If I'm ever sued, this site will go up for sale for the amount of damages sought, along with posting any documents I receive. If you think you can copyright a letter you send to me, go for it.
I'm still learning about blog design and I've found a problem when viewing this blog. It does not behave properly in small browser windows and if your display resolution is less than 1280 pixels wide and/or you are viewing the blog in a window less than 980 pixels blog wide, the right side bar is pushed below any visible post. I've searched the web and looked at the code for hours but can't find the problem. My next step, when I get the time, is to recreate the blog with a new template. Advice is appreciated.

Monday, June 8, 2009

"I'm Stupid & Incompetent" Defense

I'll recap the story. I was fired from my job at First Transit, Longmont, Colorado back in January, not because I was a disciplinary problem (model employee) but because I had the audacity to get very ill - $300,000 in medical bills had nothing to do with the decision.

I was a member, in good standing, of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1001 and paid my dues for over two years, even when I was out sick with no paycheck. I was a great little union soldier, although I will admit that when the organizers came around with their hands out, I always asked what they were going to do for me and refused to donate a penny beyond my dues.

After I was fired, I figured as long as I was paying dues, I might as well talk to the boys down at the union hall. Surprise, I was told "If the company fired you, they must have had a legal reason and what do you think we can do about it?" Well, duh - represent me, isn't that what I paid for?

It's another story but I contend that the company violated my Collective Bargaining Agreement, FMLA and possibly some EEOC laws. That will all be decided at some time in the future but the point is, my union DID WORSE THAN NOTHING, they first lied to me and then scoffed at my claims for reasons I still haven't determined. Perhaps old white guys just are unimportant.

I suppose I could have let it drop and started after the company but here's how I see it. The company paid me for the privilege of screwing me - I had to pay the union! When I have to prostitute myself at least let's get the transactions correct.

I learned about "Failure To Represent" as defined under the National Labor Relations Act and filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. I already knew I had little chance of success, the standards a union must meet are very low, and I wanted nothing from the union - it's the members money.

As expected, the regional board eventually met and decided that the union's conduct did not rise to the level necessary to proceed with a NLRB action. Although I could have appealed, I decided to withdraw my complaint at that point. I believe that the NLRB treated me fairly given the constraints they operate under.

I wasn't allowed to see the union's answers (it was a thick file :-) to my complaint (it's private until an action is filed) but in my dealing with the union, it's obvious they used the "Stupid and Incompetent" defense, "How can you possibly expect us to understand when a member is illegally terminated? Investigate and see if the member's complaint has merit? Naw - too busy drinking coffee, scratching my butt and playing on the internet" It's interesting to note that the union attorney, lawyer Jones, was not even consulted until AFTER I had filed a complaint with the NLRB but I suppose if you're going to use "Stupid and Incompetent", you've got to go all the way.

It's a shame that "Stupid and Incompetent" are legitimate defenses to "Failure to Represent" but it is what it is.

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