United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
INTERNATIONAL UNION, UNITED AUTOMOBILE, AEROSPACE AND AGRICULTURAL IMPLEMENT WORKERS OF AMERICA UAW, and its LOCAL 1869, Plaintiffs,
GENERAL MOTORS LLC, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING FRONT PAY DAMAGES
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
found Defendant liable under a collective bargaining
agreement for laying off and failing to recall three former
employees: Gerald Bosman, Linda Chapman, and Ovidiu Kowalski.
ECF 95. The jury was not charged with determining damages
because the parties agreed to leave the issue of damages to
the Court. ECF 108, PgID 2354-57. The parties ultimately
stipulated to damages for lost wages, benefits, and overtime.
ECF 120. The Plaintiffs additionally requested reinstatement,
which the Court denied. Id. Plaintiffs sought front
pay as an alternative. Id. The Court referred the
issue of front pay to mediation, but the parties did not
reach an agreement. ECF 122; ECF 123. The Court will now
address whether front pay is an appropriate remedy, and if
so, what is the proper amount.
employer breaches a collective bargaining agreement, the
Court's primary goal is to make the injured employee
whole. Wilson v. Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, Chauffeurs,
Warehousemen & Helpers of Am., AFL-CIO, 83 F.3d 747,
756 (6th Cir. 1996). The Court has broad discretion to
achieve the goal. Id. Front pay is an available
remedy when, as here, reinstatement is inappropriate or
infeasible. Suggs v. ServiceMaster Educ. Food Mgmt.,
72 F.3d 1228, 1234 (6th Cir. 1996). Any award is not
mandatory, but rather, is left to the discretion of the
Court. Arban v. West Pub. Corp., 345 F.3d 390, 406
(6th Cir. 2003); Wilson, 83 F.3d at 756;
Suggs, 72 F.3d at 1237.
front pay is an appropriate remedy, the Court must make an
award that is reasonably specific as to duration and amount.
Suggs, 72 F.3d at 1235. The following factors are
relevant: (1) the employee's future in the position from
which he was terminated; (2) the employee's work and life
expectancy; (3) the employee's obligation to mitigate
damages; (4) the availability of comparable employment
opportunities and the time reasonably required to find
substitute employment; (5) the present value of future
damages; and (6) other factors that are pertinent in
prospective damage awards. Id. at 1234.
Front Pay is an Appropriate Remedy
pay is an appropriate remedy here. The Court is bound by the
jury's determination that Defendant breached the
collective bargaining agreement. ECF 95. The Court therefore
must put Bosman and Kowalski in the positions they would be
in absent the breach. Bosman and Kowalski have found new
jobs, but they receive less compensation. ECF 104, PglD2029,
2079-80; ECF 124-9; ECF 124-10. Employees work to earn wages.
And to be made whole, Bosman and Kowalski must be awarded
their lost income for each year that they would have worked
for Defendant absent the breach.
observing the trial and examining the record, the Court finds
that Bosman and Kowalski would have worked for Defendant
until retirement. Defendant has a demand for these workers;
the record shows that Defendant hired workers in Bosman's
and Kowalski's department since the layoff at issue here.
ECF 105, PgID 2222, 2225-26. And Bosman and Kowalski are
capable of filling the demand. Although they were not the
most technically competent employees, they were good,
hardworking men that arrived on time and did as they were
told. Those facts are evident from their continuous
employment of 10 years with no disciplinary issues. ECF 104,
PgID 2005, 2084; ECF 105, PgID 2207. Moreover, a seniority
list shows that an employee working in Bosman's and
Kowalski's former department usually works until
retirement. ECF 124-8.
factual finding that Bosman and Kowalski would have worked
for Defendant until retirement, front pay is appropriate and
necessary to make them whole.
Amount of Front Pay
Michael Thomson's Report
request $589, 178.00 in front pay for Bosman and $475, 806.00
for Kowalski. Plaintiffs submitted an expert report from Dr.
Michael Thomson in support of the request.ECF 124-2.
Defendant did not rebut the report or provide alternative
calculations, so the Court adopts Dr. Thomson's
projections. Dr. Thomson is a qualified expert with a Ph.D.
in economics from Michigan State University. ECF124-3,
PglD2546. Plaintiffs assert that Dr. Thomson first determined
the difference between the wages Bosman and Kowalski earned
in 2016 working for their current employers relative to what
they would have earned working for Defendant. He then
extended the wage loss until the time Bosman and Kowalski
would be eligible for full Social Security benefits. When
calculating his extension, Dr. Thomson applied a 4%
adjustment for growth and inflation based on the price
assumptions in the 2016 Annual Report of the Board of
Trustees of the Federal Old Age and Survivors Insurance and
Federal Disability Insurance Trust Funds. ECF 124-4, PgID
2559. Finally, Dr. Thomson reduced the amounts to present
value using the calculation provided in Mich. Comp. Laws