Madsen v. American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, AFL-CIO/CLC, Local 24
Opinion and Order: Plaintiff's motion to remand is granted. (Doc. No. 8 .) Plaintiff's motion to strike is denied. (Doc. No. 11 .) This case is remanded to the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. Judge Sara Lioi on 4/1/2014. (P,J)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF
MUSICIANS OF THE UNITED STATES
AND CANADA, AFL-CIO/CLC,
CASE NO. 5:13-CV-2519
JUDGE SARA LIOI
ORDER AND OPINION
This matter is before the Court on plaintiff Linda Madsen’s motion to remand to
the Summit County Court of Common Pleas (Doc. No. 8). Defendant has filed a response (Doc.
No. 9), and plaintiff has filed a reply (Doc. No. 151). Also pending is plaintiff’s motion to strike
(Doc. No. 11) the affidavit and exhibits submitted by defendant in support of its opposition to the
motion to remand (Doc. No. 10). For the reasons set forth below, plaintiff’s motion to remand is
GRANTED. Plaintiff’s motion to strike is DENIED.2
Plaintiff Linda Madsen (“Madsen” or “plaintiff”) served as the elected Secretary-
Treasurer of Local No. 24 (“the Local” or “defendant”) of the American Federation of Musicians
Plaintiff initially filed a reply (Doc. No. 12), and then filed two errata correcting errors in the initial reply brief
(Doc. Nos. 13, 14), before filing the amended and restated reply brief currently before the Court (Doc. No. 15).
Counsel for plaintiff has submitted these “rolling” briefs in another case before the Court and is hereby cautioned
that he must submit one brief, in conformity with the Local Rules, without subsequent updates and corrections,
unless warranted by extraordinary circumstances.
In her reply in support of the motion to strike, plaintiff essentially abandons the motion, conceding that the
affidavit and exhibits submitted by defendant “probably can remain a part of the record[.]” (Doc. No. 19 at 251.)
The Court agrees that the affidavit and exhibits do not add any grounds for removal not stated in the original notice
but merely expound upon them. The motion to strike is therefore DENIED.
of the United States and Canada (“the International”). (Doc. No. 2 at 11.) At this early stage in
the proceedings, Madsen’s date of election as Secretary-Treasurer is unknown; however, record
evidence shows that she served in this capacity as far back as October 26, 1999. (Id. at 19.)
Madsen vacated the office on February 7, 2011. (Id. at 11.)
Madsen claims that the bylaws and standing resolutions of the Local set her salary
at $27,469.92 annually, with vacation, holiday and sick leave benefits, as well as contributions to
the Local’s pension plan. (Id. at 12.) Per a resolution adopted by the Local’s executive board,
Madsen earned sixteen vacation days each year, which could “be taken or carried forward at the
discretion of the [Secretary-Treasurer]. Unused Vacation Days shall be paid, at a time chosen by
the [Secretary-Treasurer], based pro rata per work day on the salary of the [Secretary-Treasurer]
at the time of payment.” (Id. at 21.) An April 6, 2006 audit of fiscal year 2005 determined that
Madsen had accumulated $7,660.06 in vacation days neither taken by Madsen nor paid by the
Local. (Id. at 24.) The Local accepted this audit on June 4, 2006. (Id. at 22.)
When Madsen vacated the Secretary-Treasurer position, she alleges that the Local
owed her $13,734.96 in unpaid salary and $5,018.66 in accrued but unpaid vacation days. (Id. at
13.) She sued the Local in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, seeking $18,753.62, plus
interest, liquidated damages, and attorneys’ fees. (Id. at 17.) She asserts five claims against the
Local: (1) breach of contract in writing, (2) breach of implied contract, (3) promissory estoppel,
(4) unjust enrichment, and (5) failure to remit wages in violation of Ohio Rev. Code § 4113.15.
