LCW Partner Adrianna Guzman Convinces Union Steward That He Could Not Allege Facts To Support His UPC

CATEGORY: Public Education Matters
CLIENT TYPE: Public Education
DATE: Nov 01, 2023

Around November 2022, a District installed GPS systems in all its vehicles to monitor vehicle emissions and to identify safety or maintenance issues.  The District had notified the Union local a month prior that the GPS program would also provide information about driver performance and would trigger corrective action for any employee-drivers who violated the District’s vehicle use policy.  After meeting and conferring, the parties reached an agreement.

Early in 2023, the GPS program indicated that one employee – a Union steward — had a seatbelt violation of 15% during a three-month period.  The Union steward received an oral warning that continued violations of the seatbelt policy could result in the loss of a “safety day” – a cash reward equivalent to nine hours’ pay or a day off for having a full year without a safety violation.

The Union steward filed an unfair practice charge (UPC) with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) that alleged that the District violated the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (MMBA) by retaliating against him for his protected activities as a Union steward.  Notably, the Union itself did not file the UPC on the Union steward’s behalf.  However, the Union steward subsequently designated a Union organizer to serve as his representative in the matter.

Following LCW’s submission of the District’s response, which identified numerous deficiencies in the UPC, the PERB Regional Attorney issued the Union steward’s representative a warning letter.  The warning letter explained that the UPC did not: describe any protected activities that the Union steward had participated in; or include a statement demonstrating how his protected activities were causally related to the oral warning about seatbelt violations.  The warning letter allowed the Union steward a limited time to file an amended charge.

Although the Union steward timely attempted to withdraw the UPC himself, his designated representative did not.  The PERB Regional Attorney spoke with the representative by telephone, followed up with two telephone messages, and emailed.  When the representative did not formally withdraw by the deadline, the Regional Attorney dismissed the UPC based on all the reasons in the warning letter.


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