Union members often have unique rights, privileges, and terms of employment that are specified in a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) with the employer. Additionally, the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA”) provides each union member with certain rights. Union members may pursue relief from violations of their rights as protected by the NLRA and/or applicable CBA. Specifically, the Labor Management Relations Act (“LMRA”) allows some union members to bring “hybrid claims” in federal court against the union and employer under certain circumstances.
CBA terms may alter the traditional “at-will” employment agreement in favor of an arrangement where the employer must establish good cause to terminate the employee. The CBA also often specifies policies, procedures, work rules, and formal grievance and/or alternative dispute resolution processes that apply to the employment relationship.
The NLRA protects the right of employees to engage in protected concerted activities-group action to improve wages, benefits, and working conditions and to engage in union activities and support a union. On the other hand, employees are also entitled to refrain from engaging in protected concerted or union activities.
A labor union has a duty of loyalty and fair representation to its members. If an employee believes that the union has breached this duty, the employee may have the right to file a lawsuit against the union. Likewise, the employee may have the right to file a lawsuit against the employer if the employee believes that the company has breached the terms of the CBA. A union member may have the right to bring a hybrid claim against both the employer and the union if the member believes that both of them have breached their obligations to the employee. Keep in mind that hybrid claims are subject to a short 6 month statute of limitations.
We invite you to contact us if you believe that your collective bargaining rights have been violated and/or the union has failed to properly represent you.