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Supreme Court of the United States
November 7, 1988, Argued ; January 18, 1989, Decided
[*348] [***706] [**641] JUSTICE MARSHALL delivered the opinion of the Court.
In Finnegan v. Leu, 456 U.S. 431 (1982), [****5] we held that the discharge of a union's appointed business agents by the union president, following his election over the incumbent for [*349] whom the business agents had campaigned, did not violate the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA or Act), 73 Stat. 519, 29 U. S. C. § 401 et seq. The question presented in this case is whether the removal of an elected business agent, in retaliation for statements he made at a union meeting in opposition to a dues increase sought by the union trustee, violated the LMRDA. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the LMRDA protected the business agent from removal under these circumstances. We granted certiorari to address this important issue concerning the internal governance of labor unions, 485 U.S. 958 [**642] (1988), and now affirm.
In June 1981, respondent Edward Lynn was elected to a 3-year term as a business representative of petitioner Local 75 of the Sheet Metal Workers' International Association (Local), an affiliate of petitioner Sheet Metal Workers' International Association (International). 1 Lynn was instrumental [****6] in organizing fellow members of the Local who were concerned about a financial crisis plaguing the Local. These members, who called themselves the Sheet Metal Club Local 75 (Club), published leaflets that demonstrated, on the basis of Department of Labor statistics, that the Local's officials were spending far more than the officials of two other sheet metal locals in the area. The Club urged the Local's officials to reduce expenditures rather than increase dues in order to alleviate the Local's financial problems. A majority of the Local's members apparently agreed, for they defeated three successive proposals to increase dues.
Following the third vote, in June 1982, the Local's 17 officials, including Lynn, sent a letter to the International's general president, requesting that he "immediately take whatever [*350] action [is] [****7] . . . necessary including, but not limited to, trusteeship to put this local on a sound financial basis." App. 14. Invoking his authority under the International's constitution, the general president responded by placing the Local under a trusteeship and by delegating to the trustee, Richard Hawkins, the authority "to supervise and direct" the affairs of the Local, "including, but not limited to, the authority to suspend local union . . . officers, business managers, or business representatives." Art. 3, § 2(c), Constitution and Ritual of the Sheet Metal Workers' International Association, Revised and Amended by Authority of the Thirty-Fifth General Convention, St. Louis, Missouri (1978).
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488 U.S. 347 *; 109 S. Ct. 639 **; 102 L. Ed. 2d 700 ***; 1989 U.S. LEXIS 432 ****; 57 U.S.L.W. 4098; 110 Lab. Cas. (CCH) P10,857; 130 L.R.R.M. 2193
SHEET METAL WORKERS' INTERNATIONAL ASSN. ET AL. v. LYNN
Prior History: [****1] CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT.
Disposition: 804 F. 2d 1472, affirmed.
elected, removal, appointed, rights, business agent, trusteeship, right of free speech, elected official, special meeting, membership, staff, sheet metal, discharged, views
Labor & Employment Law, Collective Bargaining & Labor Relations, Duty of Fair Representation, Right to Organize, Protected Activities, Estate, Gift & Trust Law, Private Trusts Characteristics, Trustees, General Overview, Civil Procedure, Justiciability, Standing, Governments, Legislation, Initiative & Referendum