United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
MALACHY E. MANNION, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the court is defendant URS/AECOM, URS Federal
Services’s (“URS”) motion for summary
judgment (Doc. 50), defendant International Association of
Machinists & Aerospace Workers’
(“International”) motion for summary judgment
(Doc. 52), and defendants District Lodge 1
(“District”) and Local 1717’s
(“Local”) joint motion for summary judgment,
(Doc. 51)-(collectively, “defendants”). For the
reasons set forth below, defendants’ motions for
summary judgment (Doc. 50; Doc. 52; Doc. 51) will be
February 6, 2017, the plaintiff Sandra Clowney
(“Clowney”) filed her original complaint against
her employer, URS, and her labor union, International,
alleging discriminatory treatment in violation of Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), 42
U.S.C. §§2000e–2000e-17. (Doc. 1). On April
7, 2017, URS filed a motion to dismiss Clowney’s
complaint for failure to state a claim. International failed
to file any responsive pleading or motion. (Doc. 4).
light of URS’s motion to dismiss, Clowney filed an
amended complaint on April 28, 2017. (Doc. 8). URS again filed a
motion to dismiss the amended complaint on May 12, 2017, and
International again did not file any responsive pleading or
motion to the amended complaint. (Doc. 10). Clowney
thereafter filed a second amended complaint on June 1, 2017,
which reasserted her Title VII claims
against URS and International, but additionally alleged a
violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
(“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C. §§621–634.
(Doc. 12). Yet again, URS filed a motion to dismiss on June
7, 2017, while International tendered no responsive filing.
September 5, 2017, the Clerk of Court entered default
judgment against International under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 55(a). (Doc. 24; Doc. 25). On September 21, 2017,
International filed a motion to vacate the entry of default
and a motion to dismiss counts III, IV, and V of
Clowney’s second amended complaint. (Doc. 28).
September 28, 2017, Clowney initiated a separate action,
asserting a “hybrid” claim under §301 of the
Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (“LMRA”),
29 U.S.C. §185, stemming from the terms of a written
collective bargaining agreement. (No. 3:17-cv-1761, Doc. 1).
This time, Clowney named as defendants URS, International,
and two regional offices of International: District and
Local. (Id.). On November 16, 2017, URS moved to
dismiss the complaint. (No. 3:17-cv-1761, Doc. 11). On
January 3, 2018, the two cases described above were
consolidated for all purposes. (Doc. 35).
consolidating Clowney’s cases, this court denied
URS’s two motions to dismiss (Doc. 15; No.
3:17-cv-1761, Doc. 11), as well as International’s
motion to dismiss (Doc. 28) as to count V of the second
amended complaint, the ADEA claim, but granted
International’s motion as to counts III and IV of the
second amended complaint (Doc. 12), the Title VII
claims. (Doc. 37).
filed its answer to the second amended complaint for the
discrimination claims and its answer to the §301
complaint on February 1 and 12, 2018, respectively. (Doc. 38;
Doc. 40). On February 26, 2018, URS filed its answer
to Clowney’s second amended complaint, as well as
Clowney’s §301 complaint. (Doc. 42; Doc. 43).
August 13, 2018, URS, District and Local, jointly, and
International filed three motions for summary judgment (Doc.
50; Doc. 51; Doc. 52) and statements of material facts (Doc.
50-1; Doc. 51-1; Doc. 52-1). On August 23, 2018, URS filed a
brief in support of its motion (Doc. 53), as did District and
Local, jointly, (Doc. 54) and International (Doc. 55).
Clowney filed briefs in opposition and responsive statements
of material fact to URS (Doc. 56; Doc. 57), District and
Local (Doc. 60; Doc. 61), and International (Doc. 62; Doc.
63). In her briefs in opposition, Clowney indicated that she
was withdrawing all of her Title VII and ADEA claims, and she
did not oppose the entry of summary judgment on those claims.
Accordingly, the court will enter summary judgment in favor
of URS and International on the three remaining counts, count
I, II, and V, of the second amended complaint. (Doc. 12).
Defendants’ motions for summary judgment on the hybrid
§301 claims in the remaining complaint (No.
3:17-cv-1761, Doc. 1) are now ripe for disposition.
judgment is appropriate when, drawing all reasonable
inferences in favor of the nonmoving party, the movant shows
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact, and
thus the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Minarsky v. Susquehanna Cty., 895 F.3d
303, 309 (3d Cir. 2018) (internal quotation marks omitted).
“A dispute is genuine if a reasonable trier-of-fact
could find in favor of the non-movant, and material if it
could affect the outcome of the case.” Bradley v.
West Chester Univ. of Pa. State Sys. of Higher Educ.,
880 F.3d 643, 650 (3d Cir.) (internal quotation marks
omitted), cert. denied, 139 S.Ct. 167 (2018). In
considering a motion for summary judgment, “the court
need consider only the cited materials, but it may consider
other materials in the record.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3).
succeed on a hybrid §301 claim under the LMRA against
either the company or the union, a plaintiff must demonstrate
both (1) that the union violated its duty of fair
representation, and (2) the employer breached the collective
bargaining agreement. Felice, 985 F.2d at 1226
(emphasis added); see also DelCostello v.
International Broth. of Teamsters, 462 U.S. 151, 165
(1983). The two claims are “inextricably
interdependent.” United States Parcel Service v.
Mitchell, 451 U.S. 56, 66-67 (1981) (Stewart, J.
concurring). Thus, in a hybrid §301 claim, “the
plaintiff will have to prove that the employer breached the
collective bargaining agreement in order to prevail on the
breach of duty of fair representation claim against the
union, and vice versa.” Felice, 985
F.2d at 1226. (emphasis added).
union has a statutory duty to serve as the employees’
exclusive bargaining representative and, therefore, must
fairly represent all employees covered by the collective
bargaining agreement. Vaca v. Sipes, 386 U.S. 171,
177 (1967). A union breaches its duty of fair representation
if its actions are either arbitrary, discriminatory, or in
bad faith, and this rule applies to all union activity.
Air Line Pilots v. O’Neill, 499 U.S. 65, 67
(1991). A union’s actions are arbitrary only if, in
light of the factual and legal landscape at the time of its
actions, the union’s behavior is so far outside a wide
range of reasonableness as to be irrational. Id. In
evaluating a union’s actions, courts “must be
highly deferential, recognizing the wide latitude that
negotiators need for the effective performance of their
bargaining responsibilities.” Id. at 78. The
duty of fair representation is thus akin to the duty owed by
other fiduciaries to their beneficiaries.” Id.
at 74 (giving examples of trustee-to-trust beneficiaries,
attorney-to-client, and corporate officers-to-shareholders
relationships). “Just as these fiduciaries owe their
beneficiaries a duty of care as well as a duty of loyalty, a
union owes employees a duty to represent them adequately as
well as honestly and in good faith.” Id. at
Third Circuit has set forth the analysis for §301 claims
relating to grievances:
With respect to an alleged grievance against an employer, a
union may not arbitrarily ignore a meritorious grievance or
process it in perfunctory fashion. A union’s conduct
can be classified as arbitrary only when it is irrational,
when it is without a rational basis or explanation. The
plaintiff must demonstrate more than mere ineptitude or
negligence on the part of the union, and the fact that
trained counsel would have avoided the error or pursued a
different strategy is not enough. And it bears noting that a
union’s foremost duty to advocate on behalf of its
members is tempered by an obligation . . . to act fairly
under the collective bargaining agreement and not to assert
or press grievances which it believes in good faith do not
warrant such action.
Gehringer v. Atlantic Detroit Diesel Allison LLC,
595 Fed.App’x 157, 161 (3d Cir. 2014) (internal
citations and quotation marks omitted).
MATERIAL FACTS 
United States Army contracts with companies to provide
services at the Tobyhanna Army Depot
(“Tobyhanna”). The contractors during the
relevant time period were Lockheed Martin, followed by
Defense Support Services (“DS2”), followed by
began employment as an equipment cleaner for Lockheed Martin
on June 21, 2004, and was promoted to Electronic Tech II (ET
II) by DS2 in September of 2004. In January of 2007, Clowney
was promoted to Electronic Tech III (ET III) by DS2 and
continued in that position when she was hired by URS on July
1, 2011. During her employment at Tobyhanna, Clowney was a
member of International, District, and Local.
is a labor organization that is affiliated with, and falls
under the jurisdiction of, District. District is a labor
organization responsible for providing services needed to
bargain and enforce the collective bargaining agreements
(CBA) of bargaining unit employees who fall within the
jurisdiction of District, including those working at
Tobyhanna. District lodges, including District, are comprised
of several local lodges. District lodges employ business
representatives who are assigned to handle the negotiating,
administering, and handling of grievances or complaints
arising from the CBAs for each of the local lodges. District
lodges are primarily responsible for providing the services
needed to bargain and enforce the members’ CBAs and
they do so by employing business representatives.
as the governing body for all district and local lodges,
assigns the various district lodges into territories.
District was assigned to the eastern territory.
International, District, and Local have separate headquarters
and governing documents, and each has its own separate
elected representatives. Each entity files an annual
financial report with the Department of Labor, maintains a
distinct employer tax number, and makes the necessary
employee payroll deductions and remittances to the Internal
International does not employ the district lodges’
business representatives, it does contribute a portion of its
revenue to district lodges to help support the business
representatives. Employees represented by International hold
a membership with, and pay dues to, a local lodge, which then
remits a portion of the dues to its district lodge and to
and URS are parties to a CBA,  which governs the terms and
conditions of employment for those URS employees represented
by Local, including Clowney. The CBA defines seniority as
“including the whole span of continuous service with
the present contractor, or successor, and with predecessor
contractors, in the performance of similar work at the same
Federal facility.” (Doc. 52-11, at 15). In the event
Tobyhanna instructs URS to effect a reduction in force (RIF),
the CBA indicates that URS will determine the final number of
employees to be laid off but states that it is necessary for
URS and District to work together on a layoff plan. Once
voluntary layoffs are verified, those employees designated
for layoff are identified by URS and confirmed by District.
employees affected by a layoff are given the opportunity, by
seniority, to take a voluntary layoff. (Doc. 52-11, at 16).
An employee who had been laid off may have rights to bump an
individual in a lower classification, provided the employee
has previously held the job classification at Tobyhanna and
has successfully completed the predetermined certification
testing required by Tobyhanna. (Doc. 52-11, at 16).
also affords employees recall rights, by which a laid off