Union officers and reps are also are also assigned work in their appropriate dept. Management takes very good care of them, as far as easy job assignments, special privilege's, ect. In return the officers protect management, ignore and assist in blatant work assignment health issues ( assigned the same physical activity over and over disregarding the company's own ergonomic job rotation rules) , assisting company in harassing older male employees with health issues by not assisting them or not even acknowledging the violations of federal law. Instead of assisting the employees targeted for abuse, union officers will actually be the accusers of false faults against employees to help the company rail road middle age males out the door.
It is very difficult to hold a union liable for refusing representation, and even more difficult to obtain an order to compel union action. The law takes the view that the union has the right to determine how best to expend its power and resources and credibility, and that the union has the best ability to determine what is in the best interests of the workforce collectively -- and that collective benefit is the union's core obligation.
The sole potentially productive legal ground for challenging a union's refusal of representation is where the refusal to serve is allegedly based on race, gender, religion or other protected classifications. Very likely age is a protected classification in these circumstances, but it is among the most difficult to prove with admissible evidence. The time limit for bringing a legal action against an employee union is very narrow, and there are relatively few attorneys who handle such cases (compared to the size of the pool of employment rights attorneys in general). But this is not a DIY project, so you will need to find and consult counsel.
You may want to consult with a local discrimination attorney about whether you have any claims or rights of action against your employer that do not require the pre-requisite of union action.
Take a copy of your collective bargaining with you in any consultation on these issues.
Christine McCall, License Advocates Law Group
Most unions try to do the right thing and obtain justice. Sometimes “justice” does not help an individual employee. One reason is that unions have their primary obligation to the entire group of job classifications the union represents; that group is called the “bargaining unit.” Unions have the right to decide whether to pursue a case or not.
Most local unions have limited money and staff resources so they must pick and choose which cases to pursue. Unions have to balance the need for more money (to hire more union reps or to take more cases to arbitration, for example) with the bargaining unit’s resistance to higher dues. This is similar to elected officials who must always balance constituents’ wishes with the need to raise taxes.
Some union reps are highly effective; others are incompetent, just as some attorneys and politicians are incompetent. Many local labor unions are run by volunteers. Many union representatives are full-time employees of the employer so do much of their union work on their own time, especially evenings and weekends. Only some unions have enough money to reimburse their reps for missed work hours, such as when handling a grievance. Only some unions have the strength to negotiate “lost time” with the employer, where the employer has to pay the rep’s wages when the rep is handling grievances; this time is usually limited to a low number of hours.
Nearly all elected and appointed union officers start out as rank-and-file workers. They may be elected due to work competence, seniority, intelligence, charm, good looks, having a big mouth, blustering, oratory skills, etc. – just like politicians. There is a range of skills and a range of experience among them. Most unions provide some training for officers and stewards, but others don’t have the resources to do so. The quantity and quality of training can vary widely.
If a union employee wants to pursue a claim against the union, there is a six month time limit, called a statute of limitation, in which to file a lawsuit in federal court claiming a violation of 29 U.S.C. section 301 or file an unfair labor practice charge with a federal agency, the National Labor Relations Board. There is a high hurdle for successful claims against unions. A union must have acted arbitrarily, discriminatorily or in bad faith – far beyond negligence. These cases are very difficult to win.
If the workplace problem is based on a statute, such as any of the laws prohibiting on-the-job discrimination or protecting whistleblowers then a private attorney may be able to help. If the workplace problem is due to the employer’s dissatisfaction with work or conduct, the remedy is probably limited to going through the union.
One of the best sources for information about unions and their relationships with the workers they represent is the Association for Union Democracy (AUD) . You may want to visit the AUD website and see if there is anything helpful there.
Finally, one thing to consider is that even with faults, unions are the only thing standing between any worker and the employer’s ability to do whatever it wants. Without unions, there is no organized opposition to corporate efforts to take away workers’ rights. It is no coincidence that as union membership has declined, so have on-the-job benefits such as health insurance and pensions.
All your life, you’ve heard “there is strength in numbers.” You hear it because it is true. The best way to make a union stronger and better-able to help all workers is to participate in its work. Read the collective bargaining agreement (contract). Attend union meetings, ask questions and think about what is happening at the workplace. Help your union help you.
I think this was asked earlier in the que. There were two answers. Mine was:
You should consult with an experienced employment law attorney in your area. This seems to be excessive, but you may have rights under the policies of your employer and the union.
Generally, you will not be able to recover for hostile work place unless it is related to a protected class. You have a lot going on in the scenario and the best advice anyone can give you is to seek legal representation and get this matter resolved as soon as possible to save your health, both physical and mental!
in addition Attorney McCall from Pasadena California answered. You should look through the answers and check her's out. She was very concise!
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