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The Union Leader

News & Notes for Our Valued Clients

Unions-America.com November 2018

NLRB RAISES 'FAIR DUTY' STANDARD - Somewhat quietly, the National Labor Relations Board's General Counsel recently issued an "internal directive" regarding the duty of fair representation that could impact unions under the NLRB's purview nationwide.

The "duty of fair representation" is, of course, one of the fundamental requirements unions have to their members. We're talking about decades of case law and complicated legalese, but over the years the NLRB has typically found that "mere negligence" alone in representing a member does not make a union guilty of violating the duty of fair representation standard.

But the new NLRB directive toughens the agency's perspective on this issue. Specifically, the directive states " ... the union should be required to show the existence of established, reasonable procedures or systems in place to track grievances." In other words, there's a greater onus on unions to make sure each and every grievance is tracked from filing to adjudication.

Fortunately, as a Unions-America client, you have the perfect tool available to ensure you're meeting this new, beefed up NLRB requirement. Our GrievTrac system is a modern, digital, full-service grievance tracking toolkit. No more shuffling paper into piles of folders - although you can print any form you need at any time. Read more about GrievTrac in our product feature below ... and here's a link that explains more details on the NLRB directive.

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'ALL POLITICS IS LOCAL' - Former U.S. House Speaker Tip O'Neill is the person most closely associated with the "local politics" phrase, although most historians agree an Associated Press bureau chief likely coined the cliché in 1932. No matter, but with the 2018 mid-term elections behind us, the truth behind the thought still rings clear for labor unions.

In that regard, let's look past the national scene - that's been covered ad nauseum on the national news. For public employees in particular, from the perspective of the Janus decision anyway, it doesn't much matter who controls Congress, that Supreme Court decision isn't going away.

What does matter, and what makes the Nov. 6 results so important, are the protections state legislatures can provide in light of Janus. Again, they can't make it disappear, but states do have authority to soften the consequences. For example, a Pennsylvania state representative wants to codify elements of Janus into Pennsylvania state law. Additionally, state Rep. Kate Klunk (R-York County) wants to add legislation that would require public employers to include a notice each pay period that paying union dues and being in a union is not a requirement in union-represented agencies. Other state representatives and state senators in other states are busy hatching similar plans.

Therefore, the fact that so many labor-friendly lawmakers were elected at state levels Tuesday night could very well prove to be more important over the next two years than the changes in Congress. Union members must now be diligent to communicate with these newly elected state officials and remind them who helped get them elected - unfortunately, state legislatures nationwide are littered with "union friendlies" (from both parties) who mysteriously forget once sworn into office. We can't afford any more slippage.

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NEWSLETTERS ARCHIVED ONLINE - Are you new to receiving and/or reading our monthly newsletter, and are wondering what you've missed this year? Was there a particular article from a couple of months ago you now wish you could go back and revisit?

We've made it simple for you to go back and view earlier editions of the Union Leader. They have a new, permanent home on our www.unions-america.com website. Just go to the site, hover over the "About Us" tab and you'll see all of 2018's newsletters archived in one handy spot. We've had many people over the course of the year ask to have a certain article re-sent - now, everything is in one place ready and waiting when you need it!

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CONTACT US - Our customer service center is always ready to assist you. We have professional support staff trained to get you answers and/or help you through an issue as quickly as possible. E-mail us at support@UnionActive.com or call (888) 248-5557, Ext. 3.

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PRODUCT FEATURE - As mentioned at the top, the new directive from the NLRB's General Counsel makes this an opportune time for you to consider our Unions-America GrievTrac grievance tracking system.

GrievTrac allows you to efficiently research, collaborate, share, archive, and directly facilitate the grievance process online. It's safe and secure: connect using SSL encryption for secure transmission of grievance information. Member data is encrypted for even more security.

You can access grievance information from any computer, tablet or mobile device. Quickly view the most current grievances in a list format, show only open grievances, only closed grievances, grievances that are coming up for review, or grievances within a specific date period all with the click of a button. Keyword search all grievance data or specific data fields quickly and easily. And it's not like you have to "start over," as you can upload old scanned paper files into GrievTrac.

Other highlights include:

* Detailed database of grievance information

* Complete date tracking

* Email or text notification of important grievance review dates

* Detailed searching and filtering options for grievance research

* Upload PDF, Word, Excel, or any type of supporting documents

Perhaps most importantly, using GrievTrac assures your union meets the new grievance tracking standards outlined in the NLRB General Counsel's directive.

For further details, a demonstration video, pricing information and more, go to the "Data" tab at www.unions-america.com or directly to www.grievtrac.com.

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