The opinion of the court was delivered by: Poos, District Judge.
This is a class action by certain members of the United Mine
Workers of America (hereinafter UMW), brought under the Labor
Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, Section 304, 29
U.S.C.A., Section 464 (hereinafter LMRDA) seeking the dissolution
of an alleged trusteeship imposed by the UMW on District 12 of
Defendants have moved to dismiss the complaint for many and
diverse reasons. Plaintiffs have moved for summary judgment.
Plaintiffs allege that District 12 is a subordinate labor
organization within the meaning of Section 3(i) and 3(j) of
LMRDA, 29 U.S.C. § 402(i) and 402(j) and that District 12 has
been maintained in trusteeship within the meaning of Section 3(h)
of LMRDA, 29 U.S.C. § 402(h) since September 14, 1959, the
effective date of LMRDA, and for many years prior to that time.
Plaintiffs also allege that the trusteeship over District 12 is
not necessary for any allowable purpose under Section 302 of
LMRDA, 29 U.S.C. § 462 and must be presumed invalid under Section
304(c) of the Act, 29 U.S.C. § 464(c) since it has been in
existence for more than the 18 months. Section 304 of the Act,
29 U.S.C. § 464 authorizes a member of a labor organization
affected by a violation of Title III to sue for such relief as
may be appropriate.
Defendants contend that the Complaint should be dismissed
because the Plaintiffs have not alleged an exhaustion of
administrative remedies as provided by the Act. In analyzing
Title III of the LMRDA, 29 U.S.C. § 464, the Court finds no
requirement that prior to the commencement of a cause of action
plaintiff must exhaust the administrative remedies of the Act.
The Act establishes alternative avenues of relief to a union
member who desires to abolish a Trusteeship, i.e., through the
Secretary of Labor who then files suit, 29 U.S.C. § 464, or by
filing a private action, 29 U.S.C. § 464. One avenue envisions
the commencement of administrative proceedings, while the other
does not. Parks v. IBEW, 314 F.2d 886, (CA4, 1963), cert. denied,
372 U.S. 976, 83 S.Ct. 1111, 10 L.Ed.2d 142; Carpenters v. Brown,
343 F.2d 872 (CA10, 1965); Hotel and Restaurant Employees v. Del
Valle, 328 F.2d 885 (CA1, 1964), cert. denied, 379 U.S. 879, 85
S.Ct. 146, 13 L.Ed.2d 86; Schonfeld v. Raftery, 381 F.2d 446
(CA2, 1967). Defendants also allege that since Plaintiffs have
not exhausted intra-union remedies, the complaint must be
dismissed. Clearly this is not a ground for dismissal for two
reasons: (1) exhaustion of intra-union remedies is not a
prerequisite to initiation of a private suit to abolish a union
trusteeship under 29 U.S.C. § 464; and (2) there is no adequate
intra-union remedy in this case. See Lavender v. UMWA,
285 F. Supp. 869, 873 (D.C.), wherein the Court stated:
Defendants' argument that the Complaint should be dismissed
because plaintiffs have not alleged that the autonomy of District
12 has been suspended is without merit and is rejected.
Likewise, defendants' argument that this cause of action should
be dismissed because this is not a proper class action under
29 U.S.C. § 464, and because the requirements of Rule 23 and
23.2 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have not been
complied with is also not considered meritorious. Accordingly,
defendants' Motion to Dismiss this cause of action must be
The question now arises as to whether or not the plaintiffs are
entitled to summary judgment. Rule 56 of The Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure provides in pertinent part as follows:
". . . The judgment sought shall be rendered
forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no
genuine issue as to any material fact and that the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
In reviewing the pleadings and deposition on file, in addition
to the affidavits, the Court finds no genuine issue as to any
material fact, and that this cause of action is in the proper
posture for disposition by summary judgment.
The following facts have been elicited from the files before
All plaintiffs are members in good standing of the UMWA and its
locals within the jurisdiction of District 12. All plaintiffs are
working coal miners employed by signatories to collective
bargaining agreements with the UMWA and District 12.
District 12 was placed in "provisional" or "semi-autonomous"
status on February 27, 1933. The International Union is located
in Washington, D.C., and District 12 is located in Springfield,
Illinois. Kenneth Wells has been appointed President and
Secretary-Treasurer of District 12 since the President and
Secretary-Treasurer of District 12 are not elected by the Union
membership in the District.
The coal mines at which members of District 12 are employed,
ship coal in interstate and foreign commerce.
District 12 has entered into collective bargaining agreements
with the Illinois Coal Operators Association and such contracts
remain in effect to the extent not modified by subsequent
agreements. District 12 has been certified by the NLRB as the
collective bargaining agent for employees in an industry
affecting commerce. District 12's officers and representatives
participate in the "settlement of local and District disputes"
under the collective bargaining agreement and otherwise deal with
employers concerning wages, hours and conditions of employment.
Given these undisputed facts, there are two legal questions
before the Court:
(1) Whether District 12 is a "labor organization within the
meaning of 29 U.S.C. § 402(i); and
(2) Whether District 12 is and has been maintained in a
"Trusteeship" within the meaning of 29 U.S.C. § 402(h).
