Decision 2096E – California Teachers Association, Solano Community College Chapter, CTA/NEA (Tsai)
Decision Date: February 4, 2010
Decision Type: PERB Decision
Description: Charging party alleged the union breached its duty of fair representation and discriminated against her when it refused to take her grievance to arbitration.
Disposition: The Board upheld the Board agent’s dismissal finding that the union did not breach its duty of fair representation after investigating and concluding the grievance had no merit. The reprisal allegation was also dismissed because there was no showing of nexus.
Perc Vol: 34
Perc Index: 42
300.04000 – Individual/Concerted/Activities/Self-Representation
EERA section 3543 grants public school employees a limited right to self representation with their employer. Employees have a right to present their grievances to the employer without the intervention or assistance of the union. The right to self representation does not include the protected right to be represented by private counsel.
504.02000 – Disparate Treatment
No disparate treatment where union denied arbitration of one grievance while granting arbitration of a similar, but not identical grievance.
504.04000 – Timing of Action
The proximity in time between protected activity and adverse action goes to the strength of the inference of unlawful motive, but is not determinative in itself. Charging party filed a grievance without union assistance, utilizing private counsel through the grievance procedure. The union's denial of the arbitration request was proximate to charging party's ongoing self representation.
800.02000 – Grievance Handling/Contract Administration
The union investigated charging party's grievance, including interviewing other staff, and concluded the employer had not violated the contract. The union informed charging party it did not believe it would prevail on the grievance. The union declined to take charging party's grievance to arbitration, finding that the issue was already covered in another grievance it advanced to arbitration. The union was free to determine the best allocation of its resources.