Poor representation from a union is now becoming a very common complaint. On one side, there are union representatives who have built a good working relationship with an employer, a relationship that has helped the union get more benefits or extra incentives. On the other side, there is a lone employee with a grievance against the employer, whom the union does not seem to be fighting to protect.
The union employee needs to protect him or herself from this occurring by documenting all grievances filed with the union, documenting problems with the employer, and keeping very good records of all issues the employee has had with the union refusing to represent him or her against the employer. In addition, union employees should not expect any more assistance from their union than what is explicitly listed in the union contract.
If the union employee finds that he or she is in this situation, he or she can contact a local employment law attorney for further assistance. The other option is to file a complaint against the union for lack of representation with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).