The Local removed the case to this Court, claiming that Madsen’s claims are preempted by § 301
of the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA) because they involve interpretation of labor
contracts—the International’s constitution and the Local’s bylaws. Madsen seeks remand to the
Summit County Court of Common Pleas, asserting that the LMRA does not apply to the
contracts in dispute because her claims arise out of the Local’s bylaws and standing resolutions.
Standard of Review
A defendant may remove to federal court only state court actions that originally
could have been filed in federal court. Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392, 107 S. Ct.
2425, 96 L. Ed. 2d 318 (1987). As a court of limited jurisdiction, a federal district court must
proceed cautiously in determining that it has subject matter jurisdiction. Musson Theatrical, Inc.
v. Fed. Express Corp., 89 F.3d 1244, 1252 (6th Cir. 1996). The court must give “due regard” to
the power reserved to the states under the United States Constitution to provide for the
determination of controversies in the state courts. Shamrock Oil & Gas Corp. v. Sheets, 313 U.S.
100, 108-09, 61 S. Ct. 868, 85 L. Ed. 1214 (1941). Accordingly, removal statutes must be
construed strictly to promote comity and preserve jurisdictional boundaries between state and
federal courts. Alexander v. Elec. Data Sys. Corp., 13 F.3d 940, 949 (6th Cir. 1994). “[A]ll
doubts as to the propriety of removal are resolved in favor of remand.” Coyne v. Am. Tobacco
Co., 183 F.3d 488, 493 (6th Cir. 1999). The defendant seeking removal bears the burden of
proving the court’s jurisdiction. See Rogers v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 230 F.3d 868, 871 (6th Cir.
Law and Analysis
A. Federal Question Jurisdiction
The parties agree that diversity is incomplete, and therefore cannot provide a basis
for federal jurisdiction. The Court has jurisdiction over this case, if at all, if it presents a federal
question, i.e., if it “aris[es] under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” 28
U.S.C. § 1331. The well-pleaded complaint rule governs federal question cases, extending
jurisdiction “over only those cases in which a well-pleaded complaint establishes either that
federal law creates the cause of action or that the plaintiff’s right to relief necessarily depends on
resolution of a substantial question of federal law, in that federal law is a necessary element of
one of the well pleaded . . . claims[.]” Christianson v. Colt Indus. Operating Corp., 486 U.S.
800, 808, 108 S. Ct. 2166, 100 L. Ed. 2d 811 (1988) (internal citation and quotation marks
The plaintiff is the master of her claim, and may avoid federal jurisdiction by
relying exclusively on state law. Beneficial Nat’l Bank v. Anderson, 539 U.S. 1, 12, 123 S. Ct.
2058, 156 L. Ed. 2d 1 (2003) (citing Caterpillar, 482 U.S. at 392). “In particular, the existence of
a federal defense normally does not create statutory ‘arising under’ jurisdiction, and a defendant
may not [generally] remove a case to federal court unless the plaintiff’s complaint establishes
that the cases arises under federal law[.]” Aetna Health Inc. v. Davila, 542 U.S. 200, 207, 124 S.
Ct. 2488, 159 L. Ed. 2d 312 (2004) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted) (alteration
and emphasis in original); see also Tisdale v. United Ass’n of Journeymen & Apprentices of
Plumbing & Pipefitting Indus. of U.S. & Canada, Local 704, 25 F.3d 1308, 1313 (6th Cir. 1994)
(defensive assertion of federal labor statute “does not raise a federal question for removal
B. The Preemption Exception
Notwithstanding a plaintiff’s well-pleaded state law complaint, a defendant may
remove a case to federal court “when a federal statute wholly displaces the state-law cause of
action through complete pre-emption.” Beneficial, 539 U.S. at 8. “When the federal statute
completely pre-empts the state law cause of action, a claim which comes within the scope of that
cause of action, even if pleaded in terms of state law, is in reality based on federal law.” Id. In
areas of complete preemption, the court must “look beyond the face of plaintiff’s allegations and
the labels used to describe her claims and . . . evaluate the substance of plaintiff’s claims.” Paul
v. Kaiser Found. Plan of Ohio, 701 F.3d 514, 519 (6th Cir. 2012) (emphasis in original). Yet,
“‘complete preemption’—no matter how powerful when properly present in a case—is of very
limited application: it is a very limited exception to the well-pleaded complaint rule.” Palkow v.
