Decision 1621M – International Association of Firefighters Local 55 (Waqia)


Decision Date: April 21, 2004

Decision Type: PERB Decision

Description:  Waqia claimed that Local 55 breached the duty of fair representation by failing to take his grievance regarding his termination from employment.

Disposition:  The Board found that Local 55’s refusal to arbitrate his grievance was not arbitrary, discriminatory or in bad faith.  Waqia did not pursue the grievance or notify Local 55 of his termination in a timely manner.  Local 55’s attorney analyzed the chances of success in arbitration at less than 50% because under the CBA, failure to meet the deadlines nullifies the grievance.  Local 55 believed that an arbitrator would dismiss the grievance based upon this procedural defect and not address the merits.  An exclusive representative has no obligation to pursue a grievance where the chance of success of arbitration is doubtful.

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Perc Vol: 28
Perc Index: 143

Decision Headnotes

800.02000 – Grievance Handling/Contract Administration

Local 55’s decision not to take Waqia’s grievance to arbitration was not arbitrary, discriminatory or in bad faith. Local 55 assisted Waqia with his grievance despite the fact that Waqia had attempted to resolve his dispute outside the grievance process and, as a result, filed an untimely grievance over a month after the City of Oakland’s decision to terminate his employment. An exclusive representative has no obligation to pursue a grievance to arbitration where the potential of success is doubtful. Local 55 gave much thought to the matter before deciding not to proceed to arbitration and so had a rational basis and was not devoid of honest judgment.) Waqia’s argument that the City had already accepted his grievance and would not claim untimeliness at the arbitration level is pure speculation, since the plain meaning of the collective bargaining agreement could require nullification of the grievance by an arbitrator.

1107.01000 – Exceptions; Responses to Exceptions; Standing; Extensions of Time/Late Filing/Waiver

The Board did not consider a late filed document because no facts provided to show good cause for being late