Friday, February 19, 2021

The number one reason not to have a labor union

You would think that an employee who purposely defecates on the workplace floor in an act of revenge against his boss and then brags about it is worthy of termination. And you'd be correct 100 percent of the time … unless that employee is a member of a labor union. An arbitration board cited the employee's lengthy, faithful service record to the company and other mitigating circumstances in reinstating him. 

As a result, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that it had no choice but to uphold the arbitrators' decision and deny the employer's request to overturn the ordered reinstatement.

[T]he question is not whether the arbitrator erred, clearly erred, or even grossly erred in interpreting the contract; it is simply "whether they interpreted the contract." … We share the district court’s bewilderment at the Board’s conclusion that a company cannot fire someone for purposefully defecating on company property. Even so, we cannot review the merits. Precedent limits us to asking if the Board is "arguably construing or applying the contract and acting within the scope of [its] authority." We conclude that the Board applied the governing CBA and acted within the scope of its authority

The number one reason employers should oppose union organizing efforts is not higher wages, seniority systems, or union benefit plans. It's the fact that union contacts impose "just cause" obligations on employers for termination, and further grant employees grievance and arbitration rights over termination decisions. As this case points out, labor arbitrators can have an odd sense of industrial justice, and most often employers are left without appeal rights or further remedies.

For more on what you should be doing now to ready your workplace to combat a union organizing campaign, click here.  

* Image by ❤️ Remains Healthy ❤️ from Pixabay