United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
JOHN KARKOWSKI, individually, and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
ALLIED PILOTS ASSOCIATION, Defendant,
OPNNION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss, or in the alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment,
[Doc. No. 30]. Plaintiff opposes the Motion. For the reasons
set forth below, the alternative Motion for Summary Judgment
will be granted.
has filed a Second Amended Complaint alleging a breach of the
duty of fair representation by Defendant, (Count 1);
violation of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure
Act, (Count 2); breach of contract, (Count 3); conversion,
(Count 4); and unjust enrichment, (Count 5). Plaintiff filed
the Second Amended Complaint on behalf of himself and all
others similarly situated.
and the Class are pilots at American Airlines, Inc.
(American). Plaintiff and Class claim that APA improperly
collected and retained 1% agency fees/dues, as set out in
APA's Constitution and Bylaws (C&B), from a Global
Profit Sharing Plan (the Plan) introduced by American.
is an airline pilot employed by American Airlines, Inc.
(“American”), and purports to represent a
putative class consisting of all American pilots. APA is a
labor organization and the certified collective bargaining
representative of the American pilots.
terms and conditions of employment for American pilots are
contained in a collective bargaining agreement between APA
and American (the “CBA”). The CBA defines itself
as the body of the CBA and all supplements and letters of
agreement between the APA and the Company. The CBA provides
that the “Agreement” shall supersede and take
precedence over all “Agreements” concerning the
same subjects previously executed.
to Section 25 of the CBA, APA is authorized to receive dues
from its members and agency fees from non-member pilots in
return for APA's collective bargaining services. The vast
majority of American pilots elect to have American withhold
dues from the compensation they receive from American, which
remits the dues directly to APA. The remaining pilots elect
to receive an invoice from APA and directly pay APA each
subject of dues, the APA's Constitution & Bylaws
(“C&B”) provides as follows:
Members shall pay dues at the rate of one percent (1%) on
current monthly income. Dues at the rate in effect at the
time any such payments are received by the member shall be
collected on all contractual pay, including Variable
Compensation, cash bonuses, and cash profit sharing.
2016, American established the American Airlines Group Inc.
Global Profit Sharing Plan (the “Plan”) to
provide profit sharing awards to American employees who are
“Participant[s]” in the Plan in the form of
“a lump-sum cash payment on or prior to March
15th of the immediately following Plan
Year.” The Plan expressly conditioned the issuance of
payments to employees represented by a labor union, including
the APA, on the requirement that “such union has agreed
to the Employees' participation in this Plan.” As
the Plan required, on October 20, 2016, APA entered into a
letter of agreement with American to that effect, thereby
making APA-represented pilots- including Plaintiff-eligible
for cash profit sharing distributions from the Plan. The
October 2016 LOA confirmed APA's and American's
“understanding regarding profit sharing” and
provided that it “shall remain in effect for the
duration of the Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement dated
January 30, 2015.” On March 10, 2017, American made its
first cash profit sharing distribution pursuant to the Plan.
APA received dues based on that distribution, either by
deduction from pilot compensation by American or by invoice
to pilots by APA. APA did not respond to Plaintiff's
demands for the return of the 1% dues attributable to the
April 2017, two members of APA's Board of Directors
(“BOD”) introduced a resolution to refund to each
pilot any and all dues/agency fees collected on the cash
profit sharing distributions. That resolution included the
following whereas clauses:
WHEREAS, the Company established a profit sharing arrangement
… for all employees and offered the Plan to APA for
consideration and acceptance; and,
WHEREAS, at the Fall 2016 Board of Directors meeting, the APA
Board moved to direct the President “…to sign
the profit sharing LOA as presented by the Negotiating
WHEREAS, dues and/or agency shop fees have been withheld
and/or billed to pilots who received compensation ...