Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
In this situation my opinion would be that you are at least owed the increased benefits from July 15 to the date of the letter/memo of understanding between union and management. Unfortunately it is completely within the purview of the union to renegotiate a contract term at any point in time, and unless you can show something like collusion or they are discriminating against you for an illegal reason, you cannot challenge the renegotiation as courts have widely ruled that unions have a wide discretion in re/negotiation of the contract.
But the fact is that for that period from Jan 2015 until the renegotiation the contract expressly allowed for increased benefits. You need a declaration from the union that it is rejecting the grievance or not pursuing arbitration. Once that occurs you can two courses of action. If the union ultimately fails to do these things for you - there are two courses of action you can take -1) is to file an unfair labor practice against the union for failure to represent you. These are free of charge and you can follow the process at this linkhttp://www.nlrb.gov/what-we-do/investigate-charges 2) is to file a Section 301Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA) claim against both the employer and union in federal court. With the Section 301 claim you would indeed have to hire your own attorney. In the 301 claim you are essentially suing the employer (because it violated the collective bargaining agreement) and the Union(because it did not properly represent you).
I believe this answers your question. However, if you need clarification or have follow-up questions regarding this matter, I will be happy to continue our conversation – simply reply to this answer. If you are otherwise satisfied with my response, please leave a positive rating as itis the only way I am able to get credit for my answers. Thank you, ***** ***** wish you all the best with this matter.
I am sending you this follow-up to determine if you require further assistance with your matter. I believe I have answered your question to the best of my abilities. I truly enjoy helping others with my knowledge and experience, and I believe I provide a valuable service. If you agree that my response was of value to you, please support my endeavor to share my knowledge by providing a positive rating. You have already been charged the full amount for your question. Providing a positive-rating will not cost you any additional charge, but it will permit the website to credit me with answering your question. Otherwise, the website does not credit me with answering your question. Thanks.