1601 Neely v. Region 3

Case No: 1601


The rational basis standard requires a professional approach to making the decision whether to submit a grievance to the Umpire. Part of that approach is doing an adequate investigation of the particular circumstances of the grievance as well as researching prior Umpire decisions to determine the probability of success. The Umpire decisions submitted to us by the International Union do not support a conclusion that nothing short of physical impossibility can be asserted to justify an employee’s failure to reply to a five-day quit letter. While as a general rule the decisions indicate that the requirements of a five-day notice will be applied strictly, the decisions also demonstrate that the Umpire generally evaluates the reasonableness of the employee’s response to a five-day letter. None of the Umpire decisions submitted by the union address the application of Article VIII, §5(4), to discontinue the health insurance coverage of a disabled employee and the union representatives involved in handling Neely’s grievance do not seem to have considered this aspect of the case. The representative’s belief that Umpires strictly apply Article VIII §5(4) appears to have forestalled any further analysis on his part of the underlying facts and the contractual issues raised by those facts. In this respect, his investigation of Neely’s appeal fell short of the rational basis standard we have articulated.