UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT
AUTOMOBILE, AEROSPACE & AGRICULTURAL IMPLEMENT
WORKERS OF AMERICA, UAW, APPELLANT
Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia 1983.CDC.143
Tamm and Ginsburg, Circuit Judges, and John A. Peck,* U.S. Senior Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit. Opinion for the court filed by Circuit Judge Tamm.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE TAMM
Appellee Raymond Kolinske brought suit in district court alleging that the defendant International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America violated his constitutional rights and breached its duty of fair representation when it refused to pay Kolinske strike benefits because he refused to participate in any strike activities except to honor the picket line. The district court granted appellee summary judgment, holding that the UAW's eligibility rules for strike benefits, when imposed on a non-member like appellee, violated appellee's first amendment freedom of association. The district court also ruled that the union breached its duty of fair representation. Unlike the district court, we find that the authorization provided by federal law in the agency shop clause used by the UAW does not transform the agency shop clause or the UAW's eligibility rules for strike benefits into state action. In addition, we hold that the duty of fair representation does not extend to this dispute, because the dispute involves only the relationship between appellee and his collective bargaining representative and lacks a substantial impact on his relations with his employer. I. BACKGROUND
Until 1971 the production and maintenance workers at the Petoskey, Michigan, plant of the McLaughlin Company were represented by the Pioneer Union, an independent union. Under the collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the Pioneer Union, the McLaughlin Company maintained a so-called "union shop" and required workers within the bargaining unit to join and pay dues to the Pioneer Union as a condition of retaining employment. Appellee Raymond Kolinske, who worked for McLaughlin from 1958 to 1979, *fn1 was an active member of the Pioneer Union and served on its bargaining committee.
In 1971 appellant UAW and its Local 1669 replaced the Pioneer Union as the collective bargaining representative for the production and maintenance workers at McLaughlin's Petoskey plant. The collective bargaining agreement negotiated in 1975 between the UAW and the company contained an "agency shop clause" *fn2 that did not require employees covered by the collective bargaining agreement to join the union, although non-members were required to pay fees to Local 1669 equivalent to union dues as a condition of employment. Appellee never joined the UAW but paid the agency fees to Local 1669 as required by the union's contract with McLaughlin.
The UAW contract with McLaughlin expired in the spring of 1978. Negotiations failed to secure an acceptable contract, and Local 1669 went out on strike for sixteen days before a new agreement was reached. During the strike the UAW distributed strike assistance payments to employees eligible under union guidelines to receive them. Both union members and non-members were eligible for strike benefits, provided that an employee participated in strike activities. Although appellee honored the picket line, he refused express requests to participate in any other activity, such as picketing or kitchen duty, connected with the union's work stoppage. He rejected union efforts to accommodate his fears of harassment during picketing, and since appellee offered no other assistance to striking workers, he was refused UAW strike benefits.
The strike benefits denied appellee have been paid by the UAW since its founding in 1935 to aid UAW locals engaged in strikes or affected by lockouts. Benefits are paid out of a fund created by setting aside a portion of members' dues and non-members' agency fees. Although members and non-members initially pay their dues or fees to their local unions, a portion of dues or fees allocated to funding strike benefits is remitted to the UAW, which administers the strike fund through its Strike Insurance Department. See Affidavit of Douglas Caravaggio, International Representative, International Union, UAW, Exhibit D, Record Excerpts Volume ("Record") at 90. During the period of Kolinske's employment with McLaughlin, thirty percent of both dues and agency fees were transferred to the UAW strike fund. Kolinske v. UAW, 530 F. Supp. 728, 731 (D.D.C. 1982).
Eligibility for strike benefits is determined by guidelines established by the UAW. The amount received by any striker may vary, depending on the striker's marital status and number of dependents, and is subject to a maximum payment of $50.00 weekly. See UAW Administrative Letter No. 5, at 10 (Sept. 6, 1977), Record at 88. Other conditions of eligibility include registration, non-delinquency in dues or agency fees, active employment immediately prior to the strike, and participation in strike activity. Id. at 8-9, Record at 86-87. Under the UAW guidelines, strike participation can take several forms: picketing, performing kitchen duty to feed those picketing, distributing strike assistance checks, or ferrying strikers to state welfare offices to receive food stamps. Summary of UAW Strike Assistance Rules, pt. 5, Record at 84. Although non-member agency fee payers like appellee are not allowed to participate in union affairs, they are eligible to receive the "material benefits" that members receive by reason of their dues ...