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Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)

U.S. Department of Labor
Office of Labor-Management Standards
Division of Enforcement
Washington, DC 20210
(202) 693-0143 Fax: (202) 693-1343
June 14, 2011

Dear

This Statement of Reasons is in response to your September 14, 2010 complaint filed
with the United States Department of Labor (Department) alleging that violations of
Title IV of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, as amended
(LMRDA or Act), 29 U.S.C. §§ 481 – 484, occurred in connection with the election of
officers of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees of the United States
and Canada (IATSE), Local 600 conducted on May 14, 2010.

The Department conducted an investigation of your allegations. As a result of the
investigation, the Department has concluded, with respect to each of your specific
allegations that no violation occurred which may have affected the outcome of the
election.

You alleged that Local 600 applied an unreasonable Working-at-the-Trade rule (WAT
rule) for candidate qualification during the May 2010 election in violation of Section
401(e) of the LMRDA. Section 401(e) requires in pertinent part that every member in
good standing shall be eligible to be a candidate and to hold office subject to reasonable
qualifications uniformly imposed. 29 U.S.C. § 481(e). Here, IATSE adopted a WAT rule
at the July 2009 International Convention. The newly-adopted WAT rule required that
in order to be eligible to hold union office a member must have worked at least 120
days, under the union’s jurisdiction, over the preceding 36 month period. See IATSE
Constitution, Article 19, Section 4. Further, this constitutional amendment provided
that “time served as an officer of a local union shall be applicable towards the 120 days
in the past 36 months requirement.” Id.

Specifically, you asserted that the WAT rule is unreasonable because the union counted
time served as a local officer towards the WAT rule and also because, within the context
of the WAT rule, the union interpreted the term “jurisdiction” to only include work
performed under the union’s collective bargaining agreements (CBA), rather than the
union’s geographical jurisdiction.


The Department’s interpretive regulations presume that unions may apply a working-
at-the-trade candidate qualification. In particular, the regulations state that “it would
ordinarily be reasonable for a union to require candidates to be employed at the trade
or even to have been so employed for a reasonable period.” 29 C.F.R. § 452.41. And,
this regulation further explains that “[a WAT rule] should not be so inflexible as to
disqualify those members who are familiar with the trade but who because of illness,
economic conditions, or other good reasons are temporarily not working.” 29 C.F.R. §

452.41. Moreover, it is recognized that union officials and employees should not be
prevented from running for office or seeking re-election because their service to the
union may limit their ability to satisfy the WAT rule. See Brock v. Local 630, Int’l
Brotherhood of Teamsters, 662 F.Supp. 118, 124 (C.D. Cal. 1987).
In this matter, it is reasonable for the union to assert that working as a union officer
requires knowledge of the members’ working conditions and jobs being performed;
requires knowledge of the interests of union members working within the local’s
collective bargaining agreements; and requires working on organizing efforts, which
are all valuable services to the overall performance of the union. Certainly, serving as a
union officer or employee constitutes a “good reason” for not being actively employed
in the craft for a certain period of time. Accordingly, the Department did not find the
union’s treatment of incumbent officers as unreasonable.

The Department also investigated your assertion that the union has unreasonably
interpreted “jurisdiction” within the context of the WAT rule as meaning work under a
Local 600 CBA. It is well-established that when union officials have offered an
interpretation of the constitution that is not clearly unreasonable, the Department will
defer to the union. See 29 C.F.R. § 452.3. See also United Brotherhood of Carpenters, Lathers
Local 42-L v. United Brotherhood of Carpenters, 73 F.3d 958, 961 (9th Cir. 1996); Busch v.
Givens, 627 F.2d 978, 980 (9th Cir. 1980); Stelling v. Int’l Brotherhood of Electrical Workers,
Local 1547, 587 F.2d 1379, 1389 (9th Cir. 1978). As you have stated in your protest, the
union’s constitution does, in one section, define jurisdiction in geographical terms, i.e.,
“the United States and its territories.” Local 600 Constitution, Article 1, Section 3.
However, the union’s constitution must be read and interpreted in its entirety.