The definition of labor organization is set out in Title 29,
U.S.C. § 402(i) as follows:
"A labor organization engaged in an industry
affecting commerce and includes any organization of
any kind, any agency, or employee representation,
committee, group, association, or plan so engaged in
which employees participate and which exists for the
purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with
employers concerning grievances, labor disputes,
wages, rates of pay, hours, or other terms, or
conditions of employment, and any conference, general
committee, joint or system board, or joint council so
which is subordinate to a national or international
labor organization, other than a State or local
The evidence before this Court clearly establishes the labor
organization status of District 12. Namely, that District 12 has
entered into collective bargaining agreements with employers
governing wages, rates of pay, hours and grievances. The officers
and representatives of District 12 resolve or attempt to resolve
labor disputes which fall outside the grievance procedure.
Further, District 12 and its officers have other contract
responsibilities in representing employees concerning wages,
hours and working conditions. District 12 has applied for, and
has been granted, a tax exempt status as a "labor organization",
Section 501(c)(5), Internal Revenue Code of 1954.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has granted enforcement to
an order of the National Labor Relations Board entered under
Section 8(b) of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C.
Section 158(b), (which applies only to "labor organizations"),
directing District 12 to cease and desist from unfair labor
practices, NLRB v. District 12, UMW 76 LRRM 2828 (CA7, 1971),
enforcing 177 NLRB No. 27. In addition, the affidavits filed
herein conclusively show that coal mined by signatories to the
Wage Agreement is shipped in interstate commerce.
The argument of the UMW is that District 12 is merely an
administrative arm of the international union. Even if District
12 is an administrative arm of the international union, it does
not make it any less of a labor organization. Title 29 U.S.C.
Section 402(i) points out that a district may be a labor
organization regardless of whether it is engaged in the specified
activities solely by itself or as a "subordinate to a national or
international labor organization." In this regard it is
significant that the courts have repeatedly held that other UMW
Districts, similarly situated, are "labor organizations".
Monborne, et al v. UMWA (Civil Action No. 71-690, W.D.Pa., 1972);
Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation v. UMWA (Civil Action No.
71-566, W.D.Pa.); Hodgson v. District 6, UMWA (S.D.Ohio, Civil
Action No. 69-100, 1971); Semancik v. UMWA, 324 F. Supp. 1292
(W.D.Pa. 1971). Accordingly, this Court finds as a matter of law,
that District 12 of the UMW is a labor organization engaged in
commerce within the meaning of Title 29 U.S.C. § 402(i).
The issue now arises as to whether or not District 12 is and
has been maintained in a "Trusteeship" within the meaning of
29 U.S.C. § 402(h). "Trusteeship" is defined as:
". . . any receivership, trusteeship, or other method
of supervision or control whereby a labor
organization suspends the autonomy otherwise
available to a subordinate body under its
constitution or bylaws."
The Initial Trusteeship Report filed by District 12 and the
International Union under protest in 1959 is evidence of the fact
that District 12 has been a "semi-autonomous" or "provisional"
District since 1933, and that UMW members within the District did
not have the right to elect their officers. The affidavits, in
addition to Exhibit A to the Complaint filed herein, establish
that the members who pay dues to District 12 do not elect the
District President and Secretary-Treasurer.
The Department of Labor, the agency charged with administering
and enforcing LMRDA, has stated:
"After a district has been established under the UMW
Constitution, it is entitled to exercise all the
autonomy granted to districts by that document . . .
The actions of the UMW in maintaining these districts
in provisional status constituted a suspension of
autonomy and a trusteeship within the meaning and
intent of Section 3(h) of the Act."
". . . all . . . UMW provisional and semi-autonomous
are considered as being under trusteeship and subject
to the provisions of Title III of the Act."
(See Exhibit 3.)
The Department of Labor's interpretation is entitled to great
weight. Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424, 91 S.Ct. 849, 28
L.Ed.2d 158 (1971); United States v. City of Chicago, 400 U.S. 8,
91 S.Ct. 18, 27 L.Ed.2d 9 (1970); Udall v. Tallman, 380 U.S. 1,
85 S.Ct. 792, 13 L.Ed.2d 616 (1965). The legislative history of
LMRDA requires a broad definition of trusteeship. In light of the
foregoing, the Court finds as a matter of law that District 12
exists in the form of a trusteeship within the meaning of
29 U.S.C. § 402(h). This Court finds that the trusteeship
over District 12 is not necessary for any allowable purpose under
Section 302 of LMRDA, 29 U.S.C. § 462, and must be presumed
invalid under Section 304(c) of the Act, 29 U.S.C. § 464(c) since
it has been in existence for more than 18 months.
Accordingly, Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment is hereby
granted. The Court further orders that:
(1) The Defendant International Union and officers of District
12 be enjoined from continuing the Trusteeship of District 12;
(2) The American Arbitration Association conduct secret ballot
nominations and an election within four months from the date of
this order for the offices of District President and District
(3) The American Arbitration Association have control over the
entire election process, including the creation of election rules
governing nominations, eligibility of candidates, resolution of
contested nominations and elections, campaigning, fair election
procedures, balloting and counting of the ballots, consistent
with the provisions of LMRDA.
(4) The American Arbitration Association certify to this Court
the results of this election within five months following the
entry of this Order;
(5) The Defendant International Union pay the entire expense
incurred by the American Arbitration Association in conducting
and supervising the nomination, election and certification of
(6) The funds of District 12 and the Defendant International
Union not be used directly or indirectly, to support the
candidacy of any person;
(7) Counsel for Plaintiffs be granted reasonable attorneys'
fees and costs of prosecution of this action.
© 1992-2003 VersusLaw Inc.