LOCATION:United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
DOCKET NO.: 75-657
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
CITATION: 429 US 305 (1977)
ARGUED: Nov 30, 1976
DECIDED: Jan 12, 1977
Carl B. Frankel – for petitioners
John P. Rupp – for respondent
Media for Local 3489, United Steelworkers of America, AFL-CIO v. Usery
Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – January 12, 1977 in Local 3489, United Steelworkers of America, AFL-CIO v. Usery
Warren E. Burger:
The judgment and opinion of the Court in 75-657, Local Union 34-89 of the Steelworkers against Usery will be announced by Mr. Justice Brennan.
William J. Brennan, Jr.:
In this case, the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that the provision of the constitution of the United Steelworkers of America limiting eligibility for local union office to members of the local who had attended at least one half of the local’s regular meetings for three years previous to the election of officers did not violate §401(e) Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act which provides that every union member in good standing shall be eligible to be a candidate in the whole office subject however to reasonable qualifications.
We disagree with the Court of Appeals in reserved.
We hold that where a meeting attendance requirement, as was the case of this one, resulted an exclusion of 96 and a half percent of petition of local’s members from candidacy for office.
The requirement cannot be considered a reasonable qualification consistent with Title 4 goal and free and democratic union elections since the requirement having that result, restricts the free choice of the membership and selecting its leaders.
Mr. Justice Powell joined by Mr. Justice Stewart and Mr. Justice Rehnquist dissents and has filed a dissenting opinion.
Warren E. Burger:
Thank you, Mr. Justice Brennan.