OFFICE AND PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION, LOCAL 6, AFL-CIO
COMMONWEALTH EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS BOARD & another. 
Heard: October 11, 2019.
from a decision of the Commonwealth Employment Relations
Rosseel for John F. Murphy.
Feinberg for the plaintiff.
Gabriel for Commonwealth Employment Relations Board.
Neyman, Shin, & McDonough, JJ.
John Murphy was discharged from his position at the Worcester
Division of the Probate and Family Court Department
(Worcester Probate and Family Court), his union, the Office
and Professional Employees International Union, Local 6
(union), filed a grievance on his behalf in accordance with
bargaining agreement (CBA) between the union and the employer
(trial court). The trial court denied the grievance; under
the CBA, this triggered a deadline of twenty working days by
which the union had to file a demand for arbitration. The
union missed that deadline, leading the arbitrator to rule
that the grievance was not procedurally arbitrable.
with no means under the CBA to challenge his termination,
Murphy filed a charge with the Department of Labor Relations
(department), claiming that the union committed a breach of
its duty of fair representation under G. L. c. 150E, § 10 (b)
(1). A department hearing officer agreed and ordered the
union to make Murphy whole for the loss of compensation he
suffered as a result of his termination. On the union's
administrative appeal, the Commonwealth Employment Relations
Board (board)  upheld the hearing officer's decision
and also ordered the union to pay interest at the rate
specified in G. L. c. 231, § 6I, compounded quarterly.
union appeals under G. L. c. 150E, § 11 (i), arguing that the
board erred in concluding that the union committed a breach
of its duty of fair representation and that Murphy was
entitled to a remedy. Murphy cross-appeals, arguing that the
board erred in selecting the rate of interest to be paid on
the award. We affirm.
summarize the hearing officer's findings of fact, which
were adopted by the board and are unchallenged on appeal. We
reserve some details for later discussion.
began working at the Worcester Probate and Family Court in
2005. In April 2013 Murphy's supervisor, Stephen Abraham,
notified him that there would be a hearing to determine
whether just cause existed to discharge or otherwise
discipline Murphy based on charges that he had committed five
acts of misconduct.  At the hearing, attended by Murphy and
union business agent Richard Russell, among others, Murphy
denied four of the
charges and partially denied the fifth.  Abraham found
Murphy's explanations not credible, however, and on May
14, 2013, terminated his employment.
union challenged the termination by filing a timely grievance
with the trial court pursuant to the first three steps of the
four-step grievance and arbitration procedure provided in the
CBA. By agreement with the union, attorney Michael Angelini
represented Murphy at the "Step 3" grievance
hearing, presided over by Christine Hegarty, the trial
court's manager of human resources, labor relations, and
investigations. Both Angelini and Russell attended the
hearing, but neither offered evidence; instead, they
summarily denied the charges in anticipation of presenting a
more comprehensive case at arbitration.
August 20, 2013, Hegarty notified the union that she had
denied the grievance. This triggered "Step 4" of
the grievance and arbitration procedure, which provided for