Thursday, July 23, 2015

The employee must be a member of the collective bargaining unit represented by the union in order for the union to file a contract grievance on his or her behalf


The employee must be a member of the collective bargaining unit represented by the union in order for the union to file a contract grievance on his or her behalf
New York City Transit Auth. v Transport Workers Union of Greater N.Y. Local 100, 2015 NY Slip Op 06042, Appellate Division, First Department

The Transport Workers Union of Greater New York Local 100 [TWU] filed a contract interpretation grievance against the New York City Transit Authority [TA]. TWU contended that under the terms of an article, Article §5.2(j), set out in the relevant  collective bargaining agreement [CBA], certain bus maintenance employees who had trained in TWU’s Divisional area in Brooklyn and who were, following training, initially assigned to Staten Island despite their preference for an initial assignment location in Brooklyn because no other positions were available in Brooklyn at that time, were entitled to "transfer" back to Brooklyn when a new class of such employees graduated from training.

When TA denied the grievance, TWU scheduled arbitration. TA brought an Article 75 proceeding seeking a permanent stay of the arbitration. Supreme Court granted TA’s motion to permanently stay arbitration. TWU appealed but the Appellate Division unanimously affirmed the Supreme Court’s ruling.

The Appellate Division explained that TWU lacked standing to bring the grievance as it did not represent bus maintenance employees working in Staten Island. Rather, said the court, Staten Island employees were represented by Amalgamated Transit Union Local 726 [ATU]. Accordingly, the employees on whose behalf TWU had filed the grievance were not represented by TWU and TWU could not bring "contract interpretation grievance" involving §5.2(j)  of the CBA on their behalf.

Further, said the Appellate Division, the provision in the CBA relied on by TWU, §5.2(j),  applies to employees who were transferred out of its Division due to a lack of work in their title in the Brooklyn Division. Here, however, the individuals on whose behalf TWU had grieved “were not transferred out” of Brooklyn due to a lack of work. Rather these individuals were initially assigned to Staten Island upon completion of their training, which training had been given Brooklyn.

The court said that the fact that these trainees had a exercised a Brooklyn "school pick" for such training did not trigger the provisions of Article §5.2(j), as those individuals were not “employed in their title in Brooklyn.” In the words of the Appellate Division there was “no reasonable relation between the subject matter of the dispute and §5.2(j).

Finally, the Appellate Division commented that TWU's grievance appears to be, in fact, an attempt to enforce a provision of the ATU CBA, on behalf of ATU members, which violates public policy, explaining that so doing risks generating an inconsistent result with a settlement of a similar contract interpretation grievance brought by ATU, on behalf of the ATU members and under the ATU CBA.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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