ARE UNION REPS JUST TOO THOUGHTLESS TO DO THIS?
For the umpteenth time we have yet another case where the union’s own incompetence destroyed their ability to win a grievance. In this case, the agency changed some employees’ working conditions by contracting out their work without notifying the union in advance. The union responded by filing a grievance alleging a violation of the contract’s Articles 33 and 36 obligations to notify the union before doing so. When the grievance went before an arbitrator, the union won. And there you have it, i.e., total unquestionable incompetence by yet another union. If you do not see the blunder you could turn to this, or this, or this where we reported similar screw-ups. But if you want a faster answer read on.
Given that Trump has stuffed the FLRA with appointees whose sole mission is to screw over employees and their unions, no one should be surprised that when the agency appealed the union’s arbitration victory to FLRA, the Trumpettes found a way to overturn the decision, thereby tossing yet another union win onto the trash heap of political decision-making. FLRA decisions on grievances involving only allegations of contract violation are final, biding and may not be appealed to court. That permits the political appointees to do whatever they want to do with those grievances no matter what law, ethics and morality indicate is right.
However, if the union had alleged an unfair labor practice charge in the grievance, Trump’s FLRA appointees’ decision could have been appealed to the federal courts, which still seems to issue politically neutral decisions on FLRA matters. For example, if the union had grieved not just violations of the contract articles, but also 5 USC 7116(a)(1) and (5), which are statutory obligations to notify the union before making a change, they could have ignored the Trumpettes anti-employee bias and sought a more neutral review.
Given how often this mistake is made by unions and how much damage it is doing members every national union leader should notify local and regional reps that they must always allege a ULP when filing a grievance. Ditto for local officers notifying their stewards. These unforced union errors are costing members thousands of dollars in back pay. If you want some details on just how to fit a ULP into almost any grievance on earth read our posting, “How a Grievance Can Also Always Be a ULP.” MEMBERS EDESERVE BETTER FROM US.