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DENOV v. CHICAGO FED. OF MUSICIANS

June 11, 1981

SAM DENOV AND BURL LANE, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CHICAGO FEDERATION OF MUSICIANS, LOCAL 10-208, AFM, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Sam Denov and Burl Lane ("plaintiffs") are members of the two defendant labor unions, American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada ("AFM") and its local affiliate, Chicago Federation of Musicians, Local 10-208, AFM ("CFM"). At its June 1980 annual convention AFM adopted a membership dues increase. In this action plaintiffs claim that increase was enacted in violation of three provisions*fn1 of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 ("LMRDA"), 29 U.S.C. § 411-415. AFM has moved to dismiss the complaint in its entirety. For the reasons stated in this memorandum opinion and order AFM's motion is granted in part and denied in part.

Facts

AFM's membership comprises nearly 300,000 professional musicians. CFM is one of some 500 AFM local unions that send delegates to AFM's conventions, in accordance with Article 5 of the AFM Constitution (the "Constitution"):

  All locals of 200 members or less shall be entitled
  to one delegate. All locals of not less than 201
  members and not more than 400 members shall be
  entitled to two delegates. All locals of more than
  400 members shall be entitled to three delegates. A
  merged local . . . shall be entitled to one
  additional delegate.

Under that provision CFM, a merged local with 11,156 members, was entitled to 4 of the 994 delegates to the June 1980 AFM convention.*fn2

Delegate voting at AFM conventions is conducted in three ways under the Constitution and AFM by-laws (the "by-laws"):

    1. Voting for AFM officers and delegates to the
  national AFL-CIO convention is by secret ballot, with
  each local allotted up to 10 votes, depending on the
  size of its membership.
    2. All other business is conducted by voice vote of
  all delegates, subject to the roll call provision
  next described.
    3. Upon demand of 30 individual delegates or 15
  locals, a roll call vote is conducted on proposed
  amendments to the Constitution or by-laws. In such
  voting each local casts as many votes as it has
  members.

Before the June 1980 convention AFM was experiencing financial difficulties, in large part attributable to the expense of conducting annual conventions.*fn3 Beginning in June 1979 AFM's International Executive Board (the "Board"), the 1979 convention finance committee and AFM's President considered various proposals to correct the problem.

In the spring of 1980 the Board's "Recommendation No. 1," drafted by the President, was "filed" for consideration at the June 1980 convention, and its text appeared in the May 1980 issue of AFM's membership newspaper. Before the opening of the convention the entire Board approved the draft with modifications. In its final form "Amended Recommendation No. 1" (the "amendment") called for a uniform work dues increase under which each member's dues would be increased by 1% of his or her scale wages.*fn4 Under the amendment each local in whose jurisdiction such wages are earned collects the entire amount, retains one-half for itself and distributes one-half to AFM. Any local may petition the Board for a waiver of the increase.

On June 17, 1980 the amendment was "put to a vote" on the floor of the convention. It was adopted by a voice vote, no demand for a roll call having been made. Consequently CFM members are now required to pay dues equal to 3% (rather than 2%) of their scale wages. About 40 other locals have ...


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