2020 U.S. DOL Civil LMRDA Enforcement Actions

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( DOL updated 05/20/2020)

(NILRR Staff Update 05/20/2020)

On April 6, 2020, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, a Stipulation of Settlement and Order was entered to resolve the Department’s lawsuit against American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 72 (located in Cleveland, Ohio). The Stipulation of Settlement and Order provides that the Department will supervise the next regularly-scheduled election of officers of the Local 72, including nominations, no later than April 30, 2021. The lawsuit sought to set aside the union’s April 29, 2018 election after the Department’s investigation concluded that the union denied members the right to vote when it failed to make reasonable efforts to update the membership mailing list, obtain better addresses for undelivered ballots, respond timely to member requests for replacement ballots, and count ballots for members missing secret ballot envelopes. The union also failed to maintain adequate safeguards when it provided inconsistent and inadequate notice regarding deadlines and the method of returning ballots. Lastly, the union failed to elect by secret ballot vote when ballot numbers could be matched to an outer envelope and a voter list was maintained linking the ballot numbers to members. The settlement follows an investigation by the OLMS Cincinnati-Cleveland District Office.

On April 3, 2020, in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, the Department filed suit against New Haven Federation of Teachers (NHFT) Local 933 (located in New Haven, Conn.), concerning its February 27, 2020 rerun election for the office of president. The OLMS investigation determined that Local 933 improperly denied a member in good standing the opportunity to run for president when the union disciplined and barred the member from holding office without serving the member with written specific charges and without providing a full and fair hearing. The lawsuit follows an investigation by the OLMS Boston-Buffalo District Office.

On February 10, 2020, the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri granted the Secretary of Labor’s motion for summary judgment against Local 41 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters under Title IV of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959. The Secretary brought suit seeking to nullify the local’s November 16, 2017 election of president, vice president, secretary-treasurer, recording secretary, and three trustees. The lawsuit alleged that Local 41 failed to provide adequate safeguards by failing to ensure that members were able to return their voted ballots when the barcode on the back of the envelope for voted ballots caused some ballots to be returned to the members who mailed them. In granting the Secretary’s motion, the Court ruled that Local 41 failed to provide adequate instructions for casting their ballots when it posted confusing directions for remedying the barcode problem to its private Facebook group, which consisted of less than 15 percent of the entire membership. The Court ordered a new election of officers under OLMS supervision. The lawsuit follows an investigation by the OLMS Denver-St. Louis District Office.

On December 6, 2019, in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, the Department filed suit against International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) Local 1694 (located in Wilmington, Del.).  The lawsuit seeks to nullify the local’s May 7, 2019 election of officers.  The complaint alleges that the local failed to provide advanced notice of the application of a candidate qualification that required that candidates refrain from serving as superintendent, foreman, or assistant foreman for the 24 months leading up to the election.  The qualification had not been applied in any of the three elections since its adoption.  In addition, at the same time Local 1694 disqualified four nominees under the rule, Local 1694 qualified three nominees as candidates who had worked as foremen during the preceding two years.  Finally, Local 1694 improperly disqualified a nominee pursuant to Section 504 of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959.  The lawsuit follows an investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia-Pittsburgh District Office.  

On October 23, 2019, the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut approved a Stipulation of Settlement and Order to resolve the Department’s lawsuit against National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Branch 19 (located in New Haven, Conn.).  The Stipulation of Settlement and Order provides that the Department will supervise a new election for the offices of president and three trustees, to be completed no later than February 1, 2020. The lawsuit sought to set aside the union’s December 20, 2017 election because the investigation established that Branch 19 failed to provide adequate security for voted ballots that were initially returned to a post office box that did not belong to the local and then left in an open bin accessible by Branch 19 members.  In addition, the union also allowed two candidates to campaign to members while they were working.  The settlement follows an investigation by the OLMS Boston-Buffalo District Office.  

