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United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America v. Metal Trades Dep't

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

October 28, 2014

UNITED BROTHERHOOD OF CARPENTERS AND JOINERS OF AMERICA; BUTCH PARKER; SCOTT FLANNERY; WILLIAM CRAWFORD; TRUMAN JORDAN, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
METAL TRADES DEPARTMENT, AFLCIO; HANFORD ATOMIC METAL TRADES COUNCIL, Defendants-Appellees

Argued and Submitted, Seattle, Washington May 12, 2014.

Appeal from the United States District Court, for the Eastern District of Washington. D.C. No. 2:11-cv-05159-TOR. Thomas O. Rice, District Judge, Presiding.

SUMMARY[*]

Labor Law

The panel affirmed the district court's dismissal of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America's action alleging that the Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO, violated the federal duty of fair representation.

The Carpenters, a labor union, alleged that, as part of a campaign to force it to reaffiliate, the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO, an umbrella labor organization, convinced the Metal Trades to expel the Carpenters from its membership. The Carpenters alleged that the Metal Trades waged a campaign against Carpenters members that included stripping them of their preferential positions as union stewards solely because they were members of the Carpenters.

The panel held that the Carpenters failed to state a claim for breach of the duty of fair representation because this duty does not forbid consideration of union affiliation in the appointment and removal of stewards. The panel held that a union's selecting stewards from whom it might expect undivided loyalty--that is, from members of an affiliated union, rather than an unaffiliated union--is not unreasonable discrimination and does not, without more, breach the duty of fair representation.

Craig D. Singer, Williams & Connolly LLP, Washington, DC, argued the cause and filed the briefs for the plaintiffs-appellants. With him on the briefs were Charles Davant IV, Williams & Connolly LLP, Washington, DC, and Daniel M. Shanley, DeCarlo & Shanley, Los Angeles, CA.

Keith Bolek, O'Donoghue & O'Donoghue LLP, Washington, DC, argued the cause and Craig A. Power, O'Donoghue & O'Donoghue LLP, Washington, DC, filed the brief for the defendants-appellees.

Before: Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain, Andrew J. Kleinfeld, and Marsha S. Berzon, Circuit Judges. Opinion by Judge O'Scannlain.

OPINION

Page 847

O'SCANNLAIN, Circuit Judge:

We must decide whether the duty of fair representation requires unions to appoint and to remove stewards ...


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