UMN Attendance Policy Challenged and Admonished
Local 320's battle with the University of Minnesota regarding its application of the sick leave Attendance Guidelines continues, and the Union has won its first arbitration in what appears to be a precedent-setting victory.
“This is a major win against the Attendance Guidelines we have fought against for the last several years,” says Curt Swenson. “The University citing its Attendance Guidelines does not supersede Teamsters’ rights to Just Cause for discipline under our contract.”
Terrence Foy, the arbitrator, stated the following:
If an employee was terminated solely on the basis of using approved accrued sick leave, this Arbitrator concurs with other arbitrators that [...]
Attendance Guidelines used “unplanned absences” as a basis for disciplining an employee for using sick leave provided by the contract and could not be used as a basis for disciplining bargaining members.
The disciplinary formula in the Guideline cannot be used as a substitute for Just Cause in order to impose disciplinary action.
The arbitrator added that if discipline is no longer in a grievant’s personnel file, then it cannot be used to further discipline the grievant.
Arbitrator Foy cites other Teamsters Local 320 arbitrations at Saint Paul Public Schools where the Local Union was successful in fighting unjust discipline for a misguided attendance policy identical to the University’s attendance policy.
“We are aware that it has been a long, drawn-out battle with the University to bring justice to the grievants who were unfairly disciplined by the Attendance Guidelines,” Says Brian Aldes. “The University has dragged its feet at every opportunity during this process, but we will continue to fight for justice and fairness for University Teamsters until those Attendance Guidelines are no longer used as basis for discipline.”
Decision and Award of Arbitrator BMS Case No. 18-PA-0798.pdf