Monday, March 11, 2013

Federal Court Reinstates Dispute Over Union Dues Hike


(CN) - The 9th Circuit on Thursday revived part of a union worker's challenge to a dues increase by an umbrella labor organization.

The federal appeals court in San Francisco agreed with union worker Alex Corns that the Northern California District Council of Laborers had overstepped its authority when it approved a dues hike in 2008.

Corns, now retired from the Hod Carriers Local Union No. 166, sued his local union, the district council and the Laborers International Union of North America over their increased dues and fees. He argued that the umbrella unions needed the approval of a majority of local members, typically through a secret ballot vote, to ratify higher dues or fees.

A federal judge rejected Corns's challenge, and the 9th Circuit reversed a portion of that ruling.

The three-judge panel said a local majority is only required when a local union wants to raise dues. An international union like LIUNA can do so through "alternative methods," the court ruled, including by a majority vote of delegates at a convention, as it did in 2006 when it ratified a $0.25 organization fee per hour worked for all construction unions.

This structure "balances the twin goals of protecting union democracy and preserving union self-governance," Judge Richard Paez explained.

While the international union clearly had the legal authority to increase organization fees, Paez ruled, the district council did not.

The district council, which acts as an intermediate body between the international and local unions, "lacked the statutory authority to ratify a dues increase because the local union members were not members of that organization," Paez explained.

The council was created by LIUNA and has 15 local affiliate unions in Northern California. Its membership consists of delegates from its affiliated local unions, including Local No. 166.

Its constitution and bylaws "explicitly define the membership of district councils, such as the NCDCL, as the delegates from affiliated locals unions" -- not the union members themselves, the court ruled.

The panel reversed and remanded this portion of the lower court's ruling for the unions.

Judge Jay Bybee agreed with the judgment, but wrote separately to disagree with the majority's finding that federal law allows umbrella labor organizations to approve levies through "alternative methods."

"I read these sections as to protect union members against undemocratic efforts to raise their dues and fees, not to enable the 'international unions[] ... to establish local unions' rate of dues' without regard for equality or uniformity," Bybee wrote, quoting the majority opinion.

Posted from iPhone.


  1. "The district council, which acts as an intermediate body between the international and local unions, "lacked the statutory authority to ratify a dues increase because the local union members were not members of that organization," Paez explained."

    Written by the McCarron royal family:From the LM2 of the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters in sunny California.Home of Dougys brother Mike McCarron.quote ......"SCHEDULE 13: UNDER THE LMRDA,THE COUNCIL IS AN INTERMEDIATE BODY AND IT ONLY HAS AFFILIATED LOCAL UNIONS. THUS, THE COUNCIL DOES NOT HAVE ANY MEMBERS."

    "Gustave William Link v. David Rhodes, EA AL", McCarrons Lawyers have attempted to convince the Judge that the International has no control over the Councils and the Councils have no control over the Locals. What a joke. Either way the McCarron Legal team has stated for the record in court documents the following: "The Union has adopted a three tier structure: the international union, various intermediate bodies and local unions. Though they are affiliated by a constitution these organizations are such separate entities that they can and do sue each other and THEIR AGENTS HAVE NO BINDING AUTHORITY OUTSIDE THEIR OWN UNION ENTITY."

    I also have a letter singed by McCarron that clearly says we are "AFFILATED" with the council and NOT "members of"

    That makes this a blatant lie and you should ask your self why the lie was told and what happens without this phony relationship

    ""Members of the District Council" means any person who is a member of any Union(NYC Local) or labor organization that constitutes part of the District Council(NYCDCC)

    So HOW was it declared that the rank and file in NYC were "members of the Council" and they have the right to not only impose or increase assessments but have declared the Council has Great Oz power over the Locals and Rank and File

  2. See C-BOX, Tom Robbins posts which links to Scrib'd and a 2009 23-page report by the UBC's Phil Newkirk where he discusses the Local Union Autonomy and how the UBC International has come in and uses management perogatives to get to the core - changing the by-laws so the UBCJA I'ntl. can change/negate the local union autononmy and their ability to have direct elections, hire employees and essentially do it w/o th req'd & mandatory 9(a) Representation Election.

    They used the new August 5, 2011 by-laws to do an illegal end run around this requirement and the one wherein they are required to prove by a preponderance of the evidence std. that they have the min. number of signed/voluntary (not coerced) authorization cards.

    Tie this together with the fruadulent case in the 6th Circuit (UBC Local 267, Dresden), wherein the 6th Cir. justices stated that it was the District Council By-laws which created the right to Vote....wrong answer. It was the Congress of the United States via the Wagner Act (1935). McCarron has used this clearly arbitrary, capricious decision and erroneous decision to put forth this myth since 1993. Put the Affiliation crap & this case together & McCarrons scam falls apart. Note: He uses this one nationwide to kill all Locals and he uses the by-law crap to back-door the langauge "and all lcal employment shall cease to exist", less the secretary, yad, yada. One bullshit decision in one Appellate court is all it is

  3. Below is testimony with links to exhibits given by Phil Newkirk to the Hearing Committee. Mr. Newkirk is a thirty year UBC member who currently serves as an Assistant to General President Douglas McCarron.



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