Decision 2277M – Service Employees International Union, Local 221 (Gutierrez)
Decision Date: June 29, 2012
Decision Type: PERB Decision
Description: The charge and complaint alleged that SEIU retaliated against charging party for having engaged in protected activities and unreasonably suspended his union membership.
Disposition: The Board affirmed the proposed decision ordering the complaint and unfair practice charge dismissed, concluding that charging party did not prove a retaliation violation and, by advocating as shop steward that unit members drop their union membership, charging party’s conduct justified the union’s self-protective response in suspending his membership.
Perc Vol: 37
Perc Index: 28
801.04000 – Union Rules and Discipline in General; Union Dues and Fees; Fines, Assessments, Etc.
The Board has held that an employee organization may suspend membership for conduct that attempts to thwart the fundamental objectives of the employee organization because a member has an inherent duty of loyalty and such conduct breaches that duty; the Board has drawn a line between life-threatening activities for which a member may reasonably be suspended from membership and other dissident activities that merely challenge a union’s leadership for which a member may not be reasonably suspended from membership; while employees in a bargaining unit are within their rights to refrain from joining or participating in an employee organization, an employee organization is within its right to take defensive action through disciplinary proceedings against members who actively work to harm the employee’s fiscal and other interests; where charging party advocated as a shop steward that members drop their union membership and become agency fee payers, such conduct threatened the existence of the union and was of sufficient seriousness to justify a self-protective response by the union of suspending charging party’s membership for two years.
801.05000 – Union Threats; Violence
Under the reasonable person standard, a phone call from the union president to management inquiring as to charging party’s whereabouts, which was precipitated by complaints that charging party was conducting union business on work time, did not constitute adverse action where management resolved issue with charging party without incident; charging party’s subjective reaction of feeling fearful in combination with the lack of any evidence of adverse impact on employment led to the conclusion that the call did not constitute adverse action under a union retaliation analysis.
806.01000 – In General
A shop steward owes a duty of loyalty to the employee organization as a member but also as a fiduciary by virtue of the leadership position.
1107.20000 – Other
Charging party’s exception to proposed decision that it was prepared by the administrative law judge without the benefit of a transcript was rejected where charging party had the opportunity to request the transcript but failed to do so.