For over ten years I've been a teamter member paying dues faithfully I got Incarcerated for 24months i filed for a leave of absence my case was dismissed i filed a grevience to be reinstated union rep never processed my grevience I was told I was out to long I argued that they could atleast have processed my paper work let the committee decide my faith but I was never given that chance my rep repeatedly told me there was nothing he could do can I sue the union for not processing my paper work
You can bring suit against anyone for any reason. The bigger question is whether you are likely to succeed in your suit. The answer to that will depend on whether the Union is directed in some contract to process every grievance. Your best bet would be to take any CBA and other agreement between the Union and it's members to a labor attorney in your area for a consultation. He or she should be able to help you evaluate whether or not you have a valid claim.
Most collective bargaining agreements include a time limit on reinstatement and also on how long after an event the union can file a grievance. Without reading the collective bargaining agreement, it's not possible to tell if there was any option open to the union or the committee.
The following assumes your job and union are in the private sector. If it is a public sector workplace, or if you work for a common carrier (railroad or airline), the response would be similar but the legal citations (references) will be different.
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 pursue some grievances and not others; to enforce parts of the collective bargaining agreement (contract) and not others; and to decline to arbitrate even a meritorious grievance based on what it believes is in the best interest of the bargaining unit. Or, the union can make its decision if it feels it does not have adequate resources – financial, personnel or whatever – to warrant going forward.
Because most local unions have limited money and staff resources, they must pick and choose which cases to pursue. They often decide to pursue to the end (arbitrate) only those cases which they feel are the most advantageous to the bargaining unit as a whole. 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 and do much of their union work on their own time, especially evenings and weekends. Only some unions have enough money to reimburse their reps when the reps lose work hours due to handling a grievance or other union business. 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 doing union work; 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.
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* * * www.thespencerlawfirm.com * * * @MikaSpencer * * * PLEASE READ: All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. * * * Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and must not be taken as legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts which are impossible to gather on a public web site like Avvo. * * * No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. * * *
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