The Department reviewed the Local 600 Constitution and found that Article 13
“Working Conditions,” Sections 10-12, 14, and 17, repeatedly refer to “jurisdiction” as
meaning CBA work and not the geographical location. For example, Article 13, Section
11 (Member’s Duty) states that “it shall be the duty of every member when working
with or selecting an employee for work within the territory and jurisdiction of this Guild,
to see that said employee is a member in good standing of this Guild.” (emphasis
added). Further, Article 13, Section 17 (Overseas Assignments) states that “a member of
this Guild who desires to accept an assignment to work over which this Guild has
jurisdiction, but which will carry the member outside the United States and territories, must
have the proposed working conditions and wages approved…” (emphasis added). The
union repeatedly separates the geographical nature of the work from the jurisdictional


nature of the work, demonstrating that the union does use the term jurisdiction to refer
to work under a CBA. The Department determined that the union’s interpretation of
“jurisdiction” within the context of the WAT rule as meaning work under a Local 600
CBA is a fair and reasonable interpretation. This is not a violation of the LMRDA.

You also alleged that the union sent campaign emails to the Local 600 membership in
violation of Section 401(g) of the LMRDA. Section 401(g) prohibits the use of union
funds to promote any candidate for union office. Specifically, you alleged that the
union sent emails on April 16, 2010 and May 8, 2010, to rebut positions taken in your
campaign emails concerning whether or not members should vote to dissolve Local
600’s non-profit mutual benefit corporate status. The Department’s investigation found
that contemporaneous with the election, the local membership was voting on a
resolution regarding the corporate status of Local 600. Campaign materials related to
this issue of corporate status were sent from both incumbent and insurgent candidates.

In order to ascertain whether a union funded communication constitutes promotion of a
candidate in violation of Section 401(g), the Department evaluates the timing, tone, and
content of the particular communication. First, the Department reviewed the overall
content of these emails and found that neither email mentions the May 2010 officer
election. Further, no candidates for the upcoming election were named or discussed.
Rather, the content of these emails deals entirely with the corporate dissolution vote.
While the issue of corporate dissolution was a campaign issue raised by candidates
during the election period, these particular emails do not frame the dissolution vote as a
campaign issue as there is no mention of the upcoming election or any candidates by
name.

Second, with respect to tone, the two emails do not promote or disparage any
candidate. There is no electioneering. Rather, the emails state the union’s position on
this important issue that the membership will be voting on. The union’s emails address
this issue in a matter-of-fact way without making any reference to the election or any
individual’s candidacy.

Third, the Department reviewed the timing of the two emails and determined that since
both emails were sent within one month of the May 2010 election, the timing is the only
factor that weighs in favor of a finding that the email communications constituted
campaigning. Accordingly, the overall tone, content, and timing of these two email
communications did not endorse, promote, or disparage any candidate in the May 2010
election, and therefore, there was no violation of the LMRDA.

You also alleged that incumbent President, used the union’s membership
email database which contains over 6,000 email addresses to send campaign mailings to
over 6,000 members. However, the union did not make this database available to other
candidates. Instead, Local 600 created an email database with Action Mailing Services
(AMS) and permitted all candidates to pay AMS a fee to send campaign emails through
this membership database. The email database created for the mailing service made


available for use by candidates contained less than 6,000 email addresses. As stated
above, Section 401(g) of the LMRDA prohibits the use of union funds or resources to
promote any candidate for union office. Section 401(c) prohibits unions from
discriminating in favor of or against any candidate.

