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Mitchell Wojtanek v. District Lodge No. 8 of the International Association of

January 25, 2011

MITCHELL WOJTANEK, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DISTRICT LODGE NO. 8 OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MACHINISTS AND AEROSPACE WORKERS, AFL-CIO, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Joan H. Lefkow

OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Mitchell Wojtanek filed suit against District Lodge No. 8 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO (the "Union"), alleging age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 626 et seq.*fn1 Before the court is the Union's motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c). For the following reasons, the motion [#33] is granted.

RELEVANT FACTS*fn2

On August 17, 2006, Wojtanek received a written offer for a position as a maintenance mechanic at Pactiv Corporation ("Pactiv"). Wojtanek started working at Pactiv's Wheeling, Illinois plant on September 1, 2006.

Pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement, the Union is the sole bargaining agency for all production and maintenance employees at Pactiv's Wheeling plant. Article 9 of the collective bargaining agreement, titled "Probationary Employees," provides in relevant part:

The first nine hundred (900) hours of employment is a period during which a new or rehired employee must show satisfactory or better performance as determined by the Company. Work quality and quantity, safety compliance, attendance, dependability, and conduct are some of the important factors. Discharge from employment during this period is not subject to the grievance and arbitration procedures.

Matargas Aff. Ex. D, Art. 9.1. A new employee becomes a "regular employee" only after this trial period has ended. Id., Art. 9.2.

Pactiv fired Wojtanek on November 17, 2006, after he worked 481 hours.*fn3 Pactiv's records indicate that Wojtanek was fired for "unsatisfactory performance." Matargas Aff. Ex. B at 1 (Termination Records).

On May 9, 2007, Wojtanek filed a charge of discrimination against the Union before the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The charge alleges that the Union "failed to represent" Wojtanek on November 17, 2006 because of his age (alleged to be 65 years old as of the date the charge was filed). EEOC Charge, attached to Compl. at 7. The particulars of the charge state in full: FAILURE TO REPRESENT -- NOVEMBER 17, 2006 DUE TO MY AGE, 65 1. I am 65 years old. 2. I am a member [in] good standing since February 2002.

3. On November 17, 2006, [the Union] failed to represent me. No reason was cited for [the Union's] adverse action.

4. Similarly situated younger members in good standing were represented adequately throughout their grievable [sic] offenses. . .

FAILURE TO REPRESENT -- NOVEMBER 17, 2006, IN RETALIATION FOR OPPOSING UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATION

1. In early August, 2006, I wrote letters to [the Union] complaining about age discrimination.

2. On November 17, 2006, [the Union] failed to represent me. No reason was cited for [the ...


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