Corns v. Laborers Int'l Union

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Labor Law
  • Date Filed: 03-07-2013
  • Case #: 11-15737
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Paez for the Court; Circuit Judge Bybee and Chief District Judge Vance
  • Full Text Opinion

Under the Labor Management Reporting Disclosure Act, an international labor organization that represents a group of local unions is not permitted to pass a dues increase by a vote of local union members because the local union individuals are not members of the international labor organization.

Alex Corns, a retired member of Hod Carriers Local 166, brought a suit against Laborers International Union of North America (“LIUNA”), Northern California District Council of Laborers (NCDCL), and Local 166 for wrongfully imposing dues and fee deduction increases contrary to rules set forth in the Labor Management Reporting Disclosure Act (“LMRDA”) § 101(a)(3). Corns argued that the members of Local 166 should have been permitted to vote with a secret ballot under subsection A of the statute before delegates could vote at LIUNA or NCDCL meetings. In concluding that LIUNA and NCDCL are not local labor unions and that they properly implemented the fees under subsection B of the statute, the district court granted the Defendants summary judgment. The Ninth Circuit agreed with the district court that subsection A does not apply to LIUNA or NCDCL because they are umbrella organizations that represent a coalition of local labor unions, and the proper analysis is whether the decision was made in compliance with subsection B of the statute. LIUNA approved the fee deduction increases by a majority vote by delegates at a regular convention in compliance with § 101(a)(3)(B)(i). However, the panel found that NCDCL violated subsection B of the statute because at the regular convention, the vote to increase dues and fee deductions was conducted by a standing count of members of the local unions in attendance and not the local union’s duly appointed delegates. The proper members of NCDCL are the delegates of all of local unions that it represents and not the members of the local unions themselves. NCDCL therefore violated subsection B of the statute when it imposed dues increases on Local 166. AFFIRMED in part; REVERSED in part; and REMANDED.

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