The Department’s investigation revealed that President only sent campaign
emails to approximately 3,800 Local 600 members. This list included email addresses
that members provided to President , including members who had visited his
campaign website and submitted their email addresses. uploaded his list of
email addresses to Constant Contact and used Constant Contact rather than AMS to
send his campaign emails. Further, you also take issue with s use of Constant
Contact to send his campaign emails rather than AMS the union provided mailing
service. The Department’s investigation disclosed that candidates were not prohibited
from using other email services to send campaign communications. The Department
determined that President did not access the Local 600 official email database for
his campaign communications, but instead sent campaign communications to a limited
group of email addresses that he had personally compiled and maintained. There was
no violation of the Act.

You also alleged that individuals may have filed false spam email reports with AMS in
order to have insurgent candidate campaign emails blocked in violation of Section
401(c) of the LMRDA. The Department’s investigation disclosed that AMS received
reports of spam email relating to two insurgent candidates’ campaign email blasts.
During the Department’s investigation, AMS explained that the email blasts were
delayed less than 24 hours and were ultimately delivered to the recipients. The
evidence provided by AMS failed to even suggest any malicious intent relating to the
spam reports. Moreover, you did not provide any evidence to support a finding of
tampering or wrongdoing by any candidate for union office. Accordingly, there is no
violation of the Act.


For the reasons set forth above, it is concluded that no violation of the LMRDA
occurred. Accordingly, the office has closed the file on this matter.

Sincerely,

Patricia Fox
Chief, Division of Enforcement

cc:
Matthew D. Loeb, International President
IATSE
1430 Broadway, 20th Floor
New York, NY 10018
Steven Poster, National President
IATSE Local 600
7755 Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90046

Beverly Dankowitz, Acting Associate Solicitor
Civil Rights and Labor-Management


U.S. Department of Labor
Office of Labor-Management Standards
Division of Enforcement
Washington, DC 20210
(202) 693-0143 Fax: (202) 693-1343
June 14, 2011

Dear

This Statement of Reasons is in response to your September 22, 2010 complaint filed
with the United States Department of Labor (Department) alleging that violations of
Title IV of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, as amended
(LMRDA or Act), 29 U.S.C. §§ 481 – 484, occurred in connection with the election of
officers of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees of the United States
and Canada (IATSE), Local 600 conducted on May 14, 2010.

The Department conducted an investigation of your allegations. As a result of the
investigation, the Department has concluded, with respect to each of your specific
allegations that no violation occurred which may have affected the outcome of the
election.

You alleged that Local 600 applied an unreasonable Working-at-the-Trade rule (WAT
rule) for candidate qualification during the May 2010 election in violation of Section
401(e) of the LMRDA. Section 401(e) requires in pertinent part that every member in
good standing shall be eligible to be a candidate and to hold office subject to reasonable
qualifications uniformly imposed. 29 U.S.C. § 481(e). Here, delegates voted to adopt a
WAT rule at the July 2009 International Convention. The newly-adopted WAT rule
required that in order to be eligible to hold union office a member must have worked at
least 120 days, under the union’s jurisdiction, over the preceding 36-month period. See
IATSE Constitution, Article 19, Section 4. Further, this constitutional amendment
provided that “time served as an officer of a local union shall be applicable towards the
‘120 days in the past 36 months’ requirement.” Id. Specifically, you asserted that the
WAT rule is unreasonable because (1) the WAT rule may disproportionately
discriminate against women, minorities, and older union members; and (2) the union’s
interpretation of the term “jurisdiction” as only including work performed under the
union’s collective bargaining agreements (CBA), rather than the union’s geographical
jurisdiction is unlawful.


