503: The Duty of Fair Representation

Program 503 / Episode 30

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The Doctrine of the Duty of Fair Representation has its origin in Section 301 of the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947.
In the Supreme Court Case of Vaca v. Sipes (1965), the Court held the Union must decide the merits of a grievance in a good faith, non-arbitrary manner.
The Supreme Court refined the Doctrine in the case of Hines v. Anchor Motor Freight (1976), where the Court held that when the Union breaches its duty of representation and the Management has breached the labor agreement in taking its protested action, then both Parties are subject to court ordered remedies.
Affect on Arbitration:
The number of cases has visibly increased out of fear, but arbitration is not a cloak of immunity.
When the Union and Management use due diligence and good faith in settling grievances, they have met the Duty.
Grievances should be settled on the merits.
The Union can settle a grievance without the grievant’s OK, provided the settlement is patently fair.

Additional information


Three member panel discussion


60 Minutes


M. David Keefe, Labor Arbitrator, Founder of LMDSI

Management's View

Malcolm Denise, former V.P. for Labor Relations, Ford Motor Company

Labor’s View

Raymond Shetterly, former Director of the Arbitration Services Dept., UAW