Union Didn’t Misrepresent Contract to Members

Santa Ana Educators Association (2009) PERB Decision No. 2087-E (Issued on 12/30/09)

This case was brought by a couple of union members dissatisfied with a contract negotiated by their union, the Santa Ana Educators Association (SAEA).  In the contract, SAEA agreed to concessions to which the dissenting union members strongly objected.  They felt the contract was a bad deal and alleged that the SAEA violated its duty of fair representation by agreeing to it.

The fact that some union members objected to a contract is nothing new.  There are always some people who feel the union bargaining team didn’t get enough.  Here, the objecting union members went further and alleged that the union lied to its members in describing the provisions of the proposed contract.  In considering this claim, PERB set forth a test for determining when a union breaches its duty of fair representation by misrepresenting facts to secure a contract ratification.  To establish such a claim, the charging party must show that: “(1) the exclusive representative made an untrue assertion of fact (or conduct equivalent to an untrue assertion of fact); (2) the exclusive representative’s assertion was made with knowledge of its falsity; (3) the exclusive representative’s assertion was made to secure ratification of a contract; and (4) the fact misrepresented must have a substantial impact on the relationships of the unit members to their employer.”

Here, PERB found that those elements were not established and affirmed the dismissal.

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