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MShore, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 25285
Experience:  Negotiate, Draft, and Review many complex commercial agreements each year.
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I am a letter carrier for the post office. The post office

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I am a letter carrier for the post office. The post office tried to fire me in April of this year.

The union represented me. The docs that they sent to me were wrong in some facts. I contacted the union for corrections. The union did not contact me.

The union settled the case without any input from me. I was to return to work on October 23, 2010. I called in sick with a back ailment (medical documentation available.)

The union called me back—angry—to say that they changed the return date on the agreement. I am now to return only when cleared by doctors.

#1 I had no input in the original case and disagreed with the settlement. Regardless, I was ordered back to work.

#2 When I called in sick, the union changed the agreement so I was denied sick pay and benefits.
Thank you for the post, I am happy to assist you by answering your questions. What question can I answer for you regarding this matter?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Is the union liable for changing the settlement date from 10/23/2010 to a later date--causing me to lose sick pay and benefits? Hasn't the union, by this delay action overstepped their bounds and my rights and caused me damage to my work reputation and status at work as an innocent victim of postal capricious prosecution and money in pay and benefits from 4/2010 until 1/11?

Thank you Tom, per your union agreement, did the union have the obligation to consult you prior to settling or did you waive participating in settlement talks per the union agreement?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Florida is a "right to work" state. Labor here has few rights. The union has control of all negotiations, but, my question is two-fold--once the settlement is reached; does the union have the right to rewrite the agreement to my detriment? And, I stated to the union that I want arbitration to eliminate this union power of settlement. You see, the union has handled other cases "for me" and they are all alike--the settlement is "no pay or benefits for time out of work and go back to work."

The settlement is not truly reached until a settlement agreement is signed. Was the settlement agreement signed before it was modified? Also Tom, I want you to be clear on what right to work actually means. This law is codified at Article I, Section 6 of the Florida Constitution, and requires that collective bargaining agreements negotiated between labor organizations and employers cannot include the requirement that all employees who work in the covered bargaining units must join the union or be forced to pay union dues. The provision also states that employees in the state have the right to join unions and bargain collectively over wages and working conditions. Further, under this law public employees who work for government agencies and departments may not strike. I offer this because the right to work is commonly misunderstood as the absolute right to receive a wage and right to perform services for such wage, but that is actually not the case.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for the "right to work" information.


To answer your question: I don't know whether it was signed or not. I never saw it. Seeing the document is not offered to us. Evidence of the settlement now rests with my conversation with the union president when he told me of the settlement and my calls in to the "system" to report my absence for medical reasons. There must be a paper trail of that, and union witnesses (the secretary who must handle certain documents and the shop steward who is informed of all such business.

Thank you Tom, you are correct that there is likely a paper trail and the union's counsel (attorney) would have those records. If the agreement was signed, and you were notified that the matter had been settled per that signed agreement, there must be some compelling reason the union can point to that gave rise to a renegotiation of the agreed upon terms, and the new terms must be more favorable to you, else you would have a claim against the union for violation of its fiduciary duty to you. Please let me know if you have any follow up questions.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks again for your opinions. However, this does not answer my query. I already suspected fiduciary failure. I need to know whether to pursue. Only a knowledgeable Florida expert can do that. I believe that you are not in Florida, but use general contract knowledge. Good, but not sufficient.

Tom, yes you should pursue, but by pursue I do not mean file suit because you do not have enough information to determine whether a suit is warranted. You need more information. In order for me or any other attorney to tell you whether to file suit, you need to produce your union agreement to determine what specific duty the union owes you and need to review your case file to determine whether that duty was breached. I know you want absolute/concrete answers, but in order for any attorney to arrive at that end, you need to produce absolute/concrete evidence. To be clear, and I hope this answers your question in light of the degree to which they can be answered given the information you have supplied, yes you should pursue the matter by requesting of your union rep a written statement as to the chronology of events along with a copy of your case file. If they do not produce the same, then consider retaining an attorney to demand the documents on your behalf.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry. This did not get to my goal. I know I will have to pay some local lawyer to get to my goal. Thanks for trying, but this forum is insufficient.

I understand Tom, as you may know from the disclaimer, I am not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains. Please remember to positively rate my service.
MShore, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 25285
Experience: Negotiate, Draft, and Review many complex commercial agreements each year.
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