Union Attendance Rule Struck Down

The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Mar. 23. that the United Steelworkers of Am.’s rule limiting eligibility for office to members who have attended at least eight local monthly meetings within two years was unreasonable and invalid. USWA failed to show that the rule, which disqualified 92% of the 3,000 members of Local 1011 in E. Chicago, Ind., was not burdensome or supported by compelling need, Judge Richard A. Posner ruled.

“The requirement is paternalistic,” Posner stated. “Union members should be capable of deciding for themselves whether a candidate for union office who had not attended eight, or five, or for that matter any meetings within the past two years should by virtue of his poor performance forfeit the electorate’s consideration.” He held that under the Landrum-Griffin Act, all members in good standing are eligible to run for office subject to “reasonable qualifications uniformly imposed.” [BNA 3/28/00]