Decision 0859H – American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (Smith)
Decision Date: December 17, 1990
Decision Type: PERB Decision
Perc Vol: 15
Perc Index: 22012
800.02000 – Grievance Handling/Contract Administration
Absent bad faith, discrimination or arbitrary conduct, mere allegations or poor judgment in handling a grievance does not constitute a breach of the union's duty of fair representation; p. 5, warning letter. A union may exercise its discretion to determine how far to pursue a grievance on the employee's behalf so long as it does not arbitrarily ignore a meritorious grievance or process a grievance in a perfunctory fashion. A union is not required to process an employee's grievance if the chances for success are minimal; p. 5, warning letter. To state a prima facie case of arbitrary conduct violating the duty of fair representation a charging party must, at a minimum, include an assertion of sufficient facts from which it becomes apparent how or in what manner the exclusive representative's action or inaction was without a rational basis or devoid of honest judgment; pp. 5-6, what manner the exclusive representative's action or inaction was without a rational basis or devoid of honest judgment; pp. 5-6, charging party was not able to show how decision not to take the case to arbitration was without a rational basis or devoid of honest judgment. Contract gave broad authority to the employer over issues central to charging party's grievance. Union, therefore, could conclude with some rational basis and honest judgment that success in challenging charging party's termination in arbitration was not likely. Finally, considering effort and expense of arbitration, it was not unreasonable for union to be concerned that charging party, based upon a therapist's advice, might ultimately decline reinstatement remedy; p. 6, warning letter.