Can the union take away my years of full-time seniority for going part-time if it’s not in the contract?

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Can the union take away my years of full-time seniority for going part-time if it’s not in the contract?

The contract states that seniority is defined as an associate’s length of continuous serve since the date of such associate’s last hire by the company. It also states that a part time associate’s full-time seniority date shall be the date said associate assumes a full-time position. It never states re assumes a full time position. In another part of the contract it states “seniority shall be broken if…” it has different situations, none of them being going part-time.

Asked on January 7, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Contracts are always going to be construed against the writer because the presumption is the writer would be the one who would have thought about everything it wanted in the contract and should have placed in there if contemplated. A contract regarding a scenario that is not directly addressed will be reviewed first by the four corners of the contract to see if the provisions together or separately can be intepretated with an intent one way or another. If not, then the question becomes whether there was a meeting of the minds or a bargained for exchange regarding said issue. If not, then the usual course of business would be to have each side (usually through counsel) review case law to see if case law that is on point exists or if not, to see if anything related exists. From there, if still nothing, the law and interpretation thereof would probably be on your side as long as nothing else exists to rebut it.


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