Houston man sues union after losing board position

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau May 20, 2013, 10:14pm

HOUSTON - Alleging that racial discrimination caused him to lose out on a higher position with a union, Houston resident Terry Stewart has filed a lawsuit.

Recent court documents filed May 13 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas explain that Stewart complained about the supposed mistreatment only for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers to discipline him.
Stewart, who joined the defendant in December 2001, put in a bid for general chairman of his district in August 2011.

The suit shows Stewart was the retiring incumbent's first choice for a successor, but the then-district president was reportedly opposed because of his "a serious racial bias against African-Americans."

Another man arose to the position, which made the complainant believe that he was not selected since he is black.

According to the original petition, Stewart became the target of a retaliation campaign led by the president following his protest of the loss.

The plaintiff was investigated for a series of complaints against him, but after two union officials cleared him, the president became "even more determined to destroy the man who had dared to complain about his racial prejudice."

In April 2012, another union official filed new charges against Stewart, who was subsequently deposed as local chairman.

A preliminary investigation hearing was supposed to occur in July 2012, but union officials "abruptly" cancelled it when Stewart asked to record the session, the suit says.

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Katherine L. Butler of Butler & Harris in Houston is representing the plaintiff.

Case No. 4:13-CV-1391

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