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Text Messages Do Not Violate Duty Of Fair Representation

Sanja Drinks-Bruder has been employed as a Niagara Falls, New York police officer for approximately 25 years and is represented for bargaining purposes by the Niagara Falls Police Club. On October 20, 2016, at approximately 6:10 a.m., she was sent to the scene of a fatal traffic accident. Despite her repeated requests to be relieved from the assignment, she was forced to work overtime from 7:30 a.m. to 12:15…

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Officer’s Failure To Request Arbitration Dooms Duty Of Fair Representation Claim

Joseph Juisti, who is Caucasian, was hired in or about April 2013 as a police officer for the City of Chester Police Department in Pennsylvania. Juisti worked in this position until January 2018, when he left work due to stress and anxiety stemming from perceived discrimination, retaliation, and harassment. Juisti was represented by the Fraternal Order of Police William Penn Lodge No. 19. During the course of his employment,…

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Failure To Communicate Not Breach Of Duty Of Fair Representation

Kevin Burger is a police officer with the Detroit Transit Police and a member of the Detroit Transit Police Officers Association. The Association is affiliated with the Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM). Burger filed a claim with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission, alleging that the Association and POAM had breached their duty of fair representation, and expressed dissatisfaction in how POAM representatives had communicated with him about an…

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Unions And The Duty Of Fair Representation

A recent Michigan case provides a good case study of the discretion accorded unions in decision-making on grievances and when a union’s decisions implicate or do not implicate the duty of fair representation. The case involved Antoinette Loyd, who works for the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department. Loyd filed an unfair labor practice complaint against her collective bargaining representative, the Wayne County Sheriffs Association, alleging that the Association wrongly declined…

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The Requirements Of The Duty Of Fair Representation

There are perhaps as many misconceptions about the duty of fair representation as any other principle in the public safety workplace. The duty, which is owed to all bargaining unit members, captures a union’s obligation to fairly represent all its members without discrimination. The duty is not, however, a substantive duty, in that it never requires a union to process a grievance to the ultimate level, whether that level…

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Firefighters Union Owes No Duty Of Fair Representation To Acting Chief

An unusual series of events involving Chicago firefighter Paul Foertsch produced a decision involving the scope of a union’s duty of fair representation to employees on acting assignments out of the union’s bargaining unit. The Chicago Fire Fighters Union represents all full-time uniformed members of the Chicago Fire Department below the ranks of Deputy District Chief and Assistant Deputy Chief Paramedics. On June 19, 2017, effective at 8:00 a.m.,…

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Duty Of Fair Representation Does Not Apply To Informal Discussions

Firefighter James Coyle is a dues-paying member of Local 4420 of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), which represents the Pasco County firefighters in Florida. Coyle filed an unfair labor practice (ULP) charge against Local 4420, alleging that he sought assistance from Local 4420 in February and March of 2017 to remedy a pay discrepancy that arose as a result of his transfer to the position of fire…

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Cross-Examination Style Not Breach Of Duty Of Fair Representation

Nancy Newfer is a corporal for Wayne County, Michigan Sheriff’s Department. On November 12, 2016, Newfer and another officer were involved in an incident at the jail. Newfer was interviewed by Internal Affairs Division employees about the incident and signed a statement. The other officer was later discharged; his conduct during the incident played at least some role in his discharge. Newfer was not disciplined. Newfer and the disciplined…

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Fire Union Liable For $200K In Fair Representation Case

When the Stamford, Connecticut Firefighters Association refused to process to arbitration a grievance challenging the termination of firefighter Donald Berg, Berg filed a complaint with the Connecticut Board of Labor Relations. The Board found that not only had Berg’s employer, the Long Ridge Fire Company, discharged him without just cause, but also found that the Association breached its duty of fair representation to Berg by refusing to arbitrate his…

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Fire Union’s Failure To Challenge Discipline Not Breach Of DFR

Richard Kelly, a Ferndale, Michigan firefighter, brought an unfair labor practice charge against his union, Local 812 of the International Association of Fire Fighters. Kelly claimed that the Union’s failure to arbitrate his grievance challenging a reprimand and two-shift suspension violated Local 812’s duty of fair representation. Michigan’s Employment Relations Commission dismissed the ULP complaint. The Commission recited the fact that “a union’s duty of fair representation requires it…

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Federal Courts Have No Authority Over Local Duty Of Fair Representation Claims

Jon Gray had been a deputy sheriff for the City and County of San Francisco for almost ten years when his employment was terminated on October 6, 2008. He later brought a federal court lawsuit against his labor organization, the San Francisco Deputy Sheriff’s Association, claiming the Association violated its duty of fair representation. Gray sought damages in the amount of $1,727,488 as a consequence of having been terminated….

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Bill of Rights Does Not Impose Additional Duty Of Fair Representation

Laurie Bisch is an officer with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Officers in Metro are represented by the Las Vegas Police Protective Association (PPA). In 2008, while Bisch was off duty, her dog bit her daughter’s 17-year-old friend. Bisch took the girl to an urgent care facility for treatment. Unable to contact the girl’s mother and concerned that the urgent care would not provide treatment without a legal…

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Duty Of Fair Representation Claim Against Local Police Union Does Not Belong In Federal Court

Anthony Maio has been a New Haven, Connecticut police officer for 15 years. On April 19, 2008, the Department sent Maio on an unspecified assignment which resulted in two citizens accusing Maio of criminal conduct. On June 4, 2008, Maio was arrested for sexual assault and unlawful restraint. While the criminal matter was pending, Maio was apparently required to give a Garrity statement in an internal investigation. After Maio…

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