CSX Transp., Inc., 431 F.3d 543, 553 (6th Cir. 2005). It applies only when plaintiff “has chosen
to plead what . . . must be regarded as a federal claim,” though it masquerades as a state claim.
Caterpillar, 482 U.S. at 399.
C. § 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act
Section 301 of the LMRA, codified at 29 U.S.C. § 185, governs claims involving
federal labor law and “both preempts certain state-law contract claims and also confers federal
jurisdiction over those claims[.]” Paul, 701 F.3d at 519 (quoting Kitzmann v. Local 619-M
Graphic Commc’ns Conference of Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters, 415 F. App’x 714, 717 (6th Cir.
2011)). First, § 301 confers federal jurisdiction and establishes venue over “[s]uits for violation
of contracts between an employer and a labor organization representing employees in an industry
affecting commerce . . . or between any such labor organizations[.]” 29 U.S.C. § 185(a). Second,
its powerful preemptive force “displace[s] entirely any state cause of action for violation of
contracts between an employer and a labor organization[,]” or between such labor organizations,
even if “state law would provide a cause of action in [its] absence[.]” Franchise Tax Bd. of State
of Cal. v. Constr. Laborers Vacation Trust for S. Cal., 463 U.S. 1, 23, 103 S. Ct. 2841, 77 L. Ed.
2d 420 (1983). Displacing state law results in federal uniformity, allowing parties to labor
contracts to formulate contract provisions certain that the same terms in every labor contract
shall carry the same meaning. Local 174, Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen & Helpers of
Am. v. Lucas Flour Co., 369 U.S. 95, 103, 82 S. Ct. 571, 7 L. Ed. 2d 593 (1962).
To determine whether § 301 preempts Madsen’s state law claims, the Court must
first decide which, if any, of the parties’ contracts invoke the Court’s jurisdiction. In short, does
this case involve “contracts between an employer and a labor organization representing
employees in an industry affecting commerce . . . or between any such labor organizations,” such
that § 301 applies? If so, the Court must then decide whether plaintiff’s particular claims are
preempted by § 301.
D. Contracts under § 301
The parties agree that no “contracts between an employer and a labor
organization” are relevant to this dispute. Instead, defendant identifies two contracts between
labor organizations: the International’s constitution and the Local’s bylaws. Plaintiff agrees that
the International’s constitution is a contract between labor organizations, correctly contends that
the Local’s bylaws do not constitute a § 301 contract, and as explained infra, correctly argues
that she did not state any claim arising from or involving interpretation of the International’s
The Supreme Court has held that union constitutions are contracts between labor
organizations, specifically, the parent and the local unions. See United Ass’n of Journeymen &
Apprentices of Plumbing & Pipefitting Indus. of U.S. & Canada, AFL-CIO v. Local 334, United
Ass’n of Journeymen & Apprentices of Plumbing & Pipefitting Indus. of U.S. & Canada, 452
U.S. 615, 621, 101 S. Ct. 2546, 69 L. Ed. 2d 280 (1981). When a local union accuses a parent
union of violating the union constitution, § 301 governs. Not limited to union-on-union disputes,
§ 301 also applies to lawsuits between individual union members and labor organizations, if the
allegations include a violation of the union constitution or other contract between labor
organizations. Wooddell v. Int’l Bhd. of Elec. Workers, Local 71, 502 U.S. 93, 101, 112 S. Ct.
494, 116 L. Ed. 2d 419 (1991). Section 301 focuses on the character of the contract, not the
parties to the lawsuit.
