UNION UNFAIR PRACTICES; DUTY OF FAIR REPRESENTATION – Negotiations
Single Topic for Decision 2087E
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800.03000 – Negotiations
In order to state a prima facie breach of the duty of fair representation by misrepresentation of facts to secure contract ratification, the charging party must show that: (1) the exclusive representative made an untrue assertion of fact (or conduct equivalent to an untrue assertion of fact); (2) the exclusive representative’s assertion was made with knowledge of its falsity; (3) the exclusive representative’s assertion was made to secure ratification of a contract; and (4) the fact misrepresented must have a substantial impact on the relationships of the unit members to their employer. However, “[a] breach of the duty will not be found where the exclusive representative is guilty of ‘mere negligence or poor judgment’.” Applying this standard, the charge failed to establish that the following statements constituted unlawful misrepresentations of fact made by a teachers’ union to its members in order to secure contract ratification: (1) that saving class size reduction depended on contract ratification; (2) that the school district faced a state takeover in lieu of bankruptcy; (3) that the collective bargaining agreement would be nullified in the event of a state takeover; (4) that there was no alternative to bailing out the District for $29 million; (5) that the District had a $15 million debt that needed to be repaid immediately; and (6) that the cost-of-living increase resulting from a ballot initiative had already been incorporated into the District’s budget projections. In addition, charge failed to allege sufficient facts to establish that union’s decision to agree to a contract with a four percent salary cut was without a rational basis or devoid of honest judgment so as to violate the duty of fair representation.