ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

July 24, 2014

2014.07.24: ALAA Rule Applicable to Mass Free Speech Grievance

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2014 12:11 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: ALAA Rule Applicable to Mass Free Speech Grievance

As Azalia Torres pointed out yesterday, ALAA should, on principle, adopt the Mass Free Speech Grievance.

But she is also correct that, under our own rules, official ALAA approval of grievances is not required to file a grievance, but only for submitting it to outside arbitration. (“No grievance will be arbitrated without [the Joint Council’s] approval.” ALAA Bylaws, Art. V, § 1.)

For example, pursuant to this rule:

1. In 2003, Staff Attorney [T] filed an individual grievance to challenge his termination for sending racist and sexist e-mails to a top LAS official. Even though his behavior was indefensible, the grievance went forward until blocked by the union (upon counsel’s advice) in response to his arbitration request.

2. In 2013-2014, ALAA members in Criminal Defense and Civil offices filed two separate grievances concerning the distribution of office space. Although these grievances opposed each other, union leadership did not seek to block either from being filed.

Thus, *requiring* approval of this particular grievance as a precondition of going forward would violate both ALAA’s own Bylaws (above), and its legal duty of fair representation to refrain from “conduct toward a member of the collective bargaining unit is arbitrary, discriminatory, or in bad faith.” Vaca v. Sipes, 386 U.S. 171, 190 (1967).

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