1793 Baltrusaitis, et al. v. UAW Region 1

Case No: 1793

2020

Appellants filed a grievance alleging that the 2011 transfer of Unit 53 employees from the Chrysler Technical Center to the Trenton Engine Complex was the product of collusion between FCA and the Union with the ultimate objective of shifting bargaining unit work to non-bargaining unit employees.  The UAW FCA Department withdrew the grievance after determining that it was untimely.  In this decision, the PRB addresses the two threshold issues in this case: (1) timeliness; and (2) whether the PRB has jurisdiction over a claim such as the one raised by Appellants.  In terms of timeliness, the International Union argues that Appellants had previously filed grievances regarding the transfer of operations.  However, this argument fails to give due regard to the material change in circumstance resulting from the guilty plea entered by FCA’s Director of Labor Relations.  Appellants cannot be considered reasonably aware of the existence of their claim until the guilty plea was made public.

On the question of jurisdiction, Appellants have stated a claim that may fall within the Board’s jurisdiction.  Article 33, §4(i) of the UAW International Constitution requires that appellant “allege . . . that the matter was improperly handled because of fraud, discrimination, or collusion with management” which may apply to a grievance settlement or to the “handling of [an] other issue involving a collective bargaining agreement.”  The language of Article 33, §4(i) does not necessitate that the alleged wrongdoing relate to the grievance-handler, but instead may relate to the underlying subject matter of the grievance.  The PRB generally places the burden to prove the facts necessary to establish the Board’s jurisdiction on the appellant.  In this case, however, the Board finds that Appellants have provided sufficient circumstantial evidence to warrant further investigation into the 2011 transfer of operations.  Accordingly, the PRB directs the International Union to provide answers to specific factual questions regarding the merits of Appellants’ grievance.  This case is continued for further proceedings before the PRB consistent with this decision.