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Attorney2020, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 2578
Experience:  I have significant experience in employment law.
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My wife and I are in a Union. Longshoremen to be specific.

Customer Question

My wife and I are in a Union. Longshoremen to be specific. There are three locals that make up our work force, The Clerks, The Longshoremen and The Bosses. To get into the Clerks Union it goes by seniority and you have to take a test. To be promoted to a boss well, it doesn't quite work that way. The Pacific Maritime Association who is a broker for the Stevedoring companies has the sole right to choose whoever they want to. There is NO criteria set forth, We have asked for the Criteria and they tell us " we don't have to give it to you". When I came into this Union there was training for lashing, I went to "training" and told I was being TESTED. No one has EVER been tested so I challenged the TESTING and they were forced to change it. Since then I've tried to make myself available for extra boss work hoping one day I would be selected for advancement. I've been passed over several times now. The 1st time was in 2007, I was on Disability at the time and that's why they told me I didn't make it. I've been working for P.M.A. in their training Dept. now and was passed over again in 2012. This time they said it was because I didn't have enough hours working as a boss, But the reason is because I've been working for them in their training Dept. So I went to higher up Superintendants to let them know I was interested in advancement, Also went the Bay Area Manager for P.M.A. and he told me working in the training dept. would NOT go against me when being considered for advancement. They just made more members bosses and now I'm being told AGAIN it's because I didn't have enough hours. ??? I have filed a grievance under section 13 which is discrimination, But the Arbitrator is saying it is NOT properly before her because it doesn't have anything to do with race creed color age and so forth. What ca I do, If anything to stop this unfair treatment that's been going on. It seems the Bosses Union and P.M.A. have an agreement that gives them the right to do whatever they want when it comes to advancement. What can I do ?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Attorney2020 replied 10 months ago.

union owes a duty of fair representation to all of the workers it represents. This duty requires that the union act fairly, impartially, and without ill will or discrimination when pursuing a worker’s grievance or when negotiating a new contract with the employer. The union is required to take reasonable steps to investigate a grievance and must represent members in more than a dismissive manner. It is illegal for a union to treat you in ways that are: arbitrary (e.g., a union refuses to pursue your grievance without reason); discriminatory (e.g., a union refuses to pursue the grievances of all of its non-white workers); or in bad faith (e.g., a union official fails to respond to your complaint just because he/she doesn’t like you). If you feel that the union has treated you in one of these three ways and has breached its duty of fair representation, you may bring legal action against it. However, the duty of fair representation does not require the union to pursue all grievances until the final possible stage of the grievance procedure or to take all the steps that the member might want it to. The duty of fair representation does not even require that the union do a particularly good job at representing grievances. Unions are only prohibited from acting in arbitrary or discriminatory ways, or in bad faith.

I hope that helped. Please ask any follow-up questions. Please rate my answer so that I may be credited or my time. I thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank You, ***** ***** about the duties of fair representation. That's not whats happened here, Someone has been BLACKBALLED from advancement.
Expert:  Attorney2020 replied 10 months ago.

Additionally unfair labor practices are also claims against unions.

To file a ULP against a union, a union member must fill out NLRB Form 508. Be advised that the NLRB doesn’t have jurisdiction to investigate all unfair employment issues. The NLRB will investigate the allegations and either dismiss the case, seek a settlement from the union, or issue a formal complaint. Union members may also withdraw the complaint. If, after filing a complaint, the union refuses to settle the issue, the case will be heard by an Administrative Law Judge. Depending on the outcome, the NLRB will either issue an order or dismiss the case.

The National Labor Relations Board has more information on the Unfair Labor Practice process.

Examples of Unfair Labor Practices by a Union

The National Labor Relations Board provides the following examples of ULPs by unions:

  • Mass picketing in such numbers that nonstriking employees are physically barred from entering the plant;
  • Acts of force or violence on the picket line, or in connection with a strike;
  • Threats to do bodily injury to nonstriking employees;
  • Threats to employees that they will lose their jobs unless they support the union’s activities;
  • Statement to employees who oppose the union that the employees will lose their jobs if the union wins a majority in the plant ;
  • Entering into an agreement with an employer that recognizes the union as exclusive bargaining representative when it has not been chosen by a majority of the employees;
  • Fining or expelling members for crossing a picket line that is unlawful under the Act or that violates a no- strike agreement;
  • Fining employees for crossing a picket line after they resigned from the union;
  • Fining or expelling members for filing unfair labor practice charges with the Board or for participating in an investigation conducted by the Board;
  • Refusing to process a grievance in retaliation against an employee’s criticism of union officers;
  • Maintaining a seniority arrangement with an employer under which seniority is based on the employee’s prior representation by the union elsewhere;
  • Rejecting an application for referral to a job in a unit represented by the union based on the applicant’s race or union activities;
  • Causing an employer to discharge employees because they circulated a petition urging a change in the union’s method of selecting shop stewards;
  • Causing an employer to discharge employees because they made speeches against a contract proposed by the union;
  • Making a contract that requires an employer to hire only members of the union or employees “satisfactory” to the union;
  • Causing an employer to reduce employees’ seniority because they engaged in antiunion acts;
  • Refusing referral or giving preference on the basis of race or union activities in making job referrals to units represented by the union, and;
  • Seeking the discharge of an employee under a union-security agreement for failure to pay a fine levied by the union.

I hope that helped. Please ask any follow-up questions. Please rate my answer so that I may be credited or my time. I thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Expert:  Attorney2020 replied 10 months ago.

I hope that helped. Please ask any follow-up questions. Please rate my answer so that I may be credited or my time. I thank you in advance for your cooperation.

I hope that helped. Please ask any follow-up questions. Please rate my answer so that I may be credited or my time. I thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Expert:  Attorney2020 replied 10 months ago.

Did you need any additional information?