JEFFREY L. MACOMBER Petitioner,
MAINE STATE EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION, SEIU LOCAL 1989 Respondent.
Plaintiff's Attorney Eugene M. Sullivan, Esq.
Defendant's Attorney Thomas Feeley, Esq.
ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR 80C REVIEW
the court is petitioner Jeffrey Macomber's 80C petition
for review of the Executive Director of the Maine Labor
Relation Board's dismissal of Macomber's Prohibited
Practice Complaint. Petitioner is represented by Attorney
Eugene Sullivan. Respondent Maine State Employees Union is
represented by Attorney Thomas Feeley. Oral argument was held
on August 6, 2019. For the following reasons, the 80C
petition is denied.
24, 2018, Macomber filed a prohibited practice complaint with
the Maine Labor Relations Board ("MLRB"). (R. 1.)
The complaint sought review of the Maine State Employee's
Association's (the "Union's") handling of a
grievance Macomber filed which ended with an arbitration
decision adverse to Macomber. (R. 1-3.) On June 14, 2018, the
Executive Director of the MLRB, Marc Ayotte, sent Macomber a
notice of insufficiencies stating that Macomber's
complaint failed to allege facts which would support a
finding that the Union violated its duty of fair
representation while handling Macomber's grievance
arbitration. (R. 124.) The Letter gave Macomber fifteen days
to file an amended complaint. (R. 124.)
28, 2018, Macomber filed an amended complaint. (R. 130-135.)
On July 12, 2018, the Executive Director once again found
that Macomber's amended complaint did not allege facts
which would support a finding that the Union violated its
duty of fair representation. (R. 136-138.) In light of this
finding, the Executive Director dismissed Macomber's
prohibited practice complaint. (R. 138.) On July 25, 2018,
Macomber filed an appeal of the dismissal with the Labor
Relation's Board. (R. 139-142.) On September 28, 2018,
the Board affirmed the Executive Director's dismissal.
October 15, 2018, Macomber timely filed this 80C petition for
review of final agency action.
Court reviews the Board's decision for an abuse of
discretion, error of law, or findings not supported by the
evidence. Langley v. Me. State Emples. Ass'n, SEW
Local 1989, 2002 ME 32, ¶ 8, 791 A.2d 100. As the
party seeking to vacate the Board's decision, Macomber
bears the burden of persuasion. See Kelley v. Me. Pub.
Emps. Ret. Sys., 2009 ME 27, ¶ 16,
967 A.2d 676.
Court has described the duty of fair representation which the
MSEA owes its members as follows:
The MSEA has a statutory duty to represent employees fairly
in its enforcement of the collective bargaining agreement. To
constitute a breach of the duty of fair representation, the
union's conduct toward its members must be arbitrary,
discriminatory or in bad faith. Thus, the union may not
ignore a meritorious grievance or process it in a perfunctory
manner. Nevertheless, a wide range of reasonableness must be
allowed and mere negligence, poor judgment or ineptitude are
insufficient to establish a breach of the duty of fair
Lundrigan v. Me. Labor Relations Bd., 482 A.2d 834,
836 (Me. 1984) (citations and quotations omitted); see
also Brown v. Me. State Emples. Ass`n, 1997 ME 24,
¶ 7, 690 A.2d 956. A union's conduct is arbitrary if
"in light of the factual and legal landscape at the time
of the union's actions, the union's behavior was so
far outside a wide range of reasonableness as to be
irrational." Trask v. FOP, 2018 ME 130, ¶
4, 194 A.3d 46 (quotation omitted).
case, Macomber argues that the Board erred in its application
of the law. (Pet'r Br. at 1.) The court therefore reviews
the Board's decision for an error of law. See
Lundrigan, 482 A.2d at 836. However, the Board's
decision is accorded considerable deference. Id.;
Langley,2002 ME 32, ¶ 8, 791 ...