Section 301 does not govern lawsuits involving individual employment contracts,
even when the employees are also parties to collective bargaining agreements. See Caterpillar,
482 U.S. at 394-95. If the plaintiff chooses not to vindicate her rights under a labor contract,
instead bringing claims based on an individual contract, the plaintiff’s complaint controls. In a
case between a local and its employee, the Sixth Circuit found that “[p]laintiff’s allegation of an
employment contract providing for just cause termination does not constitute a collective
bargaining agreement. . . . An employment contract between an individual and a labor
organization does not fall within the jurisdiction of § 301.” Kunz v. United Food & Commercial
Workers, Local 876, 5 F.3d 1006, 1009 (6th Cir. 1993) (citing Wooddell, 502 U.S. at 98); see
also Pearson v. Int’l Union, United Auto., Aerospace & Agric. Implement Workers of Am., 99 F.
App’x 46, 52 (6th Cir. 2004) (if contract were signed only by employee and union, “it would not
be a contract between an employer and a labor organization representing employees, nor would it
be a contract between labor organizations”); Chicago Reg’l Council of Carpenters v. Losinske,
No. 06 C 6903, 2007 WL 1576129, at *3 (N.D. Ill. May 29, 2007) (same).
Also strictly construing the limits of § 301, the Seventh Circuit held that “[t]he
constitution of a local union . . . is a contract between the union and its members,” and “[a] suit
on a contract between a labor organization and a member is not within the scope of section 301.”
Korzen v. Local Union 705, Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters, 75 F.3d 285, 288 (7th Cir. 1996) (citation
omitted); see also Bermingham v. Castro, 191 F.3d 459, at *1 (9th Cir. 1999) (unpublished table
decision) (same). Similarly, after noting that § 301 “did nothing to extend [preemption] to
contracts that do not involve an employer-union or union-union[,]” a district court concluded that
“[l]ocal bylaws are not contracts between labor organizations” and do not confer federal
jurisdiction. Williams v. Local Union 911, United Steelworkers of Am., 31 F. Supp. 2d 40, 43-44
(D.R.I. 1998); see also Dashields v. Robertson, 215 F.3d 1318, at *2 n.2 (4th Cir. 2000)
(unpublished table decision) (suit predicated on bylaws does not fall within preemptive scope of
Even Kitzmann v. Local 619-M Graphic Commc’ns Conference of the Int’l Bhd.
of Teamsters, 415 F. App’x 714 (6th Cir. 2011), the lead case cited by defendant to support its
assertion that the Local’s bylaws constitute a contract between labor organizations, betrays it.
(See Doc. No. 9 at 103.) In Kitzmann, plaintiff alleged that the Local violated several contracts,
among them, the international union constitution; the constitution of District Council 3, an
organization composed of several local unions; an affiliation agreement between unions; and the
Local’s own constitution. 415 F. App’x at 718-19.
Concluding that the “[i]nternational
constitution, the District Council 3 constitution and the affiliation agreement are all ‘contracts
between labor organizations,’” the Sixth Circuit affirmed § 301 preemption. Id. at 719.
Importantly, the court noted that plaintiff’s other allegations, including violations of the Local’s
constitution “fell within the district court’s supplemental jurisdiction, even if they were not
preempted.” Id. at 720 (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a)).3
Nor do the other cases cited by defendant support its position that local bylaws are § 301 contracts. In Wall v.
