Many employees are part of a labor union. Usually, a contract (often called a memorandum of understanding or collective bargaining agreement) includes what a union must do for its members.

A union member can sue the union for poor representation. However, there are very narrow grounds for bringing that lawsuit. The union has a “duty of fair representation” to the workers it represents. But the union’s actions must fall into one of three categories to break the law. A worker can bring a case if the union treats the employee in ways that are either:

  1. arbitrary: there is no reason for the union not to grieve your matter;
  2. discriminatory: the refusal to help is based on the worker’s race, gender, religion, etc.; or
  3. in bad faith: a union official refuses to grieve because s/he doesn’t like the member.

The duty of fair representation does not require that the union be competent. The union need not appeal an employee’s claim. In general, this claim is a very hard one to prove in court.

Employment Law Attorney John Furstenthal helps clients throughout the East Bay Area, California from his office in Contra Costa County. To schedule a free initial consultation, please call (925)-284-1718 or fill out our onine form today!