Massachusetts Local Settles Election Suit

Int’l Bhd. of Elec. Workers Local 1505 in Waltham, Mass., has entered into a consent judgment providing for Dep’t of Labor supervision of the next election of Local 1505’s officers on June 11, 2002. The Jan. 3 agreement settled a suit that the Dep’t of Justice, on behalf of DOL, brought against Local 1505 in July 2000 alleging that the last election of officers held in June 1999, was unfair and in violation of the Landrum-Griffin Act. The civil suit alleged that Local 1505 failed to hold its election of officers by secret ballot and, in the conduct of its election, used union funds to prepare and distribute a union letter that promoted the candidacy of the incumbent Financial Secretary/Business Manager. The parties will meet no later than Apr. 12 to establish ground rules for the new election. The court will retain jurisdiction and DOL will certify names of the election winners to the court.

A union member initially protested the conditions of the June 1999, election to the IBEW Second Dist. vice president, but the boss denied his protest.  Thereafter, the member filed a complaint with DOL, which investigated the complaint, and, as a result of the facts identified in the investigation, found probable cause to believe that violations of the Act had occurred. DOL also concluded that the violations may have affected the outcome of the election of the union offices of president, vice president, recording secretary, financial secretary/business manager, treasurer, and eleven executive board members.

After DOL objected to these violations, Local 1505 entered into a formal agreement with DOL in Mar. 28, 2000 to hold a re-run of the June 1999 election of officers, and in reliance on that agreement, no suit against Local 1505  was filed at that time. However, on May 19, 2000, Local 1505, informed DOL that it would not conduct a re-run of the election and was withdrawing from the formal agreement, and the U.S. Atty.’s Office in Boston then filed the suit that has just been settled. [USAO D. Mass. 1/15/02; BNA 1/17/02]