Labor and Employment Law – San Francisco – Oakland – San Jose – Marin – California
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Significant Cases

Significant Cases

John Hailstone v Sam Martinez et al. 169 Cal. App. 4th 728
(Cal. App. 5th Dist., 2008)

Former Union official sued others for defamation based on statements falsely accusing him of double dipping in expenses.  Defendants filed anti-SLAPP motion to strike complaint, Court of Appeals upheld ruling in our client’s favor defeating the ant-SLAPP motion, finding our client had a probability of prevailing on the merits of the action for defamation; subsequently confidential settlement reached among the parties.

See Hailstone v. Martinez, 169 Cal. App. 4th 728 Cal: Court of Appeal, 5th Appellate Dist. 2008

Teamsters Union Local 287 v. Frito-Lay, Inc., 849 F. 2d 1210
Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit 1988.

The Employer, Frito-Lay transferred bargaining unit work to a location outside of the scope of the collective bargaining agreement and laid off union workers. Refusing to arbitrate the dispute, the Employer contended that the arbitration clause imposed no mandatory duty to arbitrate. The District court agreed, but on appeal the Ninth Circuit reversed, agreeing with the Union that even an ambiguous arbitration clause must be construed in favor of arbitration given the strong federal labor policy favoring arbitration. The Court also held that the issue of whether the detailed Management Rights clause precluded arbitration of work transfer dispute was for the District Court to decide; on remand the district court agreed with the Union that such disputes were not precluded from arbitration.

See Teamsters Union Local 287 v. Frito-Lay, Inc., 849 F. 2d 1210

Van Waters & Rogers v. Teamsters Local 70; 913 F.2d 736
(9 th Cir. 1990)

This action grew out of the sale of McKesson’s industrial gases division to Van Waters that resulted in the transfer of employees represented by Local 70 to another Union’s jurisdiction. The receiving Local refused to permit the seniority integration of the former Local 70 members and as a consequence long-term employees of McKesson lost their jobs. Arbitration was instituted against the seller claiming it had breached Local 70’s collective bargaining agreement when it failed to condition the sale on acceptance of the seniority integration clause by the purchaser. The Union limited its remedy demand to damages; the Arbitrator ruled for the Union and the company appealed. The Ninth Circuit held that by limiting its remedy to damages the Union had avoided impinging upon the other Union’s collective bargaining agreement covering the location to which the operations were transferred. Thus, the award did not violate the public policy against imposing the terms of one union contract on the employees represented by a different union; although an award of specific performance would have been void. The case is notable for its discussion of the public policy exception to enforceability of arbitration awards, of jurisdictional disputes between unions, and the distinction between the impact of an award for specific performance rather than compensatory damages.

See Van Waters & Rogers, Inc. v. Local Union 70, 913 F. 2d 736

Van Waters & Rogers, Inc. v. INTERN. BROTH. OF TEAMSTERS, 56 F. 3d 1132
Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit 1995

After remand in the above case; the Arbitrator awarded future damages to those Union members who had lost their jobs. The damages award extended beyond the expiration date of the McKesson collective bargaining agreement that created the seniority integration obligation. The Ninth Circuit again ruled for the Union, finding that an Arbitrator had the authority to grant future damages and was not constrained by the expiration date of the contract. The decision expands the remedial authority of labor arbitrators.

See Van Waters & Rogers, Inc. v. INTERN. BROTH. OF TEAMSTERS, 56 F. 3d 1132

Diamond Walnut Growers Inc. 308 NLRB No.143 (1992)

Establishes the right to a bifurcated election for strikers employed in a seasonal industry. Under the National Labor Relations Act strikers forfeit their right to vote in a representation election that is held more than 12 months into a strike. Here the Union filed its own certification petition before the passage of 12 months to avert an effort by the Employer to decertify the Union; it also persuaded the NLRB to permit the strikers to cast ballots before peak season so they would not be disenfranchised under the 12 month rule.

Diamond Walnut Growers v. NLRB and Cannery Workers’ Local 601, 113 F.3d 1259
(D.C..Cir.1997) (en banc)

The en banc Court upheld the Union’s position that an Employer faced with an unconditional offer to return to work presented by a striker must treat the returning employee like any other applicant for work; this reinforces the right of strikers to return to work even where, as in this instance, there are no positions vacant that are substantially equivalent to the position held by the striker before the strike commenced. As to other positions, the case established that such returning strikers must still be given nondiscriminatory consideration notwithstanding the Employer’s asserted business justification to treat the striker differently based on her active involvement in the Union’s nationwide corporate campaign. This litigation grew out of a carefully planned strategy to fend off an Employer’s efforts to decertify the striking Union.

International Brotherhood of Teamsters v. Diamond Walnut Growers
(before the Third Appellate District of the California Court of Appeals)

The Union’s emergency Petition for Writ of Supersedeas was granted vacating the Stockton Superior Court’s injunction prohibiting the Union from engaging in a nationwide publicity campaign as part of a corporate campaign strategy, the injunctive relief had been granted in a trade libel action brought by the Employer against the Unions. The Court of Appeals found that the injunction constituted an impermissible prior restraint of the Union’s speech and thus violated the First Amendment and the California Constitution.

Cademartori v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters et. al.
(United States District Court for the Eastern District of California).

An International Union is not liable under agency principles for the alleged wrong doing of an affiliated Local Union, even where the International had extensive daily contacts with and supervision of the Local’s affairs.

Julio LaMadrid v Pleasant Hill Bayshore Disposal Inc.,
(United States District Court for the Northern District of California)

A Union activist was terminated after the expiration of the Union’s collective bargaining agreement but before the commencement of a strike. Under federal labor law an Employer’s arbitration obligation does not survive the expiration of the labor agreement. An action for wrongful termination was filed in federal court under Section 301 of the National Labor Relations Act, alleging an implied contract to continue the just cause standard for discharges during the hiatus between the expired collective bargaining agreement and the successor contract. The Judge held that such a cause of action was cognizable under the Act. A favorable settlement for the plaintiff was achieved rapidly thereafter.

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