Courts have described that duty as the corollary to the
fact that union members cede to their union the right to
bargain with the employer. Courts recognize the need of
labor unions to have leeway in their operations, but hold
unions to this minimum standard of good behavior. A
union does not violate its duty of fair representation if it
merely makes a bad decision or behaves negligently – it
takes more than that to violate the duty.
Perhaps the most important - or at least the most
immediate - thing a union member needs needs to know
about the Duty of Fair Representation is that it has a
very short limitations period -- six months from when
the duty is breached or when a union member
reasonably would know of the breach. It is thus crucial
to get prompt legal advice.