Deferral to the Intraunion Appellate Process: A Response

In their recent Article on the deferral policy of the National Labor Relations Board (Board or NLRB), two attorneys for the United Auto Workers (UAW), Leonard Page and Daniel W. Sherrick, argue that the Board has adopted “an indefensible double standard” by applying its policy of “deferral to arbitration” only to contractual dispute resolution processes but not to intraunion review procedures. By deferring to intraunion procedures, they contend, the Board would further many of the same policy objectives it now achieves by deferring to arbitration, with the added benefit of advancing the interest in democratic union self-government. Moreover, by drawing analogies to exhaustion rules developed for judicial proceedings to enforce the Landrum-Griffin Act and the duty of fair representation (DFR), Page and Sherrick contend that such deferral would appropriately prevent unions from being charged until the highest levels of the union have had the opportunity to decide whether to correct the wrongdoing. However, the reasons they present for their proposal are not persuasive.