MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN delivered the opinion of the Court.
This is a companion case to No. 57, Wirtz v. Local 153, Glass Bottle Blowers Assn., ante, p. 463. Petitioner, the Secretary of Labor, filed the action in the District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, under § 402 (b) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, 29 U. S. C. § 482 (b). His complaint challenged the validity of a general election of union officers conducted by the respondent Local Union on June 8, 1963, and the validity of a runoff election for the single office of Business Representative made necessary by a tie vote for that office at the June 8 election. The complaint alleged, in part, violations of § 401 (e), 29 U. S. C. § 481 (e), in permitting members not "in good standing" to vote and to run for office on both occasions. However, the only allegation that internal union remedies had been exhausted, as is required by § 402 (a), was in regard to the runoff election of July 13; the complaint stated that the loser in the runoff election,
In the circumstances we might remand to the Court of Appeals to decide the merits of the Secretary's appeal.
Respondent Local is governed by the Constitution and the Uniform Local Union Constitution of the Laborers' International Union of North America. Under the Uniform Local Union Constitution as it existed during the period relevant here, a member's good standing was lost by failure to pay membership dues within a specified grace period, and the member was automatically suspended without notice and with loss of all membership rights except the right to readmission (but as a new member) upon payment of a fee. The eligibility of voters and candidates in both elections in this case was determined by reference to a report to the International
The question is one of statutory construction and must be answered by inference since there is lacking an explicit provision regarding the permissible scope of the Secretary's complaint. On the facts of this case we think the Secretary is entitled to maintain his action challenging the June 8 general election because respondent union had fair notice from the violation charged by Dial in his protest of the runoff election that the same unlawful conduct probably occurred at the earlier election as well.
We reject the narrow construction adopted by the District Court and supported by respondent limiting the Secretary's complaint solely to the allegations made in the union member's initial complaint. Such a severe restriction upon the Secretary's powers should not be read into the statute without a clear indication of congressional intent to that effect. Neither the language of the statute nor its legislative history provides such an indication; indeed, the indications are quite clearly to the contrary.
First, it is most improbable that Congress deliberately settled exclusive enforcement jurisdiction on the Secretary and granted him broad investigative powers to discharge his responsibilities,
We can only conclude, therefore, that it would be anomalous to limit the reach of the Secretary's cause of action by the specifics of the union member's complaint. In an analogous context we rejected such a limiting construction of the National Labor Relations Board's authority to fashion unfair labor practice complaints. NLRB v. Fant Milling Co., 360 U.S. 301, 306-309; National Licorice Co. v. NLRB, 309 U.S. 350, 369.
Respondent argues, however, that the spirit and letter of the statutory requirement that the member first exhaust his internal union remedies before the Secretary may intervene compels the suggested limitation. It contends that even to allow the Secretary to challenge the earlier election for the same violation established as having occurred in the runoff election would be inconsistent with Congress' intention to allow unions first opportunity to redress violations of § 401. This argument is not persuasive.
Here the Secretary sought to challenge the June 8 general election, alleging that the same unlawful conduct occurring in the runoff affected the general election held only five weeks before. Dial's complaint had disclosed the fraudulent practice with respect to the runoff, and he was apparently able to prove at the hearing before the General Executive Board that that practice enabled nine ineligible members to vote in the runoff election; but his protest was denied because he had lost by 19 votes. The Secretary's investigation, however, discovered that a much larger number of ineligible members had been permitted to vote in that runoff election and that the Secretary-Treasurer responsible for the falsification prepared the per capita tax reports used to determine the eligibility of voters and candidates at both elections. Yet in the face of Dial's evidence raising the almost overwhelming probability that the misconduct affecting the runoff election had also occurred at the June 8 election, the union insists that it was under no duty to expand its inquiry beyond the specific challenge to the runoff election made by Dial. Surely this is not the responsible union self-government contemplated by Congress in allowing the
Because the complaint as to the June 8 election was dismissed for deficiency in pleading, the factual allegations have not been tried. We therefore reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand to that court with direction to enter a judgment reversing the District Court's judgment of dismissal and directing further proceedings by that court consistent with this opinion.
It is so ordered.
MR. JUSTICE MARSHALL took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
These conflicting views particularly justify our resolution of the question without remanding to the Court of Appeals. In contrast, the issue in No. 57, Wirtz v. Local 153, supra, which we did remand to the Court of Appeals, was whether a standard not questioned by any party was properly applied to the particular facts.
Although the eligibility of Dial's opponent in the runoff was an issue before the District Court on the Secretary's motion for summary judgment, the judgment was granted on the ground of voter ineligibility; that judgment is not before us.