875 F.2d 1310 (7th Cir. 1989), 88-2441, Gilpin v. American Federation of State, County, and Mun. Employees, AFL-CIO

Docket Nº88-2441.
Citation875 F.2d 1310
Party NameJack GILPIN, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY, AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Case DateMay 24, 1989
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Page 1310

875 F.2d 1310 (7th Cir. 1989)

Jack GILPIN, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants,

v.

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY, AND MUNICIPAL

EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 88-2441.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

May 24, 1989

Argued Jan. 17, 1989.

Page 1311

Milton L. Chappell, Staff Atty., National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Inc., Springfield, Va., for plaintiffs-appellants.

Craig Becker, Asst. Atty. Gen., Chicago, Ill., for defendants-appellees.

Before WOOD, Jr., POSNER, and FLAUM, Circuit Judges.

POSNER, Circuit Judge.

A union that has been certified as the exclusive bargaining representative for a group of employees must represent every employee in the bargaining unit, even those who don't belong to the union. Correlatively, the union is entitled to charge the nonmembers their pro rata share of the expenses that it incurs in negotiating for and administering the collective bargaining agreement, and to ask the employer to

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deduct this pro rata share from the nonmembers' wages. But if the union goes further and makes the nonmembers pay either the full union dues or an agency fee that exceeds the collective bargaining costs fairly chargeable to nonmembers, the union--and the employer--can get into legal trouble. If the collective bargaining agreement is with a public employer (state or local) that deducts the union's agency fee from its employees' wages, and part of the fee is used to advance the union's political or ideological goals as distinct from defraying the union's expenses of negotiating and administering the collective bargaining agreement, both the public employer and the union can be held liable in a suit under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 for violating the nonmembers' right of free speech under the First Amendment (made applicable to the states by interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment). See Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, 431 U.S. 209, 97 S.Ct. 1782, 52 L.Ed.2d 261 (1977). What is more, the First Amendment has been held to require the public employer and the union to establish efficacious procedures, including notice and right to a hearing, for determining how much of the union's proposed agency fee is proper. See Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson, 475 U.S. 292, 106 S.Ct. 1066, 89 L.Ed.2d 232 (1986); Ping v. National Education Ass'n, 870 F.2d 1369 (7th Cir.1989).

In September 1985 nine nonunion employees of Illinois state and local agencies brought this suit against the local of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees that represents those employees in collective bargaining, and against the employers themselves. Several weeks earlier, the union had decided that for the new school year the agency fee (called "fair share fee") would be 90 percent of the union dues, and the union had so notified the employees in the bargaining unit. Shortly after filing the suit the plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction to prevent the deduction of the agency fee for the 1985 school year. The motion was denied and the employers proceeded to deduct the fee from the wages of the nonunion employees in the bargaining unit and to pay over the amount deducted to the union, which however placed the entire amount in an interest-bearing escrow account. Although 10,000 of the 20,000 to 30,000 employees in the bargaining unit do not belong to the union, the district judge refused to certify the suit as a class action.

After the Supreme Court decided Hudson in 1986, the district judge held that both the first notice sent by the union to employees regarding the "fair share fee" for the 1985 school year and the procedure that had been used to determine the fee were defective. For the 1986 school year the union sent a new notice after fixing the fee at 96 percent of the union's dues. It also asked the American Arbitration Association to appoint an arbitrator to determine the proper agency fee for both 1985 and 1986, as well as for future years. The arbitrator ruled that in 1985 the proper agency fee would have been 95 percent of union dues, so the nonmembers had gotten a bargain at 90 percent. He ruled that 95 percent was also the proper percentage for 1986, so the union had overcharged nonmembers by 1 percent that year. He directed the union to remit the 1 percent overcharge to the nonmembers from the escrow account together with the interest that had accrued in the account, and the union has agreed to do this. The nonmembers were not required to remit their 5 percent 1985 windfall. The plaintiffs in this suit were not parties to the arbitration proceeding and have not challenged the arbitrator's determinations regarding the proper agency fees for 1985 and 1986.

The district judge was dissatisfied with the 1986 notice but concluded that no harm had been done since the union had agreed to refund the overcharge to all nonmembers, whether or not they had challenged the 1986 agency fee. For the 1987 school year the union prepared a fuller notice, which the judge found adequately informative. The arbitrator has not yet ruled on the propriety of the fee that the union set for 1987 (at 91 percent of union dues), but the union has agreed to abide by whatever ruling the arbitrator makes and to refund any overcharge that he finds to all nonmembers whether or not they challenge the

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ruling. On the basis of the union's undertakings and the revision of the notice, the judge decided there was no need to order any relief, and he entered judgment for the defendants.

