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Grant v. Chicago Truck Drivers

decided: November 17, 1986.

ROBERT GRANT AND TROY FINN, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
CHICAGO TRUCK DRIVERS, HELPERS & WAREHOUSE WORKERS UNION, ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, No. 83 C 5778, Charles P. Kocoras, Judge.

Author: Cummings

Before CUMMINGS and POSNER, Circuit Judges, and GORDON, Senior District Judge.*fn*

CUMMINGS, Circuit Judge

This case comes to us on appeal following the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants Chicago truck Drivers Union ("the Union"), the executive director of the Union, and individual officers of the Union who also serve on the Union's Board of Governors, and against plaintiffs Robert Grant and Troy Finn, two members of the Union.*fn1 This appeal requires us to determine whether the failure to have general membership meetings violates Title I of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act ("LMRDA"), 29 U.S.C. ยงยง 401 et seq., as claimed by plaintiffs. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm the judgment of the district court determining that the LMRDA had not been violated.

I

The Union's constitution provides that membership meetings shall be called whenever the Executive Director or the Board of Governors so designates. The constitution sets forth two types of permissible membership meetings: general meetings and sectional meetings. General meetings have a quorum requirement of 25% of the members eligible to vote, and there is no limitation on the type of business that may be transacted at general meetings. Sectional meetings do not have a quorum requirement but are limited in that members at these meetings cannot transact business other than relating to the negotiation and enforcement of collective bargaining agreements. Sectional meetings are comprised of members at a particular place of employment or within a particular craft, class, or division of work. Significantly, the constitution does not require either type of meeting to be held within any specified interval of time.

The record indicates that Union has not held a general meeting since December 10, 1972. there have, however, been sectional meetings held at unspecified intervals. Except for four large meetings in 1978, each sectional meeting has been open only to members working for a single employer or a small number of employers. The percentage of the membership invited to attend these sectional meetings in particular years is as follows:

Year % Membership invited to attend

1979 2%

1980 10%

1981 10%

1983 22%

No agendas are announced in advance of the sectional meetings and minutes are frequently not taken.

Before filing the instant suit, plaintiffs took several steps to attempt to have the Union hold a general meeting. Grant sent a letter to the Board of Governors on November 16, 1982, and then a second letter on February 23, 1983, requesting the Board to adopt a policy of holding regularly scheduled general meetings. The Board unanimously rejected the latter request on March 29, 1983. Grant then requested that the Board propose two constitutional amendments: one amendment that would require monthly general membership meetings, and a second amendment that would lower the present quorum requirement ...


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