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Sanchez v. Local 660, United Workers of Am.

United States District Court, E.D. New York

June 6, 2014

HECTOR SANCHEZ and CARLOS BERNAL ARAUJO [1], Plaintiffs,
v.
LOCAL 660, UNITED WORKERS OF AMERICA and METROPOLITAN PAPER RECYCLING, INC., Defendants

Page 262

For Plaintiffs: Haluk Savci, Esq., Tamir W. Rosenblum, Esq., Mason Tenders District Counsel, New York, NY.

For Defendants Local 660: No appearances.

Metropolitan Paper: Milo S. Silberstein, Esq., Marc David Braverman, Esq., Dealy Silberstein & Braverman, LLP, New York, NY.

Page 263

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

SEYBERT, District Judge

Currently pending before the Court are: (1) defendant Metropolitan Paper Recycling, Inc.'s (" Metropolitan Paper" ) motion to dismiss (Docket Entry 9); and (2) plaintiffs Hector Sanchez and Carlos Bernal Araujo's (together, " Plaintiffs" ) motion to amend the Complaint (Docket Entry 17). For the following reasons, Metropolitan Paper's motion to dismiss is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART and Plaintiffs' motion to amend is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

Page 264

BACKGROUND[2]

Plaintiffs commenced this action on April 26, 2013 against Metropolitan Paper and Local 660, United Workers of America (" Local 660," and together with Metropolitan Paper, " Defendants" ) for breach of a collective bargaining agreement (" CBA" ) and the federal duty of fair representation (" DFR" ).

Sanchez " has been a scale-house operator in the employ of Metropolitan and/or its predecessors since in or about 2000, and at all relevant times was represented for purposes of collective bargaining by Local 660." (Compl. ¶ 1.) Bernal Araujo " has been a driver in the employ of Metropolitan and/or its predecessors at various times since in or about 1994 and at all relevant times was represented for purposes of collective bargaining by Local 660." (Compl. ¶ 2.)

In the summer of 2012, Sanchez and other Metropolitan employees contacted Waste Material, Recycling, and General Industrial Local 108, LIUNA (" Local 108" ) regarding the mechanism to obtain that union's representation. (Compl. ¶ 8.) Shortly thereafter, Sanchez and others solicited signatures from their co-workers on " pledge cards" showing their support for Local 108. (Compl. ¶ 9.) On July 25, 2012, Local 108 filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (" NLRB" ). (Compl. ¶ 9.) This petition was withdrawn, however, as untimely. (Compl. ¶ 9.) On or about July 31, 2012, Local 660 and Metropolitan entered into a new CBA, preventing Local 108 from filing a petition. (Compl. ¶ 9.)

On or about August 7, 2012, Metropolitan Paper began investigating employees in an attempt to determine who had facilitated the filing of Local 108's petition. (Compl. ¶ 10.) Shortly thereafter, Sanchez, Bernal Araujo, and others signed cards seeking to de-authorize Local 660 from collecting dues as a condition to employment. (Compl. ¶ 11.) On the same day that the de-authorization petition was filed, Metropolitan terminated Sanchez. (Compl. ¶ 12.)

On September 4, 2012, Sanchez received a call from Local 116 President and Local 660 agent Vinnie Sombrotto inviting him to dinner. (Compl. ¶ 17.) Sombrotto offered to assist Sanchez in regaining his job, but only if Sanchez proffered false testimony to the NLRB that Sanchez and others coerced employees to sign the cards supporting the de-authorization petition. (Compl. ¶ 18.) Sanchez later filed NLRB charges against Defendants, which were settled based upon Sanchez being reinstated and given partial back pay. (Compl. ¶ 20.) He was not employed from August 29, 2012 through February 20, 2013. (Compl. ¶ 1.)

Similarly, also on September 4, 2012, Bernal Araujo was told he was being laid off, despite the fact that the CBA required that lay-offs occur in seniority order and that the employer was prohibited from terminating an employee absent " just cause." (Compl. ¶ ¶ 13-14.) " When [Bernal Araujo] contacted Local 660 representatives for them to file a grievance for him, he was told by union representative Eddie Gonzales that the employer suspected him of contacting Local 108." (Compl. ¶ 15.) Local 660 denied Bernal Araujo representation despite his continued solicitation. (Compl. ¶ 15.) Bernal Araujo was ultimately allowed to return to work. (Compl. ¶ 16.) He was not employed from September

Page 265

4, 2012 through November 5, 2012. (Compl. ¶ 2.)

Plaintiffs now bring claims against Metropolitan for unlawful discharge and against Local 660 for violation of ...


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