Federal Supreme Court United Food and Commercial Workers Union v. Brown Group

in International Labour Law Reports Online
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Federal Supreme Court United Food and Commercial Workers Union v. Brown Group

in International Labour Law Reports Online


* 0 West Publishing Co. 1996; all rights reserved.

*Some footnotes are omitted; those included are not renumbered. [Ed.]

'Because the District Court dismissed the complaint, for the purposes of deciding this appeal we assume the truth of this allegation. Nor do we reach the merits of, or any other issue about, the union's further complaint that Brown Shoe's letter was defective because it was sent to an individual who worked for the International. The complaint alleges that United Food Local 751, not the International or its employee, is the exclusive representative of the affected employees and is thus statutorily entitled to notice of the closing and mass layoff

3102 Stat. 893, as set forth in 29 U.S.C. § 2104(a)(l): "Any employer who orders a plant closing or mass layoff in violation of section 2102 of this title shall be liable to each aggrieved employee who suffers an employment loss as a result of such closing or layoff for- "(A) back pay for each day of violation at a rate of compensation not less than the higher of- "(i) the average regular rate received by such employee during the last 3 years of the employee's employment; or "(ii) the final regular rate received by such employee; and "(B) benefits under an employee benefit plan ..., including the cost of medical expenses incurred during the employment loss which would have been covered under an employee benefit plan if the employment loss had not occurred. "Such liability shall be calculated for the period of the violation, up to a maximum of 60 days, but in no event for more than one-half the number of days the employee was employed by the employer."

'Because the union is statutorily entitled to receive notice under the WARN Act, and because of the paramount role, under federal labor law, that unions play in protecting the interests of their members, it is clear that this test is satisfied here. We therefore need not decide whether this prong is prudential in the sense that Congress may definitively declare that a particular relation is sufficient. The germaneness of a suit to an association's purpose may, of course, satisfy a standing require- ment without necessarily rendering the association's representation adequate to justify giving the association's suit preclusive effect as against an individual ostensibly represented.... In this case, of course, no one disputes the adequacy of the union, selected by the employees fol- lowing procedures governed by a detailed body of federal law and serving as the duly authorized collective bargaining representative of the employees, as an associational representative....


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