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Duty of Fair Representation

Time and again, Blitman & King has successfully defended unions against member lawsuits. Because of our experience in handling such matters, we understand the complicated legal landscape that unions face when confronting duty of fair representation, lawsuits.

Although a union must make a good faith effort in representing the bargaining unit and investigating complaints, grievances, and the like, a union is not required to obtain a favorable resolution nor is it required to follow the path that the grievant feels is best. It is often the case that a union makes every effort to best represent a member and still finds itself subject to a DFR claim. When that occurs, we provide aggressive representation utilizing every mean and method available to defend the union.

Awards

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Who’s Who Legal Awards

Charter Fellows of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers

Former Chairs of the American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section

New York Super Lawyers

Former Chairs of the New York State Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section

Former Chair of the American Bar Association’s Equal Employment Opportunity Committe

AV Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell

Practice Highlights

  • We achieved summary judgment for international union and local union against a former member’s $3,000,000 damage claim for duty of fair representation violations by demonstrating the union’s satisfaction of its obligations and the deficiencies in the plaintiff’s claim;
  • We achieved the court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s claim that the union improperly handled the grievance on the grounds that the plaintiff presented inadequate evidence and untimely filed the claim;
  • We obtained summary judgment in a hybrid-section 301/duty of fair representation claim where retired members alleged that the union’s processing of their grievance was negligent based on the union’s failure to inform them about the status of negotiations;
  • We successfully asserted that plaintiff’s allegations against the union for Title VII violations were not properly before the Court because plaintiff failed to first exhaust administrative remedies against the union and we obtained summary judgment for the union on the ground the court lacked jurisdiction over the union;
  • We obtained summary judgment for the union by demonstrating that the union did not breach its obligations to the plaintiff member when the union declined to pursue the member’s disability claim against the employer to arbitration;
  • We obtained summary judgment for the union on procedural grounds where a member was masking his duty of fair representation claim as a violation of New York State Human Rights law; and
  • We successfully argued for summary dismissal of plaintiff’s hybrid-section 301/DFR claim against an international union and affiliated local union on the grounds that the claims were time barred by the statute of limitations. On appeal, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed judgment in our client’s favor.
  • In defending a public sector union, we successfully argued to the state’s highest court that the so-called Martin rule remains applicable under New York law requiring the plaintiff in a DFR action to plead and prove that each member of an unincorporated association authorized or ratified the union’s alleged wrongful conduct.