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Dismissal of Navistar workers’ complaint upheld by 7th Circuit

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A group of unionized workers laid off by an Indianapolis engine plant who brought an action for breach of the collective-bargaining agreement didn’t provide enough factual content in their complaint to allow it to proceed in court, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

Forty-three plaintiffs brought the original action under Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act after Navistar laid them off and did not rehire them as work became available. Instead, the company subcontracted their work to nonunion plants. Judge Sarah Evans Barker in the Southern District of Indiana dismissed the complaint because of a lack of factual content to plead a plausible claim for breach of the duty of fair representation.

A successful Section 301 claim requires a breach of contract by an employer and a breach by the plaintiff’s union of its duty of fair representation. This is required so that the plaintiff first seeks to address the complaint through the grievance process set up by the union.

The plaintiffs here allege that they filed grievances challenging Navistar’s subcontracting work, but the union intentionally failed to process the grievances in breach of its duty of fair representation. After the District Court dismissed the complaint, only 29 plaintiffs proceeded on appeal.

“The plaintiffs offer nothing to support their claim of bad faith apart from conclusory labels — that the unnamed union officials acted ‘invidiously’ when they failed to process the grievances, or simply that the union’s actions were ‘intentional, willful, wanton, and malicious.’ They supply no factual detail to support these conclusory allegations, such as (for example) offering facts that suggest a motive for the union’s alleged failure to deal with the grievances,” Judge Diane Sykes wrote in Robert Yeftich, et al. v. Navistar Inc. and Indianapolis Casting Corp., 12-2964.

“Nor do the plaintiffs offer plausible allegations of arbitrariness. The plaintiffs generally allege an arbitrary failure to act on their grievances … but factual detail in support of this otherwise conclusory allegation is entirely missing,” she continued.

Judge John D. Tinder recused himself and did not participate in the decision on appeal, which was resolved by a quorum of the panel, the opinion notes.

 

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  • COA
    The court of appeals not only tries to rewrite or interpret the law to suit their fancy, now they choose play stupid as well. Every consideration must be given to pro se litigants, who are not held to the same standards as attorneys, as stated by,SCOTUS. I assume they didn't have a lawyer, since one wasn't mentioned and I strongly suggest thatb the rest of the, origional petitioners get back in there and fight for their rights.

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  1. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  2. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  3. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

  4. Duncan, It's called the RIGHT OF ASSOCIATION and in the old days people believed it did apply to contracts and employment. Then along came title vii.....that aside, I believe that I am free to work or not work for whomever I like regardless: I don't need a law to tell me I'm free. The day I really am compelled to ignore all the facts of social reality in my associations and I blithely go along with it, I'll be a slave of the state. That day is not today......... in the meantime this proposed bill would probably be violative of 18 usc sec 1981 that prohibits discrimination in contracts... a law violated regularly because who could ever really expect to enforce it along the millions of contracts made in the marketplace daily? Some of these so-called civil rights laws are unenforceable and unjust Utopian Social Engineering. Forcing people to love each other will never work.

  5. I am the father of a sweet little one-year-old named girl, who happens to have Down Syndrome. To anyone who reads this who may be considering the decision to terminate, please know that your child will absolutely light up your life as my daughter has the lives of everyone around her. There is no part of me that condones abortion of a child on the basis that he/she has or might have Down Syndrome. From an intellectual standpoint, however, I question the enforceability of this potential law. As it stands now, the bill reads in relevant part as follows: "A person may not intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion . . . if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or a potential diagnosis of Down syndrome." It includes similarly worded provisions abortion on "any other disability" or based on sex selection. It goes so far as to make the medical provider at least potentially liable for wrongful death. First, how does a medical provider "know" that "the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion SOLELY" because of anything? What if the woman says she just doesn't want the baby - not because of the diagnosis - she just doesn't want him/her? Further, how can the doctor be liable for wrongful death, when a Child Wrongful Death claim belongs to the parents? Is there any circumstance in which the mother's comparative fault will not exceed the doctor's alleged comparative fault, thereby barring the claim? If the State wants to discourage women from aborting their children because of a Down Syndrome diagnosis, I'm all for that. Purporting to ban it with an unenforceable law, however, is not the way to effectuate this policy.

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