United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
W. GRIMM, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Beck-Pell, who is proceeding without counsel, is an
African-American, female, sheet metal worker over the age of
40 who was a member of the Sheet Metal Workers Local #100
(“Local 100” or the “Union”). Am.
Compl. 6, ECF No. 5. She believed that contractors were
hiring workers in other classes-younger workers, male
workers, and workers who were not African-American or Black.
Id. She complained to Local 100 about this perceived
discrimination, but Local 100 did not act on her behalf.
Id. She filed suit, alleging race, color, sex, and
age discrimination and retaliation, in violation of Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
et seq. (“Title VII”), and the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, 29 U.S.C.
§§ 621-634 (“ADEA”), as well as breach
of contract. Compl. 4-6, ECF No. 1; see Am.
Compl. Now pending is the Motion for Summary
Judgment, ECF No. 40, that Local 100 filed. Because Ms.
Beck-Pell cannot prevail on any of her claims, I will grant
100 is a labor organization that negotiates and enforces
collective bargaining agreements covering sheet metal
construction workers [both apprentices and journeymen (who
have completed their apprenticeships)] in Maryland, Virginia,
the District of Columbia, and several counties in West
Virginia.” LaBille Decl. ¶ 2, ECF No. 40-3
(Declaration of President and Business Manager of Local 100);
see Pl.'s Opp'n 2. Local 100 “is
affiliated with the International Association and is governed
by its [International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail
and Transportation Workers] Constitution and Ritual”
(“Constitution and Ritual”). LaBille Decl. ¶
30; see Const. & Ritual, ECF No. 40-3, at 106.
To assist its members in obtaining employment, Local 100
operates a referral system. Local 100's system is a
nonexclusive referral system, which means that any member,
other than an apprentice, has the right to solicit a job with
any local or out-of-town contractor within the jurisdiction
of Local 100 regardless of the member's position on the
unemployment list. Likewise, any signatory contractor,
whether local or out-of-town, has the right to offer any
member of Local 100 a job regardless of the member's
position on the unemployment list. Signatory contractors also
can fire from any source without regard to the referral list.
Upon lay off, Local 100 members sign an unemployment list
maintained by Local 100. Local 100 then sends that list out
each Friday to its signatory contractors, and the contractors
are free to either hire from the list or from other sources.
. . .
A member's spot on the unemployment list rises when
individuals above them on the list notify the union that they
have been hired. Upon being laid off, members return to the
bottom of the list.
Decl. ¶¶ 5-6, 24. While Local 100 will “do
what they can to assist members in obtaining work, ”
Local 100 “members have the ultimate responsibility for
obtaining their own employment with one of Local 100's
signatory contractors. And Local 100's signatory
contractors are ultimately responsible for making hiring
decisions.” Id. ¶¶ 9-10.
Beck-Pell completed her sheet metal work apprenticeship and
became a sheet metal mechanic in 2001 or 2002. Beck-Pell Dep.
26:16-27:2, ECF No. 40-4. At the time, she already was a
member of the Local 100. See Member Hr. Listing, ECF
No. 40-3, at 16. “In 2004 [she] was laid off, for what
[she] believed to be age and race discrimination.”
Pl.'s Opp'n 3, ¶ 2. She filed an administrative
complaint with the EEOC and received a Notice of Right to Sue
but did not pursue the matter further “because [she]
went back to work.” Id.
January 2010,  when she completed her job assignment with
Dynamic Systems, Inc. at the National Ball Park, Beck-Pell
has been seeking Local 100's assistance in procuring
work. Am. Compl. 6; Member Hr. Listing, ECF No. 40-3, at 12.
She “put [her] name on the [Union's] out-of-work
list, ” and she has “called and [gone] out on Job
sites to look for work, ” but without success. Am.
Compl. 6; see Pl.'s Opp'n 3, ¶ 3. She
claims, without elaboration, that “[t]he [unemployment]
list that the union has is not accurate.” Pl.'s
Opp'n 4, ¶ 8.
Beck-Pell alleges that the contractors would tell her that
she “had to go thru [sic] the union in order to be
employed at one of the Job sites, ” but, “[w]hen
[she] went to the Union Hall they were still saying that
there was no work.” Am. Compl. 6; see
Pl.'s Opp'n 3, ¶ 3. Ms. Beck-Pell did, however,
receive one job assignment through Local 100: She “was
refer[red] to a job from the local in 2012 after not working,
since 2010” and she worked briefly for a company called
Critchfield Mechanical, Inc. in August and September 2012.
Pl.'s Opp'n 4, ¶ 5 (stating that she
“work[ed] for 6 days with Critchfield Mechanical,
Inc.”); see Member Hr. Listing, ECF No. 40-3,
at 12 (20 hours worked in August 2012 and 80 hours worked in
16, 2013, Ms. Beck-Pell complained about the hiring process
to Local 100 representatives because “males were
getting employment” while “[n]o black females
over the age of 40 w[ere] being picked up for work.”
Am. Compl. 6; see Pl.'s Opp'n 4, ¶ 4.
In her grievance letter, she stated that “[t]he union
reps of local #100 are aware that there are no black females,
journeymen, over the age of 40, . . . working [sic] for any
contractors in local #100, ” and “[t]he sheet
metal workers union local has not addressed this
situation.” July 16, 2013 Grievance Ltr., ECF No. 40-3,
at 95. She stated that it could be retaliation because the
black, female journeymen “had filed a suit against one
of the local #100 contractors” and, “since that
incident occurred, [they] have not been able to get work with
any local contractors.” Id. She explains in
her Opposition that her grievance was “against the
Local 100 for not protecting [her] rights as a union
member[;] [she] was not going to file against the
contractors.” Pl.'s Opp'n 4, ¶ 7.
response to the grievance letter, Local 100 clarified that it
“does not operate an exclusive hiring hall” and
that “union members may apply for work directly with
signatory contractors.” Nov. 1, 2013 Ltr. to Beck-Pell,
ECF No. 40-3, at 99. Beck-Pell insists that, “once
[she] became a journeyman, every job [she] worked, [she] was
referred through the hall.” Pl.'s Opp'n 4,
¶ 9 (capitalization removed). Because Beck-Pell was
complaining about the contractors' failure to hire her
and other black women over the age of 40, Local 100 provided
guidance for “pursu[ing] a grievance or grievances
against contractors.” Id.
Local 100 asked [her] to provide information about the
contractors that refused to hire [her], so, [she] needed to
provide facts to support what [she] was saying. They wanted
the names of the contractors to which [she] had applied for
employment, the positions for which [she] had appl[ied],
evidence that the contractor had openings at the time that
[she] applied, and the contractor's response to [her]
application and the date of the response.
Pl.'s Opp'n 4, ¶ 6; see Nov. 1, 2013
Ltr. to Beck-Pell, ECF No. 40-3, at 99. She did not provide
any additional information, and Local 100 did not file a
grievance on her behalf. Beck-Pell Dep. 176:5-178:3.
Beck-Pell herself filed an EEOC charge of discrimination
based on age, sex, and race against Local 100 in August 2014.
See 2018 EEOC Charge, ECF No. 40-3, at 127
(discussing earlier charge); Am. Compl. 6.
Beck-Pell made her final dues payment on September 30, 2014,
when she paid dues through August 31, 2014. Member Payment
Hist., ECF No. 40-3, at 104. On November 3, 2014, when her
September and October dues had not been paid, Local 100
informed her that, “as of November 1, 2014, [she was]
suspended in accordance with Sheet Metal Workers'
International Association Constitution and Ritual and Local
100's rules and regulations.” Nov. 3, 2014 Ltr.,
ECF No. 40-3, at 105. It notified her that, up until December
31, 2014, she could pay a reinstatement fee of $250.00, in
addition to one month's dues ($34.50), for a total of
Beck-Pell claims that, on an unspecified date, she
“tried to pay [her] union dues, ” but Local 100
“refused to take [her] payments.” Am. Compl. 6.
According to Beck-Pell, she “contacted the local to
determine how much [she had] to pay to get back in the local
and be reinstated as a member, ” and they
“advised [her that] she had to pay 284.50.”
Pl.'s Opp'n 4, ¶ 9. But she did not attempt to
pay until April 2017, “[w]hile the  EEOC matter
was ongoing, ” at which time Local 100 informed her
that it did not “want [her] money and [she] needed to
get a job first.” Id.; see Apr. 2,
2018 Witness Stmt. 2, ECF No. 43-12 (Beck-Pell's unsigned
statement). She viewed that response as retaliatory and filed
an EEOC complaint alleging retaliation. Pl.'s Opp'n
4, ¶ 9; see 2018 EEOC Charge. According to
It is a standing policy of Local 100 that in order to
reinstate membership in Local 100 following a suspension, an
individual must first obtain employment in the industry and
then request reinstatement and pay the appropriate fees.
Local 100 adopted this policy to prevent the situation where
an individual would spend hundreds of dollars to be