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Shanahan v. City Of Chicago

May 6, 1996




Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 91 C 2865--Charles R. Norgle, Sr., Judge.

Before EASTERBROOK, DIANE P. WOOD, and EVANS, Circuit Judges.

EVANS, Circuit Judge.



A mayor named Daley and a disgruntled city employee--some might say politics as usual in Chicago. Michael Shanahan would disagree. He says Chicago politics, usual or not, violated his constitutional rights. Shanahan brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. sec. 1983 and the consent decree entered in Shakman v. Democratic Org. of Cook County, 481 F. Supp. 1315, 1356-59 (N.D. Ill. 1979), vacated, Shakman v. Dunne, 829 F.2d 1387 (7th Cir. 1987), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 1065 (1988). He alleged that he was demoted in violation of his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights and the Shakman decree. Specifically, Shanahan says he was demoted within the Chicago Fire Department (CFD) because he refused to hire machinists who were political supporters of Mayor Richard M. Daley. In his complaint, Shanahan named as defendants the City of Chicago, Mayor Daley, Fire Commissioner Raymond Orozco, and Deputy Fire Commissioner William Alletto. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants and denied Shanahan's Rule 59(e), Fed. R. Civ. P., motion to alter or amend the judgment. Shanahan appeals, and we accept, as we must at this stage of the case, his view and slant of the facts.

Shanahan was hired by the City as a firefighter in 1965. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1980 and appointed Director of Apparatus Maintenance, Repair, and Supply for the CFD in March 1983. To assume the new position, he took a leave of absence from his career service spot as a lieutenant in the CFD. As of May 1989, Shanahan reported directly to Deputy Fire Commissioner Alletto, who in turn reported to Fire Commissioner Orozco. As director, Shanahan was head of the CFD's central equipment repair facility (the "shops"), supervising over one hundred employees, both uniformed and civilian. The civilian employees included workers of various trades--machinists, carpenters, blacksmiths, electricians--plus a clerical staff. Although Shanahan did not have the final authority to hire employees, he evaluated candidates and made recommendations to his superiors, Alletto and Orozco.

Machinists working at the shops, as well as other city departments, are members of Local 126 of the International Association of Machinists. Local 126, through its members and leadership, is a long-time supporter of the regular Democratic Party of Cook County and its favored candidates, particularly Mayor Daley and his father, the late long-time mayor of Chicago, Richard J. Daley.

The City has a collective bargaining agreement with Local 126. Under the CBA, all persons employed at the shops as machinists are to be members of the bargaining unit represented by Local 126. The CBA requires that the City fill vacancies at the shops with persons already employed as fire department machinists--all of whom are members of the Local 126 bargaining unit--if any are able to perform the work. If no fire department machinists apply, or if none can do the work, the CBA requires the City to look to the layoff and reinstatement lists for qualified persons. All persons on the layoff and reinstatement lists are members of the bargaining unit Local 126 represents. If no one can be found on the layoff and reinstatement lists, the CBA tells the City to look to other departments for qualified machinists, where, of course, other members of Local 126 can be found. To step outside these requirements and hire someone who is not with the union, the City must demonstrate that the candidate has demonstrably greater skill and ability than all of the Local 126 bargaining unit members, no matter where they might be in Chicago. If the City hires such a person, she must become a Local 126 member.

In 1990, machinists positions were open in the shops. Three employees of the City's department of general services--members of Local 126--applied for the jobs. The City department of personnel determined they were eligible for the positions. After interviewing the applicants, Shanahan did not recommend them for the positions. He believed they were not qualified to perform the highly skilled work on fire apparatus. The three disappointed applicants grieved the City's failure to hire them with Local 126.

Mayor Daley's office, unlike, it is said, other administrations, directly involves itself in disputes between labor unions and city departments. Consequently, Tom Faul, a union official, brought the three machinists' grievances to the attention of Joan Cole, the director of labor relations for the City department of personnel. She investigated the grievances and determined that they were meritorious. In addition, the union also brought the grievances to the attention of Michael Broderick, the City's assistant director of intergovernmental affairs.

In June 1990, Assistant Director Broderick and another city employee met with Shanahan. Defendants contend that at the meeting Broderick informed Shanahan that under the CBA, the three grievants should be hired. In contrast, Shanahan asserts that he was not informed of the grievances at the meeting. The parties do agree that Broderick told Shanahan that he should inform him of openings at the shops and that he would give Shanahan the names of persons who should be hired. After the meeting, Shanahan told Fire Commissioner Orozco what Broderick had said. Orozco replied that he would take care of any problems with Broderick. Later Broderick called Shanahan and instructed him to hire the three men. Shanahan refused.

Still later, Orozco and Alletto told Shanahan that people "downtown" wanted his job; that it was a "political thing" and he should talk to someone, perhaps his ward committeeman, to help him. A week later, Alletto presented Shanahan with a letter of resignation to sign. Shanahan refused. Orozco then asked him to resign and he refused. Orozco then instructed him to take a leave of absence, which he did. He was later sent to the training academy and demoted back to his position as a lieutenant near the end of 1990.

Early in 1991, positions were posted at the shops. Again the three grievants applied, along with twelve others, all of whom were employed by the City as machinists and members of Local 126. The three original applicants were hired.

There is no evidence showing the political affiliations of the three machinists and none of the three were involved in Mayor Daley's election campaigns. Two applicants actually were never involved in political campaigns or engaged in any political activities, except voting and the third has not been involved in political activity since 1983. Neither Broderick nor ...

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