Georgia Law Review, Vol. 5, No. 4 (Summer 1971), pp. 661-686


Generally speaking, Title I, section 101(a), of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA) guarantees to every union member: (1) equal rights and equal privileges within his union to nominate candidates for union office, to vote in elections or referendums, and to attend union meetings; (2) the right to exercise freedom of speech and assembly; (3) the right to be free from arbitrary increases in dues, initiation fees, and assessments; (4) the right to sue and to participate in administrative and legislative proceedings; and (5) the right to procedural due process in disciplinary proceedings within the union.

As noble as Congress' aim might have been, the Bill of Rights is nonetheless representative of "the fine art of political compromise." The resulting statute is unavoidably plagued with ambiguities. Thus, the courts have been faced with the Hobson-like task of fostering the provisions of the Bill of Rights while at the same time giving credence to the avowed congressional mandate of minimum interference in internal union government. What follows is a review and analysis of the judicial development of two provisions of Title I--sections 101(a)(1) and 101(a)(3).