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United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
May 10, 1991, Argued and Submitted, Pasadena, California ; February 21, 1992, Filed
Nos. 90-55438, 90-55702
REINHARDT, Circuit Judge:
The primary question presented by this case is whether the equal rights and freedom of speech guarantees of section 101(a) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), 29 U.S.C. § 411(a) (1988), require union leaders to make a full disclosure of all of the terms and provisions of a collective bargaining agreement prior to submitting the agreement to the union membership for ratification. We hold that they do not. There is no provision in the LMRDA that requires that a labor contract be submitted to the membership for ratification. Rather, the question [**2] of contract approval constitutes an internal union affair. It is left to the union and its membership to determine whether ratification is required, and if so, what procedures apply. Ordinarily, it is the union's constitution or bylaws that govern these matters (although in rare instances a successful action for breach of the duty of fair representation might be brought). However, a failure to follow the union's internal rules, including its procedures governing contract ratifications, constitutes a violation of the union's obligations to its members, and is actionable as a breach of contract under section 301(a) of the Labor-Management Relations Act (LMRA), 29 U.S.C. § 185(a) (1988). No such breach is alleged here and no remedy is sought, under § 301(a) or otherwise, for any violation of the union's constitution or bylaws. Accordingly, we affirm the district court's grant of defendant's motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b).
Appellants Frank Ackley and Steven Cole are Teamsters employed by Matlack, [*1467] Inc., a nationwide hauling company. Together with approximately 300 other Teamsters employed in Matlack's western region, they were covered by the 1988-1991 Master Tank [**3] Agreement negotiated between Matlack and appellee Western Conference of Teamsters (WCT), a subordinate organization of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen, and Helpers of America, AFL-CIO. The Matlack Teamsters covered by the agreement belong to six local unions affiliated with WCT. 1 Ackley and Cole are members and shop stewards of Local Unions 692 and 315, respectively.
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958 F.2d 1463 *; 1992 U.S. App. LEXIS 2171 **; 139 L.R.R.M. 2529; 121 Lab. Cas. (CCH) P10,006; 92 Cal. Daily Op. Service 1392; 92 Daily Journal DAR 2338
Frank Ackley and Steven Cole, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. Western Conference of Teamsters, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. D.C. No. CV-88-6146-DMT. Dickran M. Tevrizian, District Judge, Presiding.
ratification, union member, membership, local union, meetings, collective bargaining agreement, negotiation, terms, union's constitution, proposed agreement, bargaining, votes, changes, rights, fair representation, Labor-Management, provisions, attorney's fees, election, bylaws, district court, union leader, common benefit, disclosure, leadership, courts, witnesses, bargaining representative, evidentiary ruling, cause of action
Civil Procedure, Justiciability, Mootness, Evading Review Exception, General Overview, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Criminal Law & Procedure, Reversible Error, Evidence, Reversible Errors, Labor & Employment Law, Collective Bargaining & Labor Relations, Duty of Fair Representation