Page 2 of 5

You alleged that the WAT rule is an unreasonable qualification for candidacy because it
disproportionately discriminates against women, minorities, and older union members.
The Department’s interpretive regulations presume that it is reasonable for unions to
apply a working-at-the-trade candidate qualification. In particular, the regulations state
that “it would ordinarily be reasonable for a union to require candidates to be
employed at the trade or even to have been so employed for a reasonable period.” 29

C.F.R. § 452.41. However, the Department’s interpretive regulations prohibit unions
from adopting candidate qualifications that violate Federal law, such as the Civil Rights
Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). See 29 C.F.R. §
452.46. These particular Federal laws protect women, minorities, and older workers
from employment discrimination.
The WAT rule at issue is not discriminatory on its face, as all members regardless of
gender, race, nationality, and age are treated the same, i.e., each member seeking office
must work 120 days, under the union’s jurisdiction, over the 36 months immediately
preceding the election in order to qualify for union office. You have asserted that you
believe that this facially-neutral WAT rule will act to disproportionately bar women,
minorities, and older members from qualifying for union office because these groups of
individuals receive less union work than younger white males in the industry. Your
alleged Title IV violation is predicated upon your belief that this particular industry
operates by discriminating against certain protected classes. However, the assertion
that the industry discriminates against certain protected groups is beyond the scope of
the investigation as well as the parameters of Title IV of the LMRDA.

The Department also investigated your assertion that the union has unreasonably
interpreted “jurisdiction” within the context of the WAT rule as meaning work under a
Local 600 CBA. It is well-established that when union officials have offered an
interpretation of the constitution that is not clearly unreasonable, the Department will
defer to the union. See 29 C.F.R. § 452.3. See also United Brotherhood of Carpenters, Lathers
Local 42-L v. United Brotherhood of Carpenters, 73 F.3d 958, 961 (9th Cir. 1996); Busch v.
Givens, 627 F.2d 978, 980 (9th Cir. 1980); Stelling v. Int’l Brotherhood of Electrical Workers,
Local 1547, 587 F.2d 1379, 1389 (9th Cir. 1978). As you have stated in your protest, the
union’s constitution does, in one section, define jurisdiction in geographical terms, i.e.,
“the United States and its territories.” Local 600 Constitution, Article 1, Section 3.
However, the union’s constitution must be read and interpreted in its entirety.

The Department reviewed the Local 600 Constitution and found that Article 13
“Working Conditions,” Sections 10-12, 14, and 17, repeatedly refer to “jurisdiction” as
meaning CBA work and not the geographical location. For example, Article 13, Section
11 (Member’s Duty) states that “it shall be the duty of every member when working
with or selecting an employee for work within the territory and jurisdiction of this Guild,
to see that said employee is a member in good standing of this Guild.” (emphasis


Page 3 of 5

added). Further, Article 13, Section 17 (Overseas Assignments) states that “a member of
this Guild who desires to accept an assignment to work over which this Guild has
jurisdiction, but which will carry the member outside the United States and territories, must
have the proposed working conditions and wages approved…” (emphasis added). The
union repeatedly separates the geographical nature of the work from the jurisdictional
nature of the work, demonstrating that the union does use the term jurisdiction to refer
to work under a CBA. The Department determined that the union’s interpretation of
“jurisdiction” within the context of the WAT rule as meaning work under a Local 600
CBA is a fair and reasonable interpretation. This is not a violation of the LMRDA.

In addition, you have alleged to the Department that the WAT rule is unlawful because
the union counts time served as a local officer towards meeting the 120-day
requirement. This particular allegation was not initially included in your election
protest to the union, and thus, was not properly exhausted as required by Section 402 of
the LMRDA. See 29 U.S.C. § 482(a). Section 402 limits the Department of Labor’s
authority and a court’s jurisdiction over allegations raised by aggrieved union members
who have not exhausted their internal union remedies. See Martin v. Local 480, Int’l
Brotherhood of Teamsters, 946 F.2d 457, 461 (6th Cir. 1991). However, this same allegation
was properly exhausted and presented to the Department by another Local 600
member’s complaint.

