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WALLER v. INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER CO.

January 20, 1984

EDWARD L. WALLER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER COMPANY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bua, District Judge.

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

The above-captioned matter, having come on to be heard by the Court without a jury, and the Court having heard the testimony of the plaintiff's witnesses, having examined the exhibits introduced into evidence, does hereby enter the following findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Rule 52(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

FINDINGS OF FACT

1. This is an action for declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and monetary damages pursuant to the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (1970) (hereinafter "§ 1981").*fn1

2. The jurisdiction of the Court is invoked under 28 U.S.C. § 1343 (1970); and 42 U.S.C. § 1988 (1970).

3. The employment practices alleged herein were committed within the Northern District of Illinois, at the West Pullman Works Plant of Defendant International Harvester Company.

4. Plaintiff is a black male citizen of the United States, and is a resident of the City of Chicago, County of Cook, and the State of Illinois.

5. Defendant International Harvester Company (hereinafter "Harvester") is a corporation duly organized under the laws of the State of Delaware, and is conducting business in the State of Illinois.

6. The Union was the certified collective bargaining representative of the production and maintenance employees at Defendant Harvester's West Pullman Works plant, under applicable provisions of the NLRA, at all times relevant to this lawsuit.

7. Plaintiff was hired by Defendant Harvester on February 12, 1962, and was continuously employed by Defendant Harvester at its West Pullman Works Plant during all periods relevant to this lawsuit. Plaintiff was placed on permanent layoff status on October 8, 1982, as a result of the shutdown of Harvester's West Pullman Works plant.

8. The Union and Defendant Harvester were parties to a series of three-year collective bargaining agreements during all periods relevant to this lawsuit. The threeyear collective bargaining agreements relevant to this lawsuit commenced on November 8, 1973, and November 30, 1976, and expired on October 1, 1976 and October 1, 1979, respectively. Included and incorporated in these collective bargaining agreements was the Supplemental Agreement on Seniority, dated October 5, 1964, which was in force and effect during all periods relevant to this lawsuit.

9. Under the seniority provisions of the applicable collective bargaining agreements, permanent job openings, which occur when an employee leaves the Company or there is an increase in force, are filled through a job posting procedure. Specifically, such permanent openings are posted throughout the plant, and employees are free to sign up or "bid" for the open position. The position is then awarded to the most senior bidding employee who is otherwise qualified for the position under the collective bargaining agreement.

10. Under the seniority provisions of the applicable collective bargaining agreements, if an employee's job is eliminated as the result of a reduction-in-force (RIF), the displaced employee may then "bump" a less senior employee from his or her job if the senior employee is capable of performing that job. An employee is deemed "capable of performing" the job if he or she can "break in" and learn the job within three working days. Employees who are displaced during a RIF bump in the following order: first, within their job classification; second, within their department within two labor grades of their present position; and finally, plant wide to any job at any labor grade. There are no job postings during a RIF.

11. Under the seniority provisions of the applicable collective bargaining agreements, Defendant Harvester also maintains a job request system, whereby employees may submit a written request to be transferred to certain jobs. These requests are honored to the extent possible within the seniority provisions of the collective bargaining agreements.

12. Temporary job openings, which occur when an employee temporarily leaves the Company without breaking his or her seniority and is scheduled to return, are not posted, but are filled through the job request system. Specifically, temporary job openings are awarded to the most senior employee who has a written request on file for the job in question, and who still wants the job.

13. The applicable collective bargaining agreements contained a four-step grievance procedure whereby aggrieved employees or the Union could grieve conduct by Defendant Harvester which, in their view, violated the terms of the collective bargaining agreements.

14. Plaintiff became a member of the Union shortly after being hired by Defendant Harvester, and was continuously a member of the Union during all periods relevant to this lawsuit.

15. In July of 1983, the West Pullman Works plant of Defendant Harvester completely and permanently ceased operations, and all remaining production and maintenance employees were placed on permanent layoff status.

16. Plaintiff worked as a third-shift grinder operator in Department 333 (job classification GX-25-B-9) from April 8, 1974 to January 2, 1975.

17. During the period referred to in paragraph 16, a new grinder was installed in Department 333 and was put into operation (hereinafter referred to as the "new grinder"). Other, less-modern grinders that had been in operation in Department 333 continued in operation after the new grinder was installed.

18. When the job opening for the new grinder was posted. Plaintiff did not bid on that job. Moreover, Plaintiff did not submit a written or an oral request for transfer to that job. Accordingly, Defendant Harvester was under no obligation to place Plaintiff on the new grinder.

19. Plaintiff never operated the new grinder during the period referred to in paragraph 16. Plaintiff operated the older, less-modern grinders during this entire period.

20. During the period referred to in paragraph 16, Plaintiff never requested to be trained to operate the new grinder.

21. During the period referred to in paragraph 16, Plaintiff never claimed that he should have been trained to operate the new grinder, through ...


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