Denise Dessel

Document Type

Research Memorandum

Publication Date




Under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), a union, as the sole representative of its workers, has a duty to fairly represent them. This duty entitles a union to fairly represent all employees, “whether members of the union or not, fairly.” A union breaches this duty when its conduct or decisions are arbitrary, discriminatory, or committed in bad faith.

The terms “arbitrary,” “discriminatory,” and “bad faith” have been interpreted through case law. Part I of this memorandum discusses the interpretation of arbitrary conduct; Part II addresses how courts have defined discriminatory conduct; and Part III analyzes how bad faith conduct has been interpreted in connection with a union’s duty of fair representation.


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.