UNION UNFAIR PRACTICES; DUTY OF FAIR REPRESENTATION – Mode or Adequacy of Representation/Advocacy

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800.05000 – Mode or Adequacy of Representation/Advocacy

To establish a breach of the duty of fair representation, the charging party must show that the recognized employee organization engaged in conduct that was arbitrary, discriminatory or in bad faith. A prima facie case of arbitrary failure to represent an employee may be established based on an overall pattern of conduct even if any one of the employee organization’s actions by itself would not constitute a violation. Union failed to provide probationary employee with requested representation in a meeting where the employee received a poor performance evaluation. Later that morning, a union representative attended a meeting in which the employee was rejected on probation. However, during the meeting the principal told the employee that the representative was not there to represent him but to represent the employee’s subordinates, who had filed grievances against him. When the employee met with a different representative about challenging his rejection on probation, the chapter president argued with the representative and then told him to make the meeting “fast.” Union assigned another representative to employee’s case but after one meeting the representative did not return the employee’s phone calls. This conduct, taken as a whole, was sufficient to demonstrate that the union arbitrarily failed to represent the employee and therefore the charge stated a prima facie breach of the duty of fair representation.