The Department did investigate this allegation in response to his complaint and
determined that the union’s treatment of incumbent officers was reasonable.
Specifically, the Department’s regulations presume that it is reasonable for a union to
apply a WAT rule to candidate eligibility. See 29 C.F.R. § 452.41. Further, “[a WAT
rule] should not be so inflexible as to disqualify those members who are familiar with
the trade but who because of illness, economic conditions, or other good reasons are
temporarily not working.” 29 C.F.R. § 452.41. It is also recognized that union officials
and employees should not be prevented from running for office or seeking re-election
because their service to the union may limit their ability to satisfy the WAT rule. See
Brock v. Local 630, Int’l Brotherhood of Teamsters, 662 F.Supp. 118, 124 (C.D. Cal. 1987).
Here, it is reasonable for the union to assert that working as a union officer requires
knowledge of the members’ working conditions and jobs being performed; requires
knowledge of the interests of union member working within the local’s collective
bargaining agreements; and requires working on organizing efforts, which are all
valuable services to the overall performance of the union. Certainly, serving as a union
officer or employee constitutes a “good reason” for not being actively employed in the
craft for a certain period of time. Accordingly, the union’s treatment of incumbent
officers was reasonable.

You further alleged that the union failed to provide members with adequate notice of
indebtedness, resulting in “secret suspensions” which prevented members from voting,


Page 4 of 5

nominating, and being nominated in violation of Section 401(e). In particular, you
asserted that the union’s dues collection system is controlled by difficult rules that are
hard to follow and that Local 600 should provide more advanced notice before
suspending members for failing to pay dues or assessments. You identified members
who may have been disqualified or may know others who were disqualified.

During the Department’s investigation, Local 600 officials stated that members are only
suspended if they are in arrears for more than 60 days from the date that the union
notifies them of the dues or assessments owed. While a member is not held responsible
for an employer’s failure to remit timely assessments, the union notifies the member of
any such arrearage and allows the member 60 days to pay before losing good standing.
During the Department’s investigation, the election committee explained that members
in arrears each received two 30-day notices prior to being suspended.

The investigation further disclosed that the Quarterly Dues/Assessments Notices are
sent to members and clearly state that payments must be paid by the “Due Before” date
identified at the top of the billing notice. Union officials stated that if the union does
not receive the stated amount within 60 calendar days of the “Due Before” date, the
member is suspended from membership. A suspended member is no longer in good
standing and is not eligible to vote in union elections.
the local union to determine if they are eligible to enter into a payment plan if unable to
Members are instructed to call

pay the total amount due. The Department’s investigation found that members were
properly notified of their financial obligations in accordance with the union bylaws.

In response to your allegation that specific members may have been improperly
suspended, the Department interviewed Local 600 member The
Department’s investigation revealed that owed $3.85 in assessments. His
employer failed to pay his 1% assessment for the one day he worked during the past
year. admitted to having received his regular Dues/Assessments billing
statement, which stated that he owed $3.85. Since did not pay this arrearage
until after the due date, he was properly disqualified from running for a union officer

position, but was able to run for union delegate.

Local 600 member was late for one quarterly payment during the two-
year continuous good standing period. The Department found that was

properly notified, as he admitted that he received a dues bill for that quarter stating that
he was in arrears 30 to 60 days. During the investigation, stated that he paid
these owed dues late. Finally, the Department reviewed s membership
status. The Department found that was deemed ineligible in the election because
she failed to remain in good standing for the two-year continuous good standing
period. did not contest the eligibility finding and admitted that she received


Page 5 of 5

notices of owed dues, but did not pay the back dues. Accordingly, there is no violation
of the Act.

For the reasons set forth above, it is concluded that no violation of the LMRDA
occurred. Accordingly, the office has closed the file on this matter.

Sincerely,

Patricia Fox
Chief, Division of Enforcement

cc:
Matthew D. Loeb, International President
IATSE
1430 Broadway, 20th Floor
New York, NY 10018
Steven Poster, National President
IATSE Local 600
7755 Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90046-3911

Beverly Dankowitz, Acting Associate Solicitor
Civil Rights and Labor-Management