Constr. & Gen. Laborers’ Union, Local 230, 224 F.3d 168 (2d Cir. 2000), the court stated that plaintiffs’ state law
claims were preempted because of “Local 230’s constitution.” Id. at 178. The Court has reviewed the case and has
determined that the constitution referenced by the court is the international union’s constitution. See id. at 175
(“Local 230 is affiliated with LIUNA [the international union], and, as such, is governed by LIUNA’s Uniform
Local Union Constitution[.]”). In the other cases cited by defendant, as well as cases the Court has located in its
research, plaintiffs asserted violations of the bylaws and union constitutions. See DeSantiago v. Laborers Int’l
Union of N. Am., Local No. 1140, 914 F.2d 125, 128 (8th Cir. 1990) (claims were based upon “the local and
international constitutions”); Pruitt v. Carpenters’ Local Union No. 225 of United Bhd. of Carpenters & Joiners of
Am., 893 F.2d 1216, 1219 (11th Cir. 1990) (same). These cases merely show the role of supplemental jurisdiction in
labor law cases: it allows adjudication of claims arising from non-§ 301 contracts. To the extent that these and other
cases hold instead that bylaws are contracts between labor organizations, the Court declines to follow them. In
Here, defendant has provided two contracts. Of these, the International’s
constitution indisputably constitutes a contract between labor organizations, while the Local’s
bylaws, governing the relationship between the Local and its members, do not. Further, the
Local’s “standing resolutions,” from which Madsen lays claim to salary, vacation compensation,
and pension contributions (Doc. No. 2 at 12), are not contracts between labor organizations.
They are contracts between Madsen, an employee, and the Local, an employer. See Kunz, 5 F.3d
at 1009; Pearson, 99 F. App’x at 52. Through supplemental jurisdiction, Madsen’s claims for
breach of the bylaws or standing resolutions could piggyback on the Court’s jurisdiction over the
International’s constitution; however Madsen’s complaint must first invoke the Court’s
jurisdiction over the International’s constitution. The Court turns now to this inquiry.
E. Claims Subject to § 301 Preemption
Having determined that this litigation involves a contract between labor
organizations—the International’s constitution—the Court must now determine whether
plaintiff’s state law claims are preempted because of it. “[N]ot every dispute concerning
employment, or tangentially involving a provision of a collective-bargaining agreement, is preempted by § 301 or other provisions of the federal labor law.” Allis-Chalmers Corp. v. Lueck,
471 U.S. 202, 211, 105 S. Ct. 1904, 85 L. Ed. 2d 206 (1985). When, however, the terms of labor
contracts, the driving force behind § 301, are implicated, so, too, is federal exclusivity. The Sixth
Circuit has developed a two-step approach to § 301 preemption: “First, the district court must
examine whether proof of the state law claim requires interpretation of collective bargaining
United Association of Journeymen and Wooddell, the Supreme Court addressed § 301 only with respect to union
constitutions and has not extended § 301’s reach beyond them. 452 U.S. at 627 (“We do not need to say that every
contract imaginable between labor organizations is within § 301(a). It is enough to hold . . . that union constitutions
are.); 502 U.S. at 101 (“union constitutions are an important form of contract between labor organizations”).
agreement terms. Second, the court must ascertain whether the right claimed by the plaintiff is
created by the collective bargaining agreement or by state law.” DeCoe v. Gen. Motors Corp., 32
F.3d 212, 216 (6th Cir. 1994) (internal citation omitted). If the right claimed does not involve
labor contract interpretation and is borne of state law, “there is no preemption.” Id.
Before it engages in the two-step analysis, the Court notes that plaintiff’s sole
reference to the International’s constitution in her complaint notes that the Local “is organized
and conducts its business under . . . the continent-wide international union, the American
Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada.” (Doc. No. 2 at 12.) Thereafter, she
refers only to the Local’s bylaws and standing resolutions. In its notice of removal, defendant
alleges that plaintiff’s claims arise from the International’s constitution, specifically, the
provision that “Each Local shall pay a wage or honorarium to its chief executive Officer and
chief administrative Officer.” (Doc. No. 1-1 at 6.) While never stating explicitly that plaintiff
was the chief executive Officer or chief administrative Officer, defendant states that plaintiff’s
claims arise, in part, from this provision. Plaintiff denies that she served as the Local’s chief
administrative Officer. For purposes of its two-step analysis, the Court assumes that plaintiff was
the chief administrative Officer and this provision fully applies to her. Even if plaintiff did serve
as the Local’s chief administrative Officer, however, her claims are not preempted by § 301.
a. Claims involving interpretation of § 301 contracts are preempted.