On October 21, 2019, the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire approved a Stipulated Settlement Agreement to resolve the Department’s lawsuit against American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 230 (located in Manchester, N.H.).  The Stipulation of Settlement provides that the Department will supervise a new mail ballot election, including new nominations, to be completed no later than February 28, 2020.  The lawsuit sought to set aside the union’s March 2, 2019 election of officers because the OLMS investigation established that the union denied members a reasonable opportunity to nominate candidates by imposing an unreasonable candidacy qualification that had a restrictive effect on union democracy and was unduly burdensome.  The investigation also found that the local denied members a reasonable opportunity to nominate candidates by failing to provide a nominations notice reasonably calculated to inform all members of the offices to be filled in the election, as well as the time, place, and form for submitting nominations.  Finally, the complaint alleged that the union denied members a reasonable opportunity to vote by failing to mail an election notice to all members at their last known home address not less than 15 days prior to the election.  The settlement follows an investigation by the OLMS Boston-Buffalo District Office.

On July 9, 2019, in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division, a Stipulation of Settlement and Order was entered to resolve the Department’s lawsuit against the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) Local 1408 (located in Jacksonville, Fla.).  The Stipulation of Settlement and Order provides that the Department will supervise new nominations and a new manual ballot election for the Local 1408 offices of president, vice president, recording secretary, financial secretary treasurer, business agent, and five executive board members, no later than December 31, 2019.  The law suit sought to set aside the union’s December 11, 2017, election after the Department’s investigation concluded that the union failed to have a reasonable candidate qualification requirement when the meeting attendance requirement contained no excuse provision and disqualified 93% of the membership from running for union office.  The settlement follows an investigation by the OLMS Atlanta-Nashville District Office.

On June 17, 2019, in the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire, the Department filed suit against American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 230 (located in Manchester, N.H.).  The lawsuit seeks to nullify the union’s March 2, 2019 election of the offices of president, executive vice-president, secretary-treasurer, clerk craft director, maintenance craft director, motor vehicle craft director, Nashua logistics and distribution center director, area business agent A, area business agent B, area business agent C, human resources director, and legislative director.  The complaint alleges that the union violated section 401(e) of the LMRDA when it denied members a reasonable opportunity to nominate candidates by imposing an unreasonable candidacy qualification that had a restrictive effect on union democracy and was unduly burdensome.  The complaint also alleges that the union further violated section 401(e) when it denied members a reasonable opportunity to nominate candidates by failing to provide a nominations notice reasonably calculated to inform all members of the offices to be filled in the election, as well as the time, place, and form for submitting nominations.  Finally, the complaint alleges that the union denied members a reasonable opportunity to vote by failing to mail an election notice to all members at their last known home address not less than 15 days prior to the election.  The lawsuit follows an investigation by the OLMS Boston-Buffalo District Office.  

On April 18, 2019, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, the Department filed suit against the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), located in San Francisco, California.  The lawsuit seeks to nullify the union’s September 6, 2018 election of the offices of president, vice president-mainland, secretary-treasurer, and international executive board-Panama.  The complaint alleges that ILWU violated section 401(e) of the LMRDA by denying its Panama Division members the opportunity to vote when ballots were not mailed in a manner that enabled each member to receive his or her ballot, mark the ballot, and return it by the ballot deadline.  The investigation found that ILWU denied members a reasonable opportunity to vote when the union learned that ballots from 1,078 eligible dockworkers union members had been returned in bulk, and failed to take reasonable steps in response to the situation, ultimately determining that none of the 1,078 ballots could be counted.  The complaint also alleges that ILWU violated section 401(c) by failing to provide its Panama Division members other safeguards to ensure a fair election by failing to provide adequate voting instructions at the outset of the election and throughout the voting period.  The lawsuit follows an investigation by the OLMS San Francisco-Seattle District Office. 

On March 7, 2019, in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, a Stipulation of Settlement and Order was entered to resolve the Department’s lawsuit against the United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1940 (located in Lewistown, Pa.).  The Stipulation of Settlement and Order provides that the Department will supervise new nominations and a new manual ballot election for the Local 1940 offices of president, vice-president, recording secretary, financial secretary, treasurer, inside guard, outside guard, guide, three trustees, and nine unit presidents and a run-off election, if necessary, no later than July 31, 2019.  The lawsuit sought to set aside the union’s April 23, 2018, election after the Department’s investigation concluded that the union failed to have a reasonable candidate qualification requirement when the union required candidates to have attended seven membership meetings of the local for the two year period prior to the election.  The meeting attendance requirement resulted in 98% of the membership being ineligible to be a candidate and hold office.  The settlement follows an investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia-Pittsburgh District Office.