1748 Williams v. UAW-Chrysler Department
Case No: 1748
An argument could be made that Williams was entitled to a warning before being terminated for pure speech unaccompanied by any violent act. There was no other evidence of misconduct, except for the alarming content of the statement Williams presented to Labor Relations on August 28, 2013. Williams’s letter presents the narrative of an extremely angry and disturbed individual. Once management became aware of Williams’s mental state, it had a responsibility to consider the likelihood that he would eventually succumb to his irrational fears and engage in some kind of violent act. At the same time, the record supports a conclusion that Williams’s local union representatives vigorously pursued a grievance on his behalf following his dismissal. The local representatives met with management on several occasions and raised the possibility of a conditional reinstatement agreement, but management was adamant in its refusal to allow Williams back into the plant. Despite some weaknesses in the employer’s case against Williams, an arbitrator would have access to the letter Williams submitted to Labor Relations on August 28, 2013. An arbitrator would have been unlikely to order Chrysler to reinstate Williams at the Sterling Stamping Plant given the irrational distress and violent impulses revealed by that letter.