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United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, AFL-CIO, CLC (Trimas Corporation d/b/a Cequent Towing Products, and an individual(25-CB-008891 et al.; 357 NLRB No. 48) Goshen, IN,

 

The Board majority (Chairman Liebman, Members Becker and Hayes) found that the Respondent Union violated its duty of fair representation by requiring employees it represents who are not union members and who seek objector status under Communications Workers of America v. Beck to assert their objection on an annual basis.  The majority found that the Respondent failed to present a legitimate justification for its annual renewal requirement sufficient to justify the burden the requirement imposes on an individual seeking to extend an objection, and thus that the requirement is arbitrary under the duty of fair representation, and that in imposing it on the Charging Parties—and refusing to honor their specific request that their Beck objections be permanent and continuing in nature—the Respondent violated Section 8(b)(1)(A) of the Act.  The majority decision further found, however, that the requirement was neither discriminatory nor undertaken in bad faith.

Member Hayes, concurring in part and dissenting in part, agreed with the violation found, but further explained his view that the annual renewal requirement infringes on employees’ fundamental Section 7 right to refrain from assisting a union and must therefore be analyzed under Section 8(a)(3) and 8(b)(1)(A) rather than under the more deferential duty-of-fair-representation standard.  Member Hayes further dissented from the finding that the Respondent’s annual renewal requirement was not discriminatory.

Member Pearce, dissenting in part, agreed with the majority that the appropriate legal framework for analyzing this case is the duty of fair representation under Section 8(b)(1)(A), but would dismiss the allegation because the Union’s annual-renewal requirement rationally serves its legitimate interests and was well supported by legal precedent at the time of its actions, and that accordingly the General Counsel did not meet his burden of proving that the Union’s action was arbitrary, discriminatory, or in bad faith.

Charges filed by Individuals.  Administrative Law Judge John H. West issued his decision August 6, 2009. Chairman Liebman and Members Becker, Pearce, and Hayes participated

© Copyright 2022 National Labor Relations BoardNational Law Review, Volume I, Number 237
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About this Author

The National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency vested with the power to safeguard employees' rights to organize and to determine whether to have unions as their bargaining representative. The agency also acts to prevent and remedy unfair labor practices committed by private sector employers and unions.

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