The plaintiffs appeal, raising four issues that merit discussion: whether the judge should have certified the suit as a class action, given the large number of nonunion employees; whether he should have issued a preliminary injunction against the collection of the 1985 agency fee; whether the plaintiffs are entitled to restitution of the money deducted from their wages in 1985 and 1986, the years for which, the judge found, the union's notices were inadequate; and whether the 1987 notice was inadequate.

The district judge was right not to certify the suit as a class action on behalf of the 10,000 nonunion members. A potentially serious conflict of interest within the class precluded the named plaintiffs from representing the entire class adequately. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a)(4); United Independent Flight Officers, Inc. v. United Air Lines, Inc., 756 F.2d 1262, 1284 (7th Cir.1985). Two distinct types of employee will decline to join the union representing their bargaining unit. The first is the employee who is hostile to unions on political or ideological grounds. The second is the employee who is happy to be represented by a union but won't pay any more for that representation than he is forced to. The two types have potentially divergent aims. The first wants to weaken and if possible destroy the union; the second, a free rider, wants merely to shift as much of the cost of representation as possible to other workers, i.e., union members. The "restitution" remedy sought by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which represents the nine named plaintiffs, is consistent with--and only with--the aims of the first type of employee. The Foundation is seeking repayment to all the bargaining unit's nonunion employees of the entire agency fees collected by the union in the 1985 and 1986 school years (with interest), even though the Foundation has not challenged the arbitrator's determination that the union was entitled to more than the amount it actually collected in 1985 and to 99 percent of the amount it collected in 1986. Not only would the "restitution" that the Foundation seeks confer a windfall on the nonunion employees but it might embarrass the union financially. Yet those nonunion employees who, while not wanting to pay more (and perhaps even wanting to pay less) than their "fair share" fees, have no desire to ruin the union or impair its ability to represent them effectively might not want so punitive a remedy. The National Right to...

