MIAMI – A federal judge has denied a request from a postal service union president and vice president to dismiss a claim alleging they violate labor law in how they are paid.
U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom for the Southern District of Florida on April 27 refused to dismiss the lawsuit, which was filed by Danny Tarantino, who alleges Jeffery Riddel and Sandra Munoz, president and vice president of the Broward County Area Local-1201, double dipped in earning the salary that comes fully from union dues.
Essentially, the court said Tarantino's lawsuit was based on the idea that they should not be able to claim hourly work or compensation under both the union and the company simultaneously.
In response, the defendants argued that local union policy allowed for a full-time union salary and hourly pay from the company in question.
In ruling on the issue, Bloom cited the language of the Labor Management Recording and Disclosure Act of 1959, showing how labor organization officials have specific responsibilities.
Citing case law, Bloom wrote that the act “imposes fiduciary responsibility in its broadest sense."
Bloom stepped softly, acknowledging case law shows that court involvement should generally be minimized. “Congress did not intend to give courts a license to interfere broadly into union affairs, and it is not an invitation for courts to substitute their judgment on how a union should be managed,” the court wrote.
In conclusion, Bloom suggested that the defendants in the case have asked the court to bend toward their interpretation of some ambiguous terms and ideas in the relevant case. "Taking the well-plead allegations in the amended complaint as true and construing the facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the court finds that plaintiff has alleged sufficient facts to survive defendants’ motion.”