Can a teacher who left the DOE before the date set in the UFT contract to obtain retroactive pay maintain a class action against the union based on the union’s failure to represent this group of teachers fairly?

No. Under the terms of the Memorandum of Agreement (the Collective Bargaining Agreement) entered into between the UFT and the DOE provisions were made for retirees and currently employed teachers to obtain retroactive pay for the period between the last day of the previous contract in 2009 and the new agreement. No provision was made for teachers who resigned during this period and were not actively employed on the contract date.

Four teachers who neither retired nor were terminated but resigned their positions during this period sought to maintain a class action against the union for its breach of its duty of fair representation.

Donna Mills, Justice of the New York Supreme Court, found that the teachers had no legal basis to maintain the case in State court but rather the teachers had a right to maintain an improper practice charge, under the Taylor Law, before PERB.

N.B. Given PERB’s short statute of limitations it is doubtful whether the teachers could maintain such a proceeding in PERB.

2015 NY Slip Op 31363(U),DIANNA MORTON, GRANT TEDALDI, CARLY MASSEY, and JOY BEIDER, Plaintiffs, v. MICHAEL MULGREW, as President of THE NEW YORK UNITED FEDERATION OF TEACHERS, LOCAL 2, AFT, AFL-CIO, Defendant. Docket No. 652211/2014, Motion Sequence No. 1. Supreme Court, New  York County. April 21, 2015.

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