Federal Labor Management Relations Litigation Down in November 2016
(19 Dec 2016) The latest available data from the federal courts show 47 new labor/management relations civil filings during November 2016. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by TRAC, this is below the filing rate seen during FY 2016 (ending in September), where lawsuits of this type averaged 57 per month. Five years ago, filings were twice November's level, averaging 98 per month.

Labor management litigation often involves a labor union or employee pension or welfare fund suing a particular company in a contract or benefit dispute. Other times it may involve an employee suing the labor union or pension fund, although more often it is the company that is the party being sued.

Litigation of this type is not evenly spread across the country. During all of fiscal year 2016 filings relative to the population in each federal judicial district ranged widely. While the national average was 2.1 suits per million population, three districts had four or more times the level of this litigation than the national average.

The Southern District of New York (Manhattan) had both the highest number of these lawsuits (78) as well as the highest rate of litigation of this type at seven times the national average. The Southern District of Ohio (Cincinnati) had the second highest rate with 61 labor-management relations suits. Much less populous Hawaii came in a surprising third in the level of this litigation relative to its population size with four times the national average rate for labor-management litigation.

While litigation fell in most districts over the past five years, the sharpest drop was experienced by New Jersey where the number of suits fell by 92 percent. The Northern District of West Virginia (Wheeling) had the next sharpest decline of 81 percent, closely followed by the Eastern District of Wisconsin (Milwaukee) where labor-management suits fell by 79 percent between FY 2011 and FY 2016.

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