When a complaint concerning a bargaining unit member’s employment is not resolved through the negotiated grievance process, a union or agency can decide to take the case to arbitration. With arbitration, an independent third-party, referred to as the arbitrator, assesses the evidence presented by both parties outside of court and delivers a legally binding judgment.
Grievance arbitration procedures may vary between unions, depending on their contracts. Usually, unions can choose to be represented at arbitration by a retained union attorney. By retaining a labor law attorney, unions can rest assured they will be represented by someone dedicated solely to protecting their rights and negotiating a settlement with their best interests in mind.
First Steps in Fighting Proposed Discipline
When an employee is confronted with a proposed disciplinary action he or she has a number of decisions to make. At the proposal stage the employee can contact his or her union or an attorney. Once the reply is submitted and an agency decision is issued, the employee has additional choices to make. If the disciplinary action is less than a 15-day suspension, the employee should bring the case to the union. The union can recommend that the employee file a grievance or alternatively recommend the EEO route, if discrimination is involved.
If the disciplinary action is over 14 days, the employee can opt to file a grievance, which is handled under the union’s collective bargaining agreement. If a grievance is not filed, the employee can ask the union to file a MSPB appeal. In the case of a grievance, only the union can agree to have a union attorney for the employee or allow the employee to retain his or her own private attorney at the employee’s expense. In the case of a MSPB appeal, the union can retain an attorney for the employee. However, unlike a grievance, employees who choose to go to the MSPB always retain the right to pursue the MSBP appeal on their own with their own privately retained attorney.
How We Can Help
The grievance arbitration lawyers at Tully Rinckey PLLC in Washington, D.C. are experienced in arbitrating a variety of grievances for unions and bargaining unit members. Tully Rinckey PLLC will aggressively represent unions and bargaining unit members in arbitration or unfair labor practices, collective bargaining agreement violations and adverse actions such as suspensions or removals.
Fighting A Disciplinary Action
The employee can choose to file either an appeal with the MSPB or a grievance if the action is a suspension over 14 days or one of a series of “adverse actions.” For discipline that is 14 days or less a grievance may be filed by employee, as the MSPB is generally not available.
The Arbitration Process
Grievances not Addressed by Arbitration
If your union’s leadership decides not to file a grievance on an employee’s behalf, bargaining unit members can appeal adverse action, personnel actions to the Merit System Protection Board. Tully Rinckey PLLC’s union attorneys in Washington, D.C. can help bargaining unit members with their MSPB appeals.
Tully Rinckey PLLC’s federal sector employment and labor law attorneys are also capable of representing bargaining unit members in legal matters that might fall outside their union agreement’s grievance procedures or that are handled by other federal entities, such as Hatch Act violations and whistleblower retaliation (Office of Special Counsel, OSC), discrimination complaints, (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC), and security clearance denials/revocations (Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals, DOHA).
Tully Rinckey PLLC’s federal labor law attorneys in Washington, D.C. can represent federal sector unions and their members in arbitration anywhere in the country. Call today to schedule a meeting with one of our grievance arbitration attorneys at 202-787-1900 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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