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Union pact overlaps with state law? Grievance comes first

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in Human Resources

Are you a union employer with a collective-bargaining agreement that touches on labor issues also covered by the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act (MFLSA)? Then employees can’t go directly to court without first pursuing a union grievance.

Recent case: John Zupancich tried to sue U.S. Steel on behalf of himself and other employees over alleged MFLSA violations. He claimed that employees weren’t paid for the time between clocking in and getting to their workstations. But the union contract covered the practice.

The court dismissed the case, concluding that Zupancich should have grieved the issue first so an arbitrator could decide whether the union contract gave employees greater rights than the MFLSA. (Zupancich v. United States Steel, No. 08-5847, DC MN, 2009)

Final note:
This case means fewer potential class-action lawsuits.

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