Sadlowski’s USW Presidential Election Appeal (1977)

Appealing to Federal Court

Joe Rauh sought recourse in federal court: but it was an appeal doomed in advance, not because the legal facts were weak or unpersuasive, but simply because the legal standard for successfully challenging a DOL election decision in Federal Court is difficult to meet, except in extraordinary circumstances.”

Quoted from Herman Benson’s Rebels, Reformers, and Racketeers

“At the end of the campaign, when the votes are counted, the tabulation does more than decide the winner. Although the incumbent wins, the tabulation measures the level of discontent among the members. If one third of the members vote for the insurgents in spite of the advantages favoring the incumbents, this signals a level of dissatisfaction far beyond what the officers believed to exist or want to continue. Practices and policies may be modified to meet the criticism and lower the level of discontent. Although the incumbent oligarchy stays in power, it becomes responsive to the election returns. The greater the opposition vote, the greater the responsiveness.

The central point is that the usefulness of union elections is not measured solely by the frequency with which the incumbents are unseated, although the more often this happens the more responsive union officers will be. The usefulness of elections lies rather in the frequency with which they are contested and the fullness and accuracy with which they measure the level of discontent. Their usefulness is increased by enabling or encouraging those who can make the best showing to be opposition candidates.”

Quoted from Clyde Summers’ article “Democracy in a One-Party State: Perspectives from Landrum-Griffin”

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