Make Haste Slowly

tl;dr I won, but I’m not back yet.

A couple days ago I received notice that AT&T was requesting more time to evaluate their appeal to the judge’s decision; an extra 28 days which would carry us into mid-August. Absent the Company’s appeal, I should by rights have been returned to work fairly quickly and earning my livelihood while the back-pay gets straightened out; alas, not to be – yet.

In an NLRB case like mine, a trial takes place and an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) makes the determination if an unfair labor practice was committed. The ALJ is the sole “finder-of-fact” and he is also the sole determinant of witness credibility; the ALJ’s decisions in these areas are seldom questioned in appeal. The ALJ also makes conclusions of law, and who may have violated it. Any or all of these conclusions may be appealed to the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C. (Usually hundreds of these are reviewed each year by a panel of 3-5 members.) These appeals are called “exceptions” and any party may file them.

It is likely that the ALJ will grant the extension of time for filing exceptions that AT&T requested, since the case was quite complicated. I am hopeful that my quick return and make-whole award are not part of AT&T’s exceptions to the ALJ’s ruling. Don’t laugh! There were some wonky privacy policy issues in one of the charges that AT&T flew a senior VP in from Dallas to explain to the judge, to no avail. That is almost certainly one of AT&T’s concerns with the ruling, but may not affect my return.

Some friends asked me about arbitration(s) in my case and where that is in this whole shebang. Yes, there are five arbitrations held by the union at this time. Because I was terminated (unlawfully!) before the expiration of the Midwest contract between AT&T and CWA District 4, I retain rights to those arbitrations. There is a chance they may not be necessary, depending on the Company’s exceptions filing; so it’s back to the waiting game. But waiting as a winner.

Of course it is disappointing to see my return delayed. But, I am not discouraged. Keep standing up and watch out for each other. Especially your stewards. I’ll keep updating with new info and documents as they are filed; below is the electronic filing by Company asking for more time (highlighting mine). Click here to read the ruling; good stuff starts on page 35.

 

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