Union On Hook for Non-Member Worker’s Back Pay After Refusing to Represent Him

A discharged Cummins, Inc. plant worker who wasn’t a union member may be entitled to have the Machinists union pay his lost wages after the union refused to arbitrate his complaint contesting the firing.

Machinists Talbot Lodge No. 61 represents all of the production and maintenance employees at a Tennessee Cummins plant, but a union told a worker that it would not challenge his firing because he wasn’t a union member. The union presented testimony that its decision was because the claim lacked merit. The ALJ didn’t buy it. Amchan ordered the union to request reinstatement with back pay or arbitrate the firing.

Unions have a duty of fair representation to all employees in a bargaining unit regardless whether employees in right-to-work states, like Tennessee pay union dues.

Matt Austin owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can reach Matt by calling him at (614) 843-3041 or emailing him at Matt@MattAustinLaborLaw.com.