Can I sue a union I work for?

Asked over 2 years ago - Macon, MS

I been laid off for two years, my job called me back my first day back the union let the company write me up for something that was not in the contract.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Michael S. Haber

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Before trying to sue your union, you should try to enlist the union as your ally. Speak to your union representative and immediately file a grievance as to the company's actions. Most collective bargaining agreements provide only a short window of time to file a grievance, so you must act immediately.

    As for suing your union, my best advice is to forget it. While a union owes a member a duty of fair representation, requiring that the union act in a manner that is not in bad faith, arbitrary, or discriminatory, these are complicated and expensive lawsuits. The chances of finding an attorney who will do such a case on a contingency fee basis is roughly the same as finding a needle in a haystack.

    Good luck to you.

    Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are... more
  2. Marilynn Mika Spencer

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . I am a California attorney and not eligible to give legal advice in your state. The following is information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT PROVIDE SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION.

    I'm sorry this happened to you, especially after being laid off for such a long time. One thing to know is that your union didn't "let the company" write you up. The decision to write you up was made by the company, not the union. All the union can do is respond to an action the employer takes. Mr. Haber is correct that the way to pursue something like this is through the grievance procedure.

    Unions exist to represent the workers. There is more reason to believe the union is on your side than to believe it is not. Of course, union representatives, just like politicians, may have their own agendas. And some union reps are smart and good at what they do, and others are not . . . just like with any job. Try to make it easy for the union to help get you what you want.

    Mr. Haber is also correct about how difficult it is to sue a union. Most of the attorneys who know anything about this area of law are attorneys who represent unions; they often have reason to reject any case involving a suit against a union. The other group of attorneys who know this area of law are attorneys who typically represent employers. These attorneys charge by the hour and often restrict their law practice to representing companies, not individuals.

    The best organization for helping union employees without have difficulty with their unions is the Association for Union Democracy in New York. The web site is: http://aud2.uniondemocracy.org/

    There is a six month statute of limitation (time limit) to pursue a claim against a union.

    *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your... more

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