1717 Davis et al. v. Local Union 909
Case No: 1717
It was an error for the election committee chairperson to remove a retired member’s name from the ballot as a candidate for president and to declare her opponent elected by acclamation. The action created an appearance of partisanship. The International Union’s policy against retired members holding the office of president in local unions under the National Agreements was not necessarily common knowledge among the members of Local Union 909. Nothing in the notice of nominations indicates that retired members may not seek the office of president. The candidate’s objection to the policy as an unwritten restriction on a member’s eligibility to run for local union office had merit. She was correct in her argument that such restrictions are impermissible. Had the retired candidate been elected, she might have been removed from office based on the International Union’s policy, but that is not the same as saying that her removal from the ballot did not affect the outcome of the presidential race. The retired member might have defeated the incumbent president. Nevertheless, we are reluctant to order a new election between the president and a candidate who is probably ineligible to hold the office. If the membership perceives that the current election committee chairperson is too closely allied with any particular set of candidates or is unresponsive to candidates’ questions and concerns, it can remedy the situation by electing a new election committee chairperson.
Issues addressed in this decisionDemocratic practices
Eligibility for Local Union office