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WIRTZ V. BOTTLE BLOWERS ASSN., 389 U. S. 463 (1968)

U.S. Supreme Court

Wirtz v. Bottle Blowers Assn., 389 U.S. 463 (1968)

Wirtz v. Local 153, Glass Bottle Blowers Association

of the United States and Canada, AFL-CIO

No. 57

Argued November 8, 1967

Decided January 15, 1968

389 U.S. 463


The Secretary of Labor filed this action under § 902(b) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, seeking invalidation by the District Court of an election of union officers held by respondent in 1963 and an order directing that a new election be conducted under the Secretary's supervision. That provision authorizes the Secretary, upon the complaint of a union member who has exhausted is union remedies, to file suit when an investigation gives the Secretary probable cause to believe that a union election violates the standards prescribed in § 401 of the Act. If the court finds that a § 401 violation "may have affected the outcome of an election," the Act provides that the court shall declare the election void and direct a new election supervised by the Secretary. The complaint alleged that the Union had violated § 401(e) of the Act by imposing an unreasonable restriction on members' eligibility to be candidates and to hold office. Although finding the restriction violative of § 401(e), the District Court dismissed the suit on the ground that it was not established that the violation "may have affected the outcome" of the election. While petitioner's appeal was pending, the Union, in 1965, held another regular election. The Court of Appeals held that the 1965 election mooted the Secretary's challenge to the 1963 election, and vacated the District Court's judgment without reaching the merits.

Held: When the Secretary of Labor proves the existence of a § 401 violation that may have affected the outcome of a challenged election, he is not deprived of the right to a court order voiding the challenged election and directing that a new election be conducted under his supervision because the union has meanwhile conducted another unsupervised election. Pp. 389 U. S. 467-476.

372 F.2d 86, reversed and remanded.

Page 389 U. S. 464

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