UNION UNFAIR PRACTICES; DUTY OF FAIR REPRESENTATION – Grievance Handling/Contract Administration
Single Topic for Decision 2260E
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800.02000 – Grievance Handling/Contract Administration
A union’s duty of fair representation extends to grievance handling; in order to state a prima facie violation of the duty of fair representation, charging party must show that the respondent’s conduct was arbitrary, discriminatory or lacking in good faith; a union’s “mere negligence” may breach the duty of fair representation only in cases in which the individual interest at stake is strong and the union’s failure to perform a ministerial act completely extinguishes the employee’s right to pursue his claim; typically, however, mere negligence in grievance handling – such as missing filing deadlines – does not constitute a violation of the duty of fair representation; where charging party filed grievances on her own at levels I and II as permitted under the collective bargaining agreement, the union’s failure to file the grievance at level III, even if negligent, did not extinguish charging party’s right to pursue her claim and cannot establish a breach of the duty of fair representation.