The month of November has revealed a surge of union activity at the JTDC, with union officials advancing 25 cases to Step 4 of the contractual grievance procedure; 13 of which were processed because the agency failed to give a response at Step 3. “When we can’t solve these internal issues within Steps 1 through 3, not only does the morale of the unit suffer, but potentially so do the pockets of the taxpayer,” said Assistant Chief Steward Tristan Villalobos.
Teamsters Local 700 has been victorious in every case taken to arbitration to date at the JTDC, with wins such terminations reversed, suspension days returned and controversial policies such as the “High Call-off Policy” being rescinded.
Arbitration costs are split between the Union and the Employer. However, those proceedings come at a higher cost to the Employer, as they are responsible for any monetary judgments awarded to the grievant. Each award may vary and is legally binding. In cases where a member was found to be wrongfully terminated or suspended, the arbitrator may order a “make whole award.” When that happens, the member is ordered to be “made whole” by having his or her salary, benefit time and seniority reinstated to them.
In those instances, the totality of the cost associated with the case may amount to tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars, depending on the duration of the termination or suspension, the operating costs to cover any prolonged staff shortage created as a result of the loss, the monetary award and arbitration fees.