Section 301 preempts state law claims if the state claims “require the
interpretation of a collective-bargaining agreement[,]” or other § 301 contract. See Lingle v.
Norge Div. of Magic Chef, Inc., 486 U.S. 399, 413, 108 S. Ct. 1877, 100 L. Ed. 2d 410 (1988);
see also Diamond v. United Food & Commercial Workers Union, Local 881, No. 97 C 6216,
1997 WL 667823 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 24, 1997) (preemption when state law claim required
interpreting bylaw language identical to language in international union constitution).
For example, the Sixth Circuit affirmed preemption when plaintiff asserted a state
law claim of intentional infliction of emotion distress, claiming that the union’s treatment of him
“undermine[d] the due process requirements contained in the [union] constitution[,]” constituting
outrageous conduct. Pearson, 99 F. App’x at 53 (quotation marks omitted) (first alteration in
original). To assess plaintiff’s claim, the court would necessarily construe the due process
requirements of the union constitution, a § 301 contract. Similarly, state claims that involved
calculating the timeliness of dues payments under the union’s constitution and bylaws were
preempted. See Fox v. Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers Int’l Union,
Local No. 24, AFL-CIO, No. C 08-05737 WHA, 2010 WL 682458, at *9 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 24,
2010). If, however, in anticipating subsequent proceedings, defendant cannot credibly point to
any provision or language of a labor contract that the Court would be required to interpret, then
the first step does not demand preemption. See Hahn v. Rauch, 602 F. Supp. 2d 895, 906-07
(N.D. Ohio 2008); see also Pearson, 99 F. App’x at 53 (elements of fraud and intentional
misrepresentation claims did not require analysis of labor contract).
b. Claims arising out of rights created by § 301 contracts are preempted.
Preemption under the second step is appropriate when “‘the rights claimed by the
plaintiff were created by the [labor contract.]’” Kitzmann, 415 F. App’x at 718 (quoting Mattis v.
Massman, 355 F.3d 902, 906 (6th Cir. 2004)). If the state law claim does not exist independently
of the labor contract, the state law claim is preempted by the labor contract. See Allis-Chalmers
Corp., 471 U.S. at 213. Claims dependent on labor contracts include both state contract and tort
claims. Mattis, 355 F.3d at 905 (citations omitted). For example, if a labor contract creates a
business relationship between two parties, a state claim for tortious interference with a business
relationship does not exist independently of the labor contract. See id. at 907 (citing DeCoe, 32
F.3d at 218); see also Rauscher v. Ryan, No. CIV.A. 93-5950, 1994 WL 121006, at *6 (E.D. Pa.
Apr. 7, 1994) (“[T]he plaintiffs claim that the defendants intentionally interfered with their
contractual rights . . . derive[d] from the union constitution.”); Ramos v. Dist. Council 16, Int’l
Union of Painters & Allied Trades, No. C 13-03025 WHA, 2013 WL 5442291, at *3 (N.D. Cal.
Sept. 30, 2013) (unfair business practices and negligence claims arose out of union’s constitution
and bylaws). State contract claims dependent on rights created by § 301 contracts are easy to
spot—generally they are, or include, breach of contract claims. See Kitzmann, 415 F. App’x at
719 (“Kitzmann has alleged that the Defendants breached these § 301 contracts.”)
