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My Union is not really helping what can I do?

Bell Gardens, CA |

About 8 months ago I was terminated for violating an article of the master agreement (contract). The union keeps giving me the run arounds, I call my agent and give him details of other people still employed for the same thing I was terminated for, he says that I can't use them. I've given the agent evidence after evidence and still turns it down, he just says that that stuff won't help me. When I brought up two specific people he got upset, I later found out that those two people were shopstewarts. He also said that all they can do is wait for my arbitration and what ever happens, happens. Is this Union misrepresentation? What can I do, please help.

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Attorney answers 3


You are in a tough spot. Unions can make or break you, and they are not required to treat all members equally. Consider yourself fortunate that the Union is even taking steps to go through the grievance arbitration process.

This is practical advice, not legal advice. Kill your union rep with kindness, tell him how much your job means to you and your family, and ask him what you can do to make his job easier and help you win the case. For example, ask him what legal standard you must meet in order to get your back or change the termination to a lesser punishment. That rule or standard will inform the best way to present your case to the arbitrator.

Best regards,

David A. Mallen

David A. Mallen offers answers on Avvo for general information only. This offer of free, general answers is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. If you need specific advice regarding your legal question, you should consult an attorney confidentially. Many experienced California labor and employment attorneys, including David A. Mallen offer no-risk legal consultations to employers and employees at no charge. David A. Mallen is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, as well as the California Labor Commissioner and the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. Failure to take legal action within the time periods prescribed by law could result in the loss of important legal rights and remedies.


Hire private counsel if the CBA allows you to use own counsel.

Herbert Tan, Esq.

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There are no facts in your post that would suggest you have any legal rights outside of the collective bargaining agreement that you can assert. Therefore, you are stuck with your union representation in the dispute resolution process called for under the CBA. It would be very unusual for you to be able to hire independent counsel to represent you in the arbitration process but if the CBA allows for such, you should consider that. Otherwise, simply continue to be an active part of your claim without becoming an irritant. The one thing you have been told is probably true - you need to simply wait for your arbitration. That can take some time.

You have listed the practice area of the post as "wrongful termination." While the common understanding of that term is that you lost your job for incorrect or unfair reasons, that is not the legal definition. Legally, you are wrongfully terminated only if the motivation of the termination was in violation of a fundamental public policy of the state. Termination because of an alleged violation of the master agreement is not a motivation in violation of public policy.

Good luck to you.

This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.