The opinion of the court was delivered by: RONALD BUCKWALTER, District Judge
Presently before the Court is Defendant National Railroad Passenger
Corporation's ("Amtrak") Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendant
Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, Local 18's ("Union") Motion for
Summary Judgment, Plaintiff Derek E. Ellis' ("Plaintiff) Oppositions
thereto and Amtrak's Reply to Plaintiff's Opposition. For the reasons set
forth below, Amtrak's motion is granted in part and denied in part, and
Union's motion is granted.*fn1
The following is a recitation of the undisputed facts. On or around
July 11, 1994 Amtrak hired Plaintiff an African American
as a Helper. During subsequent times in his
employment with Amtrak, Plaintiff held the positions of Signalman
Trainee and Signalman. Except for the first sixty days of his employment,
Plaintiff was at all times a member of a collective bargaining unit that
was covered by a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") between Amtrak
and the Union.
On or around January 15, 2001, Amtrak eliminated approximately twenty
Signalman positions when it abolished several work gangs located in the
Pennsylvania Coach Yard. Plaintiff was one of the Signalmen who lost his
position. Pursuant to the CBA, Signalmen who lost their positions were
permitted to bid for vacant positions within their seniority district,
bump less senior employees by exercising their displacement rights or
transfer to another seniority district. Any employee who failed to obtain
a vacant position, bump a less senior employee or transfer to a different
district was furloughed. Faced with these options, Plaintiff bumped into
other positions, but each time he bumped into a position, he was
ultimately bumped out of the position by a more senior employee.
Eventually, Plaintiff ran out of bumps, and with no vacant positions
available, Plaintiff decided to accept furlough instead of transferring
into another seniority district. Plaintiff was furloughed on or around
January 22, 2001.
While he remained on furlough, two Caucasian employees with less
seniority George Dorman and Michael Moore obtained
positions within Plaintiff's seniority district. Both Dorman and Moore
had had their jobs abolished, along with Plaintiff's job, in January,
2001. Dorman received a position in or around April, 2001, and Moore
received a position in or around September, 2001. In or around January,
2002, Amtrak recalled Plaintiff from furlough.
On or around October 24, 2002, Plaintiff filed the instant action
alleging that Amtrak intentionally discriminated against Plaintiff by
awarding positions to less senior white
employees before awarding him a position, and that Amtrak's actions
violated the CBA. Specifically, Plaintiff has alleged the following three
causes of action: 1) violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act,
42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.; 2) violation of Civil Rights Act,
42 U.S.C. § 1981; and 3) Violation of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act,
43 Pa.C.S.A. § 951 et seq.
A motion for summary judgment will be granted where all of the evidence
demonstrates "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." Fed.
R. Civ. P. 56(c). A dispute about a material fact is genuine "if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby. Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Since a grant of summary judgment will deny a
party its chance in court, all inferences must be drawn in the light most
favorable to the party opposing the motion. U.S. v. Diebold. Inc.,
369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962).
The ultimate question in determining whether a motion for summary
judgment should be granted is "whether reasonable minds may differ as to
the verdict." Schoonejongen v. Curtiss-Wright Corp.,
143 F.3d 120, 129 (3d Cir. 1998). "Only disputes over facts that might
affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly
preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.
A. The Position Awarded to George Dorman
In or around October, 2000, Dorman a white Signalman with less
seniority than Plaintiff went out of work on a medical leave of
absence. As explained above, in January, 2001
Amtrak abolished approximately twenty Signalman positions,
including Dorman's position. Dorman was still on medical leave at the
time Amtrak abolished his position.
On or around January 26, 2001, James Ficarra a senior Signalman
who had retained a position after Amtrak abolished twenty Signalman
positions suffered an injury on the job and was unable to work.
Ficarra was out of work for several weeks when it was determined that he
would need surgery. In or around late March, 2001 or early April, 2001,
Amtrak officially labeled Ficarra's position as "permanently vacant."
In March 2001 prior to the time that Amtrak labeled Ficarra's
position as permanently vacant Dorman contacted Amtrak and
notified Amtrak that he was ready to return from his medical leave. After
passing a physical and a drug test, Dorman returned to work on or around
April 8, 2001. Dorman filled Ficarra's position, which ultimately was not
advertised as vacant until April 17, 2001 approximately nine days
after Dorman had already filled the position.
Plaintiff has alleged that Amtrak engaged in racial discrimination by
awarding Ficarra's position to Dorman a less senior white
employee instead of properly advertising the position. Because
Plaintiff was the most senior furloughed employee, he claims that he
should have received the position. Plaintiff also alleges that Amtrak
deliberately left Ficarra's position vacant and did not advertise
the position for approximately two and one half months in order
for the vacancy to coincide with Dorman's return from medical leave in
April, 2001. (Def.'s Br. at 9-10, 20, 32.)
1. Railway Labor Act Preemption
Amtrak argues that Plaintiff's claims are preempted by the Railway
Labor Act, 45 U.S.C. § 151 et seq. ("RLA"). Amtrak states that the
CBA governed all of its actions in awarding Ficarra's position to Dorman,
and that Plaintiff's claim is premised on an interpretation of the CBA,
and thus, inextricably intertwined with the CBA.*fn2 Accordingly, Amtrak
argues that Plaintiff should have filed a grievance and "sought a
determination by the National Railway Adjustment Board ...