Titan Tire Corp. of Freeport, Inc. v. United Steel, Paper & Forest, Rubber, Mfg., Energy, Allied Indus. Serv. Workers Int'l Union, No. 12-1152 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Titan purchased an Illinois tire manufacturing facility, then entered into labor agreements with Local 745, which represented the Titan workers. Titan paid the full union salaries of Local 745's President and Benefit Representative for about two years, although they were on leave of absence from Titan. Titan then concluded such payments violated Section 302(a) of the Labor Management Relations Act, which prohibits an employer from paying money to union representatives. Titan reasoned that Local 745 also represented a bargaining unit at the school district, the union representatives were not working full-time from the Titan facility, and were not subject to Titan’s control. The union filed a grievance, arguing that such payments were exempt from Section 302(a) by Section 302(c), because the two were current or former Titan employees and the payments were “by reason of” their service. An arbitrator found the payments lawful. The district court granted enforcement. The Seventh Circuit reversed. Paying the full-time union salaries of the two representatives was so incommensurate with their former Titan employment as not to qualify as payments in compensation for or by reason of that employment. These payments are “by reason of” service to Local 745 members, including both Titan and school district employees. The court noted the statutory purpose of preventing conflicts of interest.