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

Single Topic for Decision 2028E

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800.02000 – Grievance Handling/Contract Administration

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, or that the employee organization’s negligence extinguished the employee’s right to pursue his or her grievance. Union did not breach its duty of fair representation by withdrawing an employee’s grievance one week before a scheduled arbitration hearing because the decision to withdraw was based on newly discovered documents that indicated the grievance lacked merit and the union’s interpretation of those documents was not unreasonable under the circumstances. While the union’s late discovery of the documents may have been negligent, the union’s conduct did not breach the duty of fair representation because under the collective bargaining agreement the employee could arbitrate his grievance without the union’s participation.