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98 practice notes
  • 188 F.R.D. 483 (S.D.Ill. 1999), 97-CV-4167-JPG, Clay v. The American Tobacco Co.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 7th Circuit Southern District of Illinois
    • July 9, 1999
    ...renders the plaintiffs' representation of the class as a whole inadequate. Gilpin v. American Fed'n of State, Cty., and Mun. Employees, 875 F.2d 1310, 1313 (7th VI. Rule 23(b)(2) Requirements In addition to failing the mandates of Rule 23(a), this case clearly falls outside the purview of R......
  • 192 F.R.D. 629 (N.D.Cal. 2000), C-99-3668 MHP, Murray v. Local 2620, Dist. Council 57, American Federation of State, County, and Mun. Employees, AFL-CIO
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Bankruptcy Courts Ninth Circuit
    • April 17, 2000
    ...the groups and thus certification of a single class is not proper. In Gilpin v. American Fed. of State, County, and Mun. Employees, 875 F.2d 1310, 1313 (7th Cir.1989), the appellate court drew a distinction between people who objected to paying the full dues based on ideological concerns an......
  • 59 F.3d 1114 (11th Cir. 1995), 94-8398, Brooks v. Georgia State Bd. of Elections
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • July 17, 1995
    ...relief and escape the jurisdictional bar of mootness. See Gilpin v. American Fed'n of State, County, and Mun. Employees, AFL-CIO, 875 F.2d 1310, 1313 (7th Cir.) ("Even the United States Court of Appeals ... cannot make time run backwards."), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 917, 110 S.Ct. 2......
  • 977 F.2d 299 (7th Cir. 1992), 91-3469, Hessel v. O'Hearn
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • October 6, 1992
    ...106 S.Ct. 2537, 2544-45, 91 L.Ed.2d 249 Page 302 (1986); Gilpin v. American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, 875 F.2d 1310, 1314 (7th Cir.1989); City of Watseka v. Illinois Public Action Council, 796 F.2d 1547, 1559 (7th Cir.1986). So if your right to a hearing is take......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
92 cases
  • 188 F.R.D. 483 (S.D.Ill. 1999), 97-CV-4167-JPG, Clay v. The American Tobacco Co.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 7th Circuit Southern District of Illinois
    • July 9, 1999
    ...renders the plaintiffs' representation of the class as a whole inadequate. Gilpin v. American Fed'n of State, Cty., and Mun. Employees, 875 F.2d 1310, 1313 (7th VI. Rule 23(b)(2) Requirements In addition to failing the mandates of Rule 23(a), this case clearly falls outside the purview of R......
  • 192 F.R.D. 629 (N.D.Cal. 2000), C-99-3668 MHP, Murray v. Local 2620, Dist. Council 57, American Federation of State, County, and Mun. Employees, AFL-CIO
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Bankruptcy Courts Ninth Circuit
    • April 17, 2000
    ...the groups and thus certification of a single class is not proper. In Gilpin v. American Fed. of State, County, and Mun. Employees, 875 F.2d 1310, 1313 (7th Cir.1989), the appellate court drew a distinction between people who objected to paying the full dues based on ideological concerns an......
  • 59 F.3d 1114 (11th Cir. 1995), 94-8398, Brooks v. Georgia State Bd. of Elections
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • July 17, 1995
    ...relief and escape the jurisdictional bar of mootness. See Gilpin v. American Fed'n of State, County, and Mun. Employees, AFL-CIO, 875 F.2d 1310, 1313 (7th Cir.) ("Even the United States Court of Appeals ... cannot make time run backwards."), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 917, 110 S.Ct. 2......
  • 977 F.2d 299 (7th Cir. 1992), 91-3469, Hessel v. O'Hearn
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • October 6, 1992
    ...106 S.Ct. 2537, 2544-45, 91 L.Ed.2d 249 Page 302 (1986); Gilpin v. American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, 875 F.2d 1310, 1314 (7th Cir.1989); City of Watseka v. Illinois Public Action Council, 796 F.2d 1547, 1559 (7th Cir.1986). So if your right to a hearing is take......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
4 firm's commentaries
  • The ERISA Litigation Newsletter (November 2013)
    • United States
    • Mondaq United States
    • November 25, 2013
    ...self-funded ERISA plan). E.g., Langbecker, 476 F.3d at 317-18 . See Gilpin v. Am. Fed'n of State, County, & Mun. Employees, AFL-CIO, 875 F.2d 1310, 1313 (7th Cir. 1989) (affirming decision to refuse certification when different groups of employees had differing interests as to the remed......
  • The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - January 2014
    • United States
    • Mondaq United States
    • January 22, 2014
    ...raising similar issues outside the ERISA context, see Gilpin v. American Federation of State, County, & Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, 875 F.2d 1310, 1313 (7th Cir. 1989) (affirming decision to refuse to certify a class when different groups of employees had differing interests as to the......
  • The ERISA Litigation Newsletter; November 2013
    • United States
    • JD Supra United States
    • November 22, 2013
    ...ERISA plan). [90] E.g., Langbecker, 476 F.3d at 317-18 . [91] See Gilpin v. Am. Fed'n of State, County, & Mun. Employees, AFL-CIO, 875 F.2d 1310, 1313 (7th Cir. 1989) (affirming decision to refuse certification when different groups of employees had differing interests as to the remedie......
  • The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - January 2014
    • United States
    • JD Supra United States
    • January 21, 2014
    ...raising similar issues outside the ERISA context, see Gilpin v. American Federation of State, County, & Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, 875 F.2d 1310, 1313 (7th Cir. 1989) (affirming decision to refuse to certify a class when different groups of employees had differing interests as to the......
2 books & journal articles
  • Weekly Case Digests December 9, 2019 December 13, 2019.
    • United States
    • Wisconsin Law Journal Nbr. 2019, January 2019
    • December 13, 2019
    ...under the Abood regime was a legal rather than an equitable claim. Gilpin v. Am. Fed'n of State, Cnty., & Mun. Employees, AFL-CIO, 875 F.2d 1310, 1314 (7th Cir. 1989) (citing Dobbs, Handbook on the Law of Remedies 224 (1973) ("The damages recovery is to compensate the plaintiff, an......
  • Damages.
    • United States
    • Wisconsin Law Journal Nbr. 2019, January 2019
    • December 9, 2019
    ...under the Abood regime was a legal rather than an equitable claim. Gilpin v. Am. Fed'n of State, Cnty., & Mun. Employees, AFL-CIO, 875 F.2d 1310, 1314 (7th Cir. 1989) (citing Dobbs, Handbook on the Law of Remedies 224 (1973) ("The damages recovery is to compensate the plaintiff, an......