Reprisal Discharges of Union Officials

Usually union officers and employees are also members of their union. The dual status of officer-members and employee-members places them in a unique situation under the LMRDA. As union members, they are entitled to the rights enumerated in Title I. As union officers and employees, however, they serve at the pleasure of their superiors. This situation raises the question whether officer- and employee-members have a cause of action under the LMRDA when they are discharged in retaliation for exercising rights protected under Title 1. Resolution of this question depends upon whether or not such reprisal discharges violate the provisions of Title I or constitute unlawful discipline within the meaning of section 609 . After discussing the judicial decisions dealing with these questions, this article will examine the various policy considerations and will suggest an analysis for resolving the problem.