Duty of Fair Representation
A union's obligation to represent all people in the bargaining unit as fairly and equally as possible. This requirement applies both in the creation and interpretation of collective bargaining agreements. A union is said to have violated its Duty of Fair Representation when a union's conduct toward a member of a collective bargaining unit is arbitrary, discriminatory, or in bad faith. A union steward, for example, may not ignore a grievance which has merit, nor can that grievance be processed in a perfunctory manner. It should be noted, however, that the employee in the bargaining unit has no absolute right to have a grievance taken to arbitration. The union is obligated to give fair representation to all union members, and also to collective bargaining unit members who have not joined the union in "right-to-work" states or in public service units.