My name isXXXXX'm a licensed attorney and registered nurse. I mention the health care aspect just to say that I have worked on many jobs in such settings and am sensitive to the type of scenario you've described. I am honestly sorry for your circumstances, very much appreciate your patronage, and am glad to try and help out.
Here's how this works. Yes, in my estimation you certainly have good reason to pursue the matter. Once you've exhausted your grievance process, there are a couple of things you can explore. I present these options for your consideration. The decision how to proceed rests in your discretion, but here is what's available to you.
Pertaining to the union, your case falls under the coverage of a federal law called the National Labor Relations Act, (sometimes also referred to as the Wagner Act, named for its sponsor, New York Senator Robert F. Wagner), Pub.L. 74–198, 49 Stat. 449, codified as amended at 29 U.S.C. §§ 151–169. The federal agency created by this law and charged with investigating such matters is the National Labor Relations Board, as you mentioned. Complaints are handled by the applicable Regional Office. To find yours, here is a free directory tool (please just click the following link):
Find Your Regional Office
Contact information is listed on the upper right hand side of each web page. There is no charge for filing your complaint.
Here's a free form to use:
NLRB Form 508 - Charge Against Labor Organization or its Agents
When it comes to your employer, this would entail having your matter evaluated for a tort law cause of action such as defamation. There are some instances where going forward without legal counsel is a viable option. This is not one of them, however, and in all candor communication from a pro se (unrepresented) party will receive barely more than a passing glance, to be brutally honest. I would have the case screened on the merits by a plaintiffs' trial attorney. If an attorney accepts the case pursuant to the customary contingency fee agreement there would be no up-front charges to you. Rather, your legal counsel would only get paid out of the proceeds of a verdict or settlement if he or she were successful in obtaining a favorable outcome and winning the case on your behalf. This can only be done through having a lawyer review your circumstances, meaning it cannot be done in this online informational venue. In other words, you have done all you can do, your next step at this juncture is to confer with legal counsel, but the good news is that process is entirely free of charge to you.
I can only imagine what a stressful and trying time this is for you, so please believe me I mean it when I say I am glad to say there is a way to seek justice without having the burden of trying to pay attorneys' fees . To help folks in this online venue, I am required to follow site rules including refraining from accepting cases and/or making direct referrals to named attorneys. However, I can tell you where I would turn were I in your very shoes. Toward that end, my very next step would be to take advantage of the resources of the non-profit, American Bar Association accredited, National Board of Trial Advocacy Division of the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification. Here is a listing of all such Board Certified Civil Trial Advocates practicing in the applicable jurisdiction (please just click the following link):
If you have a follow-up question or need clarification, please just say the word by using "reply" to reach me.
I truly hope all works out for you.