UNION UNFAIR PRACTICES; DUTY OF FAIR REPRESENTATION – Grievance Handling/Contract Administration
Single Topic for Decision 2149E
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800.02000 – Grievance Handling/Contract Administration
An exclusive representative’s failure to return an employee’s correspondence and delay in filing a grievance on the employee’s behalf, does not, without more, establish a breach of the duty of fair representation. A prima facie case must allege facts showing that the union’s actions were arbitrary, discriminatory or in bad faith. At a minimum the unfair practice charge must allege facts showing the exclusive representative’s action or inaction was without rational basis or devoid of honest judgment. Where charging party failed to do so the charge failed to establish a prima facie case for breach of the duty of fair representation. Mere negligence does not amount to a breach of the duty of fair representation unless the exclusive representative’s negligence foreclosed any remedy for charging party. Here, the exclusive representative’s failure to respond to inquiries from charging party and delay in filing a grievance were at most “mere negligence.” Where there is no evidence that charging party was foreclosed from any remedy, the charge failed to establish a prima facie case for breach of the duty of fair representation.