USW Local 12-369 V. USW Int'l

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Labor Law
  • Date Filed: 09-06-2013
  • Case #: 10-35450
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Tashima for the Court; Judges D. Nelson and Callahan
  • Full Text Opinion

Union officers may be disciplined under § 609 of the Labor-Management Recording and Disclosure Act for actions taken in their official capacity.

Stephanie Green, President of the United Steel Workers Union Local 12-369 ("Local") filed a claim against the International United Steel Workers International ("International") for discrimination, retaliation against protected speech, and enjoining International from removing her from office. The Local is part of an amalgamation of unions under a umbrella union Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council ("HAMTC") at the Hanford nuclear plant in Richland, WA. Ms. Green rose to prominence within Local for her attempt to decertify the HAMTC from representing Local because of claims of underrepresentation. Ms. Green became the president of Local and immediately clashed with HAMTC representatives and instituted controversial decisions that led to an inquiry from International. Two auditing teams suggested that Local be kept under and an administratorship; however, International ultimately decided upon not taking an action against Ms. Green. The Ninth Circuit found that the district court correctly dismissed Green's Labor-Management Recording and Disclosure Act ("LMRDA") protected speech claims because the discipline sought affected her leadership position within Local and not as a member. Congressional intent of 29 U.S.C. § 609 was to prevent abuses of power within union leadership, therefore union leaders may be internally disciplined without violating LMRDA § 102, which acts as a labor "Bill of Rights" including protected speech. The Panel found that the district court had correctly denied Ms. Green's discrimination claim because the district court substantively weighed and gave appropriate credit to evidence to find that actions taken on behalf by International and HAMTC. The district court found that these action did not rise to the level of discrimination or retaliation as there were significant interests in procuring an audit to determine if Ms. Green's actions violated Union policy. AFFIRMED.

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