Georgia Law Review, Vol. 2, No. 4 (Summer 1968), pp. 469-525


With the passage of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, Congress embarked upon a policy of substantial federal regulation of internal union affairs. Prior to this enactment, the impact of law on this area had been determined largely by state courts with only a modicum of legislative guidance. In formulating the LMRDA Congress was greatly concerned with determining where to draw the line between necessary democratic safeguards and the preservation of union self-determination. This concern was particularly evident in drafting Title III which deals with union trusteeships. While Congress framed Title III from a somewhat limited informational base, two facts about the nature of trusteeships were apparent. One was the trusteeships were among the most effective devices which responsible international officers had to insure order within their organizations. The other was that in some instances trusteeships had been used as a means of consolidating the power of corrupt union officers, plundering and dissipating the resources of local unions and preventing the growth of competing political elements within the organization. How has this legislative mandate fared with nine years of administrative and judicial experience? The purpose of this article is to survey generally the evolution of the trusteeship device, the response of the common law to it, the congressional concern with trusteeship abuses, the legislative history of the corrective legislation, and finally to analyze in a more detailed review the administrative and judicial experience with Title III.