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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 116709
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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I have been harassed by one of the union stewards, how is

Customer Question

I have been harassed by one of the union stewards, how is also on our bargaining team, via a email. I sent out an email explaining why the proposed contract needed to continue to be negotiated. I received a harassing email talking about how I'm one of the highest paid employees in the bargaining unit and how Im hurting for money and want a higher raise than what's on the table. Our Union Steward cc 28 employees and union staff on this email and also included my total compensation to try and make his point. Please help.
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: California
JA: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?
Customer: Full time
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Cant think of anything
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 8 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
How is he harassing you other than disagreeing with you in an email wanting the contract negotiated further because you want more money/benefits or whatever?
How many emails has he sent you?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
My email was sent out to a general group as a FYI, informing people what I was experiencing and asking for the bargaining team to go back and ask for more because the new contract was not going to rectify the problem. Please see the attached email. He not only dismissed my concerns but started to harassing me because I make more than most in the unit and that I should be okay with what ever they agree upon. Don't Unions have a duty of Fair representation? He has only sent the one email.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 8 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Legally what you just shared is not something that can be sued over. Just as you have expressed your opinion in your email, as is your right as a union member, he has expressed his opinion.
A common mistake people make about unions is to think that fair representation is the same as equal representation. Unions frequently make deals that hurt a minority of their members in favor of the majority of their members, so representation of the union is certainly not equal. This is an issue many union members do not understand and small classifications in the union sometimes are left out or get a bad deal in exchange for the union making a deal for the majority of their members.
I am sorry, but that one email is not harassment that can be sued over or even filing a grievance over. He has expressed his opinion about the majority and you expressed your opinion and a free exchange of opinions is not harassment when two people disagree with one another according to the courts.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
How is this so? The SEIU Union Steward Training manual states their union stewards have to remain unbiased under all circumstances, to insure equal and fair representation. How can you remain unbiased if you are stating your opinion and trying to attack another employee by posting their compensation to justify your opinion?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 8 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
I understand your position, all I can tell you is what you have presented there is not sufficient for a legal claim of harassment and certainly that there are minorities work groups that get left out in favor of majority work groups. You may have a complaint to your national union for him violating the union bylaws/rules, but legally there is no basis for any actual court suit against him for this.

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