(This article was first reported in the February 2018, Local Newsletter)
Written by: Kathy Kustner, Clerk Craft Director of APWU, SJAL #0526
Article 17, Section 3 requires the Employer to provide for review all documents, files, and other records necessary in processing a grievance.
Article 31, Section 3 requires that the Employer make available for inspection by the Unions all relevant information necessary for collective bargaining or the enforcement, administration or interpretation of this Agreement.
Under 8a(5) of the National Labor Relations Act it is an Unfair Labor Practice for the Employer to fail to supply relevant information for the purpose of collective bargaining.
Grievance processing is an extension of the collective bargaining process. As per the National Labor Relations Memo, from Doug A. Tulino, Vice President, Labor Relations, which was sent to:
ALL MANAGERS AND SUPERVISORS
Responding to Information Requests
When you receive a request for information from a union representative, you must act promptly after receiving the request. There is no specific time target, but a good rule of thumb for routine requests to respond within five days of receiving the request. Do not wait until you have all the information if some can be supplied quickly, but other information will take much longer to provide. If you need assistance in responding to a request, immediately contact District Labor Relations for help.
Do not ignore requests or assume that that you can wait a week or two to work on the request before responding.
What this means is the SDO has to answer your request within this time frame. The SDO cannot write “COMPLETE” across the face of the RFI, when what the SDO answered is anything but complete. Every item you request has to be answered, or the SDO has to give you a reason of when it will be answered Management has no problem issuing the discipline to everyone, but they sure do not want to have to answer for their actions.
If your RFI is not answered, it is “Negative Inference”, which means it was not answered because it would prove the Union’s case. If you have an absence of requested evidence, this is “Adverse inference”. Which means that if Management does not answer your Request for Information in full and a timely manner, you must file a separate Grievance under Articles 17.3 & 31.3 for their failure to do so. And you have to use this fact in your Step One for the Grievance you requested the information for, to have the discipline be expunged for Management is now bargaining in bad faith.