In February 2020, the Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) granted a UAPD steward’s grievance and rescinded a retaliatory written Warning that had been issued a few months earlier. The steward, who had been challenging unsafe conditions and practices by the DACC was accused in the Warning of disrespectful conduct and insubordination. DACC’s long history of intimidation, retaliation and favoritism had made most veterinarians afraid to challenge management. But this steward, working with the UAPD representative, fearlessly stood up to management exposing its abuses and forcing it to make changes.
The UAPD representative worked with the steward to file the grievance and assemble the evidence necessary to show the charges were false and retaliatory. The grievance was denied at Step 1 by the steward’s immediate supervisor, but at the Step 2 hearing the Deputy Director recognized that the evidence was undeniable. The veterinarian had complied with her supervisor’s directions and never shown any disrespect. It was the supervisor who had failed to provide the veterinarian with necessary information and then failed to include critical facts in making the allegations. With this decision, the Department saved itself the trouble and embarrassment of defending its misconduct in this matter, while our members saw that union power can protect members from management abuses.