UNION UNFAIR PRACTICES; DUTY OF FAIR REPRESENTATION – Grievance Handling/Contract Administration

Single Topic for Decision 1572E

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800.02000 – Grievance Handling/Contract Administration

The duty of fair representation imposed on the exclusive representative extends to grievance handling. In this case, the allegation is that the union failed to secure charging party an expedited grievance meeting. The Board has held that a union’s case-handling error (e.g., missing the deadline for filing a grievance) only constitutes negligence and does not rise to the level of arbitrary conduct sufficient to establish a breach of the duty of fair representation. The courts have recognized an exception to this rule where the union’s negligence foreclosed any remedy for the grievant. Here, however, there is no allegation that grievance was foreclosed or adversely affected. While union’s alleged handling of grievance may constitute negligence, there is otherwise no allegation of bad faith, discriminatory, or arbitrary conduct. Accordingly, charge must be dismissed for failure to state a prima facie case.