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Stuart v. Local 727, Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

November 14, 2014

MAURA ANNE STUART, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
LOCAL 727, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, Defendant-Appellee

Argued October 31, 2014.

Page 1015

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 13 C 9262 -- Milton I. Shadur, Judge.

For Maura Anne Stuart, Plaintiff - Appellant: Jeffrey I. Cummings, Attorney, Nancy L. Maldonado, Attorney, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, Chicago, IL.

For Local 727, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Defendant - Appellee: Brandon M. Anderson, Attorney, Sherrie E. Voyles, Attorney, Jacobs, Burns, Orlove & Hernandez, Chicago, IL.

Before POSNER, ROVNER, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1016

Posner, Circuit Judge.

The plaintiff filed this sex discrimination suit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the district judge promptly dismissed it while the suit was still at the pleading stage. The facts as we'll state them are a mixture of allegations and admissions; evidentiary proceedings might cast them in a different light.

The plaintiff is a professional driver in Chicago. She has a commercial driver's license that permits her to drive school buses and other large passenger vehicles. She drives school buses for a living but has long wanted also to drive the vehicles (primarily courtesy vans) that ferry equipment and persons, including actors, involved in movie and television productions. In Chicago such drivers belong to the Movie/ Trade Show Division of Local 727 (until 2008 of Local 714) of the Teamsters Union, and are paid about twice the wage that the plaintiff earns as a bus driver. Some 250 to 300 drivers are members of the Division, but apparently in its 70-year history the Division has never referred a female driver to any of the movie or television production companies that hire drivers for their courtesy vans.

Local 727 had at the end of 2009 adopted a rule that anyone who wanted to work as a driver for movie and television productions had to submit a " Teamsters Local 727 Application for Referral--Movie" to the union, which has collective bargaining agreements with all the companies that produce movies or TV shows in Chicago. Each agreement provides that the company shall hire only drivers referred to it by the union. The companies employ Transportation Coordinators who select drivers from the Referral--Movie applicants. Although the Transportation Coordinators do the hiring, they are former members of the union and remain tightly linked to it. So in effect it's the union that determines who shall be hired to drive for movie and television producers in the Chicago area.

Page 1017

In March 2010 the plaintiff filled out and submitted to the union a Referral--Movie application and at the same time paid the union's initiation fee, began making dues payments to the union, and in exchange received a card designating her a member of the union. She explained to the union's business agent that she wanted to be on the Movie/Trade Show referral list, and he told her she was on the list (although the union's lawyer told us at oral argument that there is no such list). Months later, having received no referrals from the Movie/Trade Show Division, she called the business agent a number of times to ask about possible driving jobs. He told her to stop calling him--he'd call her when he had something. She received a similar response from a Transportation Coordinator whom she called.

Yet in the four and a half years that have elapsed since she joined the union and filled out her referral application, she has received no referrals. In fact, according to her complaint, her ré sumé was never included with the ré sumé s of the other applicants for referral by the Movie/Trade Show Division and no woman has ever been referred by the Division for a driving job. Referrals are not based on seniority, there has been no shortage of work--in fact the amount of driving time by Division drivers has increased markedly--and male drivers with the same commercial driver's license as the plaintiff (Class B) have been referred ...


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