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Jenkins v. Transport Workers Union

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

November 21, 2019

ANGELIQUE JENKINS Plaintiff,
v.
TRANSPORT WORKERS UNION, LOCAL 234 Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM

          CHAD F. KENNEY, JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Before the Court is Defendant Transport Workers Local #234 's Second Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim (ECF No. 14) and Plaintiffs Response (ECF No. 15).

         II. BACKGROUND

         Pro se Plaintiff Angelique Jenkins worked for SEPTA as a bus driver and train operator. See generally ECF No. 2. While working as a bus driver, Jenkins entered into a "Last Chance Agreement," which, according to Jenkins, provided that she was subject to immediate discharge, grievance, and arbitration if "charged with committing an infraction for which discipline is justified." Id. at 7. In March 2019, SEPTA discharged Jenkins for violating the terms of the Last Chance Agreement by opening the train doors on the wrong side. Id. Jenkins, however, alleges that she was no longer subject to the Last Chance Agreement and that her termination resulted from her decision to run for Union President. Id. at 6.

         According to the Complaint, Jenkins decided to run for Union President in 2018. Id. at 8-9. Jenkins informed her supervisors of this decision in a letter, "mentioned [it] to several bosses," and posted about it on Facebook. Id. Jenkins alleges that she was later contacted by union officials and "[b]ig bosses" asking her not to run. Id. at 9.

         After SEPTA charged Jenkins with opening the doors on the wrong side in 2019, Jenkins' business agent initially issued a notice of investigation and a verbal warning. Id. Soon after, Jenkins' assistant director discovered that she was subject to a Last Chance Agreement, and, as a result, Jenkins was terminated. Id. at 7.

         Jenkins alleges that she was terminated "prior to grievance procedures" and that she should have only received a verbal warning because she was no longer subject to the Last Chance Agreement. Id. at 7-8. According to Jenkins, she "walked off [her] [Last Chance Agreement]" and had a good performance record. See Id. at 8.

         Further, the fact that her business agent and assistant director "were exclusive and have been friends for over 20 years" presents a "strong conflict of interest concerning influence over another." Id. At a hearing, Jenkins claims her business agent "told the hearing officer I'm going to say a few things, but [Jenkins is] going to represent herself." Id.

         Jenkins filed this Complaint against Defendant asserting federal question subject matter jurisdiction under the Labor-Management Relations Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as codified, 42 U.S.C §§ 2000e to 2000e-17 (race, color, gender, religion, national origin) ("Title VII").[1] ECF No. 2 at 2-4. On the Court's preprinted complaint form, Jenkins alleged that Defendant violated Title VII by (1) terminating her employment, (2) retaliating against her, and (3) breaching its duty of fair representation. Id. at 5-6.

         From what the Court can decipher, Jenkins alleges that Defendant discriminated and retaliated against her because of her decision to run for Union President and breached its duty of fair representation because her business agent and assistant director's friendship created a conflict of interest. ECF No. 2 at 6, 8.

         Defendant moved to dismiss the Complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. See generally ECF No. 14. Defendant argues that Jenkins (1) has no claim under Title VII against the union because SEPTA-not Defendant-terminated her and (2) the Complaint does not include sufficient legal and factual basis for a breach of its duty of fair representation. Id. at 2. For the following reasons, the Court will grant Defendant's Motion.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Stand ...


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