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Union Agreement That Used Statutory Language Upheld
Description Employee claim of bad faith by union for failing to inform her that agency fees would meet her legal obligation, rather than union membership and dues, rejected. The union security agreement used the language of the NLRA. Union did not have a duty to explain how the statute works in practice.
Topic Labor Law
Key Words Fair Representation, Security Clause
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Bargaining agreement contained a standard union security clause that tracked the language of the NLRA, which authorizes "an agreement ... to require as a condition of employment membership [in the union] on or after the thirtieth day following the beginning of ... such employment." The clause did not explain that this condition could be fulfilled by payment of agency fees. Employee was denied work when she failed to pay union fees before beginning work. She sued, claiming the union failed to inform her of her rights not to join the union and to only pay agency fees.
Decision A union does not breach the duty of fair representation by negotiating a security clause that uses NLRA language without explaining its legal meaning. A union breaches its duty when its conduct is arbitrary, discriminatory, or in bad faith. Terms of art in security clauses do not violate this standard.
Citation Marquez v. Screen Actors Guild, Inc., --S.Ct.-- (1998 WL 761184)

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