If, however, plaintiff avoids asserting claims arising from her labor contract or
other federal law and “does not even hint at the need to resolve any dispute concerning
interpretation of [labor contract] terms[,]” then plaintiff’s well-pleaded complaint avoids federal
preemption. Paul, 701 F.3d at 522 (no preemption of state law disability claim). Claims arising
from plaintiff’s individual employment contract with her employer, for example, are not
preempted. Caterpillar, 482 U.S. at 394-95 (“It is true that respondents, bargaining unit members
at the time of the plant closing, possessed substantial rights under the collective agreement, and
could have brought suit under § 301. As masters of the complaint, however, they chose not to do
so.”) State civil rights claims also exist independently of labor contracts—plaintiff does not need
a labor contract to be free from discrimination. If plaintiff confines her complaint to state
discrimination claims, the complaint controls. See Smolarek v. Chrysler Corp., 879 F.2d 1326,
1332 (6th Cir. 1989) (en banc); Tisdale, 25 F.3d at 1314 (“state right not to be discriminated
against by a labor organization” not preempted); see also Karnes v. Boeing Co., 335 F.3d 1189,
1193 (10th Cir. 2003) (no preemption of union member’s complaint alleging violation of state
statute requiring companies’ anti-drug policies to be applied uniformly); Austin v. Int’l Bhd. of
Elec. Workers, AFL-CIO, No. 4:11-CV-1029 CEJ, 2012 WL 685416, at *3 (E.D. Mo. Mar. 2,
2012) (no preemption of claims for violation of “non-waivable rights created under Missouri
The Court now turns to plaintiff’s specific claims.
The Court must determine if any of plaintiff’s claims—breach of written and
implied contract, promissory estoppel, unjust enrichment, and failure to remit wages—arise from
rights created by the International’s constitution or involve interpretation of the International’s
constitution, the sole § 301 contract in this case. As stated above, for purposes of determining
this motion, the Court assumes that the International constitution’s provision regarding chief
administrative officers applies to plaintiff. Even making this assumption, the Court concludes
that plaintiff’s claims simply do not arise from the International’s constitution. She does not
allege any violation of, and only mentions in passing, the International’s constitution, instead
stating that her claims arise “[u]nder the bylaws and standing resolutions of the [Local.]” (Doc.
No. 2 at 12.) Looking behind the face of the complaint to its substance, the rights claimed by
plaintiff—her specific salary, her vacation pay, and her pension contributions—all arose from the
Local’s standing resolutions, not the International’s constitution. The Local’s standing
resolutions are not § 301 contracts; instead, they are actions taken by the Local that govern its
relationship with Madsen, an individual. Quite simply, the International’s constitution did not
establish the specifics regarding her rights to her vacation pay or pension contributions; the
standing resolutions did. While the International’s constitution required a wage for the “chief
administrative Officer,” the right claimed by plaintiff is her right to the amount of salary set by
the standing resolutions and bylaws. Additionally, Ohio Rev. Code § 4113.15 gives rise to
Madsen’s fifth claim. Plaintiff’s choice to assert her failure to remit wages claim on the basis of
state statutory law and individual employment contracts, rather than the line cited in the
International’s constitution, should be respected. See Caterpillar, 482 U.S. at 394-95.
Nor do any of Madsen’s five claims necessitate interpreting the International’s
constitution. The International’s constitution states that Madsen is entitled to a wage. Defendant
points to no ambiguity in the International’s constitution, no term in need of construction or
explanation, and nothing that would imperil the uniformity of labor contract interpretation. See
Rauch, 602 F. Supp. 2d at 907 (“Defendants do not cite any specific portion of the Local’s
constitution or explain what type of interpretation might be required.”) On the other hand, the
bylaws and standing resolutions, according to plaintiff’s complaint, set the amount of wages and
all the other benefits plaintiff seeks. Plaintiff claims a breach of those agreements, reliance on
those agreements, unjust enrichment resulting from those agreements, and failure to remit the
wages set by those agreements. Those non-§ 301 provisions, not the International’s constitution,
shall require interpretation.
Because this case’s sole § 301 contract neither requires interpretation nor gives
rise to any claim plaintiff chose to plead, preemption, powerful as it otherwise can be, is
inappropriate in this case.
For the reasons set forth above, plaintiff’s motion to remand is GRANTED.
Plaintiff’s motion to strike is DENIED. This case is remanded to the Summit County Court of
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: April 1, 2014
HONORABLE SARA LIOI
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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