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Edwards v. Leopoldi

September 20, 1951

WESLEY EDWARDS, ET ALS., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
JERRY LEOPOLDI, ET ALS., DEFENDANTS. ARTHUR MCBRIDE, ET ALS., PLAINTIFFS, V. MILTON WEIHRAUCH, ET ALS., DEFENDANTS



Stein, J.s.c.

Stein

The firstly entitled case of Wesley Edwards v. Jerry Leopoldi came on for final hearing and was completed before the court. At the same time there came on for hearing the above entitled case of McBride v. Weihrauch. Thereupon a stipulation in writing in that case was filed by counsel with the court in which it was stated that the issues of fact and law being substantially identical or similar in both cases the "Intervenor-Plaintiff and the defendants agree to be bound in this case by the final judgment to be entered in the abovementioned cause of Edwards v. Leopoldi ," and consent that a judgment to the same effect and in the same tenor as may be entered in the Edwards case may also be entered in the McBride case.

The United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (hereinafter referred to as the UE) was by order of the court permitted to intervene on the side of the plaintiffs in the cause. The subject matter of this controversy concerns the money, property and assets of UE Local 447 and the continued existence thereof as a local union of said UE. The intervening plaintiff contends that under the constitution of

the UE the UE has an obligation to preserve and protect this local as well as the continuation of all its local unions and has a property right and interest in the money, property and assets of its locals in that it is entitled to receive from its locals certain per capita taxes and other financial support, and in that upon the disbandment, secession or disaffiliation of a local its property reverts to the UE.

As a matter of convenience the following abbreviations will be used in this opinion: "CIO" for Congress of Industrial Organizations; "UE" for United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America; "UE-CIO" for the foregoing in its status as a CIO affiliate; "IUE" for International Union of Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers (the "international" which was chartered by the CIO upon CIO's expulsion of UE); and "Local 447" for the local union in question, whose assets are the subject of this suit.

The defendants are the officers of the local union, which union became disaffiliated from the parent organization, the UE, and which disaffiliation the plaintiffs say, did not conform to the constitution of UE since it was in defiance of the provisions of article XVIII, sections N and O of the UE constitution which provides:

"Section N. If a local disbands, the local secretary and trustees shall send all funds and property belonging to the local to the General Secretary-Treasurer. The General Secretary-Treasurer shall hold this property intact for one year. If within that time, an application is made by at least fifteen (15) former members, a charter will be reissued and the funds and the property returned. Should no application be made within the year, the funds and property shall revert to the International Union.

Section O. Any local union whose good standing members fall below seven (7) may have its charter revoked in accordance with the provisions of Article 18, Section N, and Article 10, Section I, of the International Constitution. Members of such a group may become members-at-large, affiliated directly with the International Union in accordance with Article 20, Section C, or they may transfer to other local unions in the area.

Any disbandment, dissolution, secession or disaffiliation of any local shall be invalid and null and void if seven or more members indicate their desire to retain the local charter."

The claim of the plaintiffs is based upon the fact that seven members of the local union opposed secession, and desired to retain the UE charter, for which reason plaintiffs say the secession is void.

Urged upon the court is the holding by the courts in this and other states that the relationship between members of an unincorporated corporation and between parent and subordinates thereof is contractual, and that the terms of the contract are to be found in the applicable constitutions. With this contention the defendants agree but say that in the instant case affiliation of UE with CIO became an implied condition of the contract of affiliation between Local 447 and UE, which compact was dissolved ...


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