Bredesen v. Detroit Federation of Musicians, Local No. 5

165 F. Supp. 2d 647 (2001)

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Bredesen v. Detroit Federation of Musicians, Local No. 5

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
165 F. Supp. 2d 647 (2001)

Facts

Diane Bredesen (plaintiff) was the house contractor for the Detroit Opera House (the theater) and the only woman to hold that position in any major Detroit-area venue. The house contractor was responsible for hiring pick-up orchestras to perform traveling shows at the theater and for serving as a liaison between the musicians, conductor, and theater. Bredesen was a member of the Detroit Federation of Musicians, Local No. 5 (union) (defendant). The union also represented two house contractors employed by other Detroit-area venues, both of whom were male. When Bredesen was hired, she asked the union president, Carl Austin, to negotiate a “double scale” salary for her. Austin told her all the house contractors were paid the same rate, which was a single side-musician’s scale, and that the rate was required to be uniform to avoid competition among the venues. Based on Austin’s representations, Bredesen accepted the single-scale rate. However, Bredesen later discovered that Austin’s statements about the rate of pay were false and that male house contractors at other venues were being paid at the double rate. Bredesen brought a state-law claim for sex discrimination in which she alleged the union discriminated against her by negotiating her pay at half the rate the union negotiated for male house contractors. The union moved for summary judgment, arguing, among other things, that § 301 of the federal Labor Management Relations Act (the act) preempted Bredesen’s state-law sex-discrimination claim.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rosen, J.)

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