Understanding the Duty of Fair Representation: We Do It Best!Table of Contents
Experienced stewards will tell you that there are countless categories of both grievants and grievances. There is the habitual grievant who always seems to have a bone to pick with the boss; the timid grievant who wants to grieve, but is afraid of what the boss will say; aggressive grievants who not only want to pursue their grievances to the hilt, but will add any details necessary to strengthen their case, proven or not. Then there is the contrast between the loyal union member who grieves to protect his or her livelihood and family after being suddenly laid-off, and the non-union "fair-share" employee who wants to file a grievance "just to see what the union will do about it." The list can go on and on. Just ask any longtime AFSCME steward for a "war story" or two and you'll hear the remarkable variety, first-hand.
Whether your grievant or grievance fits into any particular category or not, there is one important thing to remember: Your course of action in any grievance case will be determined by the merits of the grievance, and not by the merits of the grievant. It is when the latter becomes a determining factor in grievance handling that a breach of the duty of fair representation (DFR) suit can occur.