Chicago Members Sue Wilhelm, International

On Mar. 16, the final day of a hearing on the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Int’l Union’s trusteeship over Chicago-based Local 1, members of the scandal-scarred local went to federal court seeking an order to compel the HERE to dissolve the trusteeship. The suit responded to statements by HERE president John W. Wilhelm and Local 1 trustee Henry Tamarin during the hearing, indicating that they would seek to extend the trusteeship for at least another 17 months. At the same time, the trusteeship terminated the three top bosses of Local 1. The suit was filed by Local 1 members Linda Brush and Sigrid Alexandersen. In addition to HERE, Wilhelm, Tamarin, and James Dupont, assistant trustee of Local 1, were named as defendants in the suit.

The suit contends that HERE has no authority under the Labor-Management Reporting & Disclosure Act, popularly known as the Landrum-Griffin Act, to hold a local union in trusteeship longer than 18 months. With the 18-month anniversary of the Local 1 trusteeship quickly approaching (May 29, 2001) and the deadline for choosing delegates for HERE’s convention (July 15-19) also approaching, the suit requests an injunction ordering HERE to dismantle the trusteeship and implement election procedures. Failing to allow local control and participation in int’l activities would cause the members of Local 1 to “suffer irreparable harm,” the suit states.

The suit indicates that HERE’s hearing on the trusteeship was a failure. The Mar. 14-16 hearing was ordered by the Dep’t of Labor’s Office of Labor Management Standards. After an investigation into the validity of the trusteeship, OLMS concluded that HERE failed to hold a hearing to justify its actions with members of the local. Reportedly, the hearing urged into a justification for extending the trusteeship beyond the 18-month threshold.

Ed Hogan, a Chicago attorney who represents Local 1’s ex-president Terry Maloney and ex-secretary Scott Schneider, said Wilhelm offered testimony suggesting that the local should remain under the control of a trustee through contract bargaining with Chicago’s major hotels. That contract does not expire until Aug. 31, 2002.   Hogan, of Hogan, Marren & McCahill Ltd., said he might seek to intervene in the Brush-Alexandersen suit on behalf of his clients. He suggested that there was little justification for the trusteeship 16 months ago and zero justification for its continuation. Hogan accused HERE of attempting to consolidate power by keeping the local in limbo and barring its participation at the int’l convention. Hogan is also concerned about the trusteeship’s decision, one week prior to the meeting, to terminate Maloney and Schneider. Local 1 treasurer James Dyson was also terminated. [BNA 3/21/01 citing Brush v. HEREIU]