Wirtz v. Laborers' Union
389 U.S. 477 (1968)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Wirtz v. Laborers' Union, 389 U.S. 477 (1968)

Wirtz v. Local Union No. 125, Laborers'

International Union of North America, AFL-CIO

No. 58

Argued November 8-9, 1967

Decided January 15, 1968

389 U.S. 477

Syllabus

In this companion case to Wirtz v. Local 153, Glass Bottle Blowers Assn., ante, p. 389 U. S. 463, the Secretary of Labor sued under § 402(b) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act to invalidate a general election held by respondent in 1963 and the runoff election for one office held five weeks later, alleging, in part violations of § 401(e) in permitting members not "in good standing" to vote and be candidates in both elections. The Secretary's investigation, following a complaint to him about the runoff election by a member of respondent who had exhausted his internal remedies, revealed that a large number of members ineligible under respondent's constitution were allowed to vote in both the general and runoff elections through the fraudulent practice of a union officer, and that 16 of 27 candidates in the general election were similarly ineligible. Finding that the complaint failed to allege that a member of respondent had "complained internally" about the conduct of the general election and that the member's challenge of the runoff election could not support the Secretary's challenge of the general election, the District Court dismissed the part of the complaint relating to the general election. During the pendency of the Secretary's appeal, the respondent held its next regular election of officers, whereupon the Court of Appeals vacated the judgment of dismissal and directed the District Court to dismiss as moot the portion of the Secretary's complaint dealing with the 1963 general election.

Held:

1. The Secretary is not deprived of his right to challenge the 1963 general election because of the subsequent unsupervised general election. Wirtz v. Local 153, Glass Bottle Blowers Assn., supra, followed. P. 389 U. S. 479.

2. On the facts of this case, where respondent had fair notice from the violation charged by the member with respect to the runoff election that the same unlawful conduct probably occurred

Page 389 U. S. 478

at the earlier general election, the Secretary is entitled to maintain his action challenging the general election. Pp. 389 U. S. 481-485.

375 F.2d 921, reversed and remanded.

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