC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Decker, District Judge.

This suit, for an injunction and damages, is being brought by three former members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (I. B. E. W.), Local Union #134 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (Local 134) and several individuals in their official capacities with either the I. B. E. W. or Local 134.

The complaint alleges that the plaintiffs were expelled from the I. B. E. W. and Local 134 in a manner which violates the plaintiffs' rights under Section 102 of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, Public Law 86-257, 29 U.S.C. § 401, 402, 411 and 412. As alleged, the basis for the expulsions was violation of Article XXVII, Section 1 of the I. B. E. W. Constitution, which is a part of the by-laws of Local 134; this Article reads as follows:

  "Any member resorting to the courts for redress
  for any injustice which he may believe has been
  done him by the I. B. E. W. or any of its L.U.'s,
  must first make use of the process available to
  him, including any appeal or appeals from any
  decision against him, which may be open to him
  within the I. B. E. W. and, failing to do so, he
  shall stand automatically expelled and without
  rights of any kind."

The plaintiffs allege that Article XXVII, Section 1, violates their rights under 29 U.S.C. § 411(a)(4), which provides, in part, the following:

  "No labor organization shall limit the right of
  any member thereof to institute an action in any
  court * * *: Provided, That any such member may be
  required to exhaust reasonable hearing procedures
  (but not to exceed a four-month lapse of time)
  within such organization, before instituting legal
  or administrative proceedings against such
  organizations or any officer thereof * * *."

29 U.S.C. § 411(b) provides:

  "Any provision of the constitution and bylaws of
  any labor organization which is inconsistent with
  the provisions of this section shall be of no
  force or effect."

The defendants have moved to dismiss the complaint. The plaintiffs have moved for summary judgment on the issue of liability. The undisputed facts upon which this action is based are set forth in the affidavit of Russell H. Olson, Assistant to the President of the defendant I. B. E. W., these facts are the following:

1. Plaintiffs were pari-mutuel clerks working at race tracks in the Chicago area; they were officers and members of the Pari-mutuel Clerks Unit of Local Union 134, I. B. E. W.

2. In the summer of 1963, a negotiation committee from the Pari-mutuel Clerks Unit was attempting to negotiate a new agreement with a representative of the race track owners.

3. By a vote of its membership, the local unit rejected the proposals made by the representative and, finally, voted to strike.

4. On August 14, 1963, in accordance with the I. B. E. W.'s constitution, the local unit sought the permission of the International President to strike; this permission was denied on August 15, 1963.

5. At the same time, it was determined that the local was required to submit to compulsory arbitration, as provided in the existing collective bargaining agreement. The plaintiffs contended that the existing agreement did not require the local to arbitrate. This contention was made to, and was denied by, the parent union, the International Vice President of the Sixth District, and the International President.

6. On September 6, 1963, as the local was being engaged in compulsory arbitration, the plaintiffs filed their suit in the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against Local 134 and its officers. This suit asked that the Court enjoin the defendants from proceeding with the arbitration, which the plaintiffs claimed was ...


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