The Federalist Society

The Fiduciary-Beneficiary Exception to the Attorney-Client Privilege as Applied to the Duty of Fair Representation Owed to Union Non-members

October 4, 2005

James J. Plunckett

The current labor law in the United States allows unions in non-Right to Work states to compel payments from non-members as a condition of employment. Although the duty of fair representation requires unions to establish procedures to ