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Quigley v. Giblin

Topic(s): Internet Free Speech - Miscellaneous
Union Democracy
Status: open
Date Of Involvement: 03/29/2007

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Members of the International Union of Operating Engineers sued their union for adopting a rule requiring union members who create web sites about union election contests to "password protect" the sites so that only members of the union can visit the sites. The members argue that the federal Union Members' Bill of Rights guarantees their right to speak publicly about union affairs, not just to other union members, and that in any event the password protection requirement imposes unjustified limits on speech even to other union members. The suit also contends that a union rule that threatens large fines against members who fail to exhaust intra-union remedies violates the right to sue also guaranteed by the Union Members' Bill of Rights, Title I of the LMRDA.

During the litigation, the union changed its constitutional provision to avoid discipline for filing suit without exhaustion. The district court granted summary judgment upholding the union’s web site rule, and the court of appeals affirmed.