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SAG member files suit in election rules dispute

A member of the Screen Actors Guild has filed suit against the U.S. Secretary of Labor, charging that his rights were violated in SAG’s 1991 elections.

Joseph William O’Melia filed the suit in U.S. District Court last week, contesting the Labor Dept.’s decision last July.

That decision found that SAG had committed no wrongdoing during its ’91 election.

Yet O’Melia contends that union officials have systematically excluded members from becoming national officers, partly because of a Los Angeles residency requirement. He was running for the office of first national VP.

Among his charges, O’Melia said that SAG’s rules requiring the president, recording secretary and treasurer to reside in Los Angeles disqualifies up to 60 % of the union’s membership and is illegal.

Yet the Labor Commissioner ruled that the residency requirement did not extend to those who were running for office, only to those elected. Additionally the Commissioner found that the residency requirement was so officers could meet legitimate demands and needs of the union.

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