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Vernellia R. Randall
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 Unions. U.S. law guarantees all persons equal rights to form and join trade unions, as required by Article 5(e)(ii). A private sector union, which is the exclusive bargaining representative under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), 29 U.S.C. sec. 151, has the responsibility to fairly represent each of the employees for whom it is the bargaining agent. Although unions have broad bargaining discretion, they must exercise that discretion fairly and in good faith. Unions are not barred from making contracts that negatively affect a segment of the bargaining unit, but they are prohibited from making discriminatory contracts based on irrelevant or invidious considerations (such as race or ethnicity). Similar protections are provided to railway and airline employees under the Railway Labor Act, 29 U.S.C. sec. 152, and to federal employees under the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, 5 U.S.C. sec. 7101.

Enforcement of the NLRA's prohibitions is entrusted to the National Labor Relations Board, its independent General Counsel, private employees, and the judicial system. Enforcement of the Railway Labor Act is provided by arbitration through the National Mediation Board. Under the Civil Service Reform Act, hearings are held by the Federal Labor Relations Authority and appeals of its decisions are made directly to the Federal appellate courts. 5 U.S.C. sec. 7123.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, or national origin, also covers workers within their unions. Enforcement of Title VII is by private individuals and or by the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

 

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Last Updated:
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Thanks to Derrick Bell and his pioneer work: 
Race, Racism and American Law
(1993).