occurred on April 18, 1994. At 2 p.m. that day, David Palmer, apparently a Heavy Helper assigned to the Compound Department, notified Campbell that he would miss the afternoon shift because of illness. John Cremo, the most senior Heavy Helper, told General Supervisor Tom McClasky that he did not wish to work in the Compound Department. McClasky permitted Cremo to decline the work.
When Jelenic reported to work that day, McClasky told him to report to the Taurus Department instead of to his usual job assignment. Upon being told that he would have to work in two departments, Jelenic refused, citing a provision in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that allows employees with seniority to decline transfers. Campbell Plastics states that Jelenic's supervisor made every effort to convince Jelenic to perform his job, and that he was told that his refusal could result in his termination. When Jelenic continued to refuse the work assignment, he was suspended.
The next day, April 19, Frank DeLuca (then-president of Local 318), Dave Palmer (vice-president of Local 318), Fred Davies (Campbell's Human Resources Manager), Paul Toomey (Campbell's Manufacturing Manager), Scott Riggi (Shop Steward), McClasky, and Jelenic held a meeting to discuss Jelenic's suspension. At this meeting, Jelenic states that he voiced his safety concerns about operating a forklift on Campbell's premises and that he did not have safety glasses the previous afternoon. Two days later, Davies notified Jelenic that he was being terminated for misconduct and insubordination. On the same day, April 21, Jelenic filed a grievance against Campbell for discrimination and breach of contract.
In the following months, Jelenic and Local 318 arbitrated his grievance against Campbell. However, Jelenic informed Local 318 that he did not wish to be represented by Local 318, and retained his own lawyer, Ronald Dunn, of the firm Gleason, Dunn, Walsh & O'Shea. In his deposition, Attorney Dunn stated that Local 318 assisted in, and supplied him with all documents necessary for, the presentation of Jelenic's case. (Dunn Dep. at 11-15, 18).
On August 31, the Arbitrator denied Jelenic's grievance, concluding that Campbell had proper and sufficient cause to terminate Jelenic for insubordination because he had "refused a clear and direct order that did not pose danger to himself or other employees." (Def's Exh. E). Local 318 argued in Jelenic's post-hearing brief that the punishment of termination was disproportionate to Jelenic's misconduct, but the arbitrator disagreed. On October 11, 1994, the NLRB upheld the arbitrator's award.
Jelenic filed the instant Complaint on November 29, 1994. Defendants now move for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
A. Summary Judgment Standard
Pursuant to Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a court may grant summary judgment if it appears "that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986). It is the substantive law that will determine what facts are material to the outcome of a case. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250.
Initially, the moving party has the burden of informing the court of the basis of its motion. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986). If the moving party satisfies its burden, the burden then shifts to the non-moving party to come forward with "specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e). The Court must then resolve all ambiguities and draw all reasonable inferences against the moving party. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 89 L. Ed. 2d 538, 106 S. Ct. 1348 (1986). However, the non-moving party must do more than simply show "that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586. Only when the Court concludes that no rational finder of fact can find in favor of the non-moving party should summary judgment be granted. Gallo v. Prudential Residential. Servs., Ltd., 22 F.3d 1219, 1223 (2d Cir. 1994).
B. Duty of Fair Representation
The duty of a union to fairly represent the interests of its bargaining unit employees is inherent in its status as the exclusive bargaining representative. See Vaca v. Sipes, 386 U.S. 171, 177, 87 S. Ct. 903, 909-10, 17 L. Ed. 2d 842 (1967) ("The exclusive agent's statutory authority to represent all members of a designated unit includes a statutory obligation to serve the interests of all members without hostility or discrimination toward any, to exercise its discretion with complete good faith and honesty, and to avoid arbitrary conduct."). In Air Line Pilots Ass'n, Int'l v. O'Neill, 499 U.S. 65, 111 S. Ct. 1127, 113 L. Ed. 2d 51 (1991), the Supreme Court stated that "the duty of fair representation is . . . akin to the duty owed by other fiduciaries to their beneficiaries." Id. at 74, 111 S. Ct. at 1133. The Second Circuit, in addressing the issue of the duty of fair representation, has stated that
arbitrary conduct amounting to a breach is not limited to intentional conduct by union officials but may include acts of omission which, while not calculated to harm union members, "may be so egregious, so far short of minimum standards of fairness to the employee and so unrelated to legitimate union interests as to be arbitrary."