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LINDSEY v. JOHN GRACE BRANCH NO. 825

October 19, 2005.

JOHN T. LINDSEY, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN GRACE BRANCH, NO. 825, JAY RICKE, President, UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, RICK STRYKER, Postmaster, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: AMY ST. EVE, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Pro se Plaintiff John T. Lindsey, Jr. brings this action against Defendants the John Grace Branch No. 825 of the National Association of Letter Carriers, AFL-CIO (the "Union"), the Union's President, Jay Ricke, (collectively, the "Union Defendants"), Lindsey's former employer, the United States Postal Service ("USPS"), and Postmaster Rick Stryker. Construing his pro se Complaint liberally, see Perruquet v. Briley, 390 F.3d 505, 512 (7th Cir. 2004), Lindsey alleges that the Union breached its duty of fair representation and that the USPS breached the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Before the Court is the Union Defendants' and the USPS' Motions for Summary Judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c). For the following reasons, the Court grants Defendants' motions.

BACKGROUND

  I. Northern District of Illinois Local Rules

  Because Lindsey is a pro se litigant, the Union Defendants and the USPS both served him with a "Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion for Summary Judgment" as required by Northern District of Illinois, Local Rule 56.2. These notices explained the consequences of failing to properly respond to a motion for summary judgment and statement of material facts under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 and Local Rule 56.1.

  When determining summary judgment motions, the Court derives the background facts from the litigants' Local Rule 56.1 statements. The Local Rules provide parties with specific details as to how litigants in the Northern District of Illinois should approach summary judgment motions and responses. Local Rule 56.1(a)(3), for example, requires the moving party to provide "a statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue." Local Rule 56.1(b)(3) requires the non-moving party, in this case Lindsey, to admit or deny every factual statement proffered by the moving party and to concisely designate any material facts that establish a genuine dispute for trial. In addition, the parties' Rule 56.1 statements must contain references to affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials. Malec v. Sanford, 191 F.R.D. 581, 583-85 (N.D. Ill. 2000); see also Bradley v. Work, 154 F.3d 704, 708 (7th Cir. 1998) (courts need to know basis of evidentiary information to determine whether evidence properly admissible).

  In response to Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment, Lindsey filed a "Motion of Material Facts to Deny Defendants' Counsel Request for Summary Judgment," which the Court construes as a response to Defendants' motions. (R. 49-1, 50-1.) Lindsey also filed two additional responses to the USPS' and Union Defendants' motions. (R. 55-1, 56-1.) As Defendants correctly assert, Lindsey's filings do not comply with the Local Rules. Although the Court construes pro se pleadings liberally, Lindsey's pro se status does not absolve him from complying with the Local Rules concerning his statement of facts. Greer v. Board of Ed. of City of Chicago, 267 F.3d 723, 727 (7th Cir. 2001); see also McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113, 113 S.Ct. 1980, 124 L.Ed.2d 21 (1993) (pro se litigants must follow clear procedural rules). Accordingly, the Court deems as admitted Defendants' Local Rule 56.1 statements of fact that are supported by the record because Lindsey has failed to properly contest them. See Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003).

  II. Facts

  A. Parties

  On March 3, 2001, Lindsey started his career appointment as a part-time flexible ("PTF') city letter carrier at the Bellwood, Illinois, Post Office. (R. 47-1, USPS' Rule 56.1 Stmt. Facts ¶ 1; R. 47-1, Union Defs' Rule 56.1 Stmt. Facts ¶ 2.) The Union serves as the exclusive bargaining representative for all city letter carriers employed by the USPS, including Lindsey. (USPS Stmt. ¶ 2; Union Defs' Stmt. ¶ 1.) The Union and the USPS prepared a Joint Contract Administration Manual ("JCAM") that contains a narrative explanation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement's ("CBA") provisions. (USPS Stmt. ¶ 3.) The JCAM sets forth the rights, benefits, and responsibilities under the CBA. (Id., Ex. 25.) The JCAM explains that the USPS management has the exclusive right, subject to the terms of the CBA, to direct city letter carriers in the performance of their duties. (Id. ¶ 4.)

  B. USPS Employee Work Hours

  Pursuant to Article 7 of the CBA, the Postal Service's regular work force is comprised of full-time employees who are assigned to regular weekly schedules of 5 days consisting of 8 hours each day. (Union Defs' Stmt. ¶ 4.) On the other hand, PTF employees, like Lindsey, are career hourly rate employees who are available to work flexible hours assigned by the USPS during the course of a work week. (USPS Stmt. ¶¶ 5, 6.) PTF letter carriers have flexible work hours rather than a fixed schedule and have no hourly guarantees. (Id. ¶¶ 7, 8.) In addition, the CBA does not prohibit the USPS from assigning overtime work to PTF carriers. (Union Defs' Stmt. ¶¶ 6, 7.) In fact, throughout his tenure as a PTF carrier, the USPS routinely scheduled Lindsey to more than 40 hours in a work week. (Id. ¶ 11.)

  C. Warning Letter — January 12, 2004

  On January 9, 2004, the Acting Supervisor of Customer Services at the Bellwood Post Office, Karl Williams, notified Lindsey that he was scheduled to work on January 10, 2004. (USPS Stmt. ¶ 17.) Lindsey responded that he was scheduled to be off on January 10th, and consequently, he did not report for work that day. (Id. ¶¶ 18, 19.) On January 12, 2004, the USPS issued Lindsey a warning letter for not reporting to work on January 10, 2004. (Id. ¶ 21; Union Defs' Stmt. ¶ 13.) On January 23, 2004, the Union filed a grievance on Lindsey's behalf protesting the January 12, 2004 warning letter. (USPS Stmt. ¶ 22.) On February 9, 2004, the Union and the USPS reached a settlement agreement concerning the warning letter, placing Lindsey on notice that "as a PTF, he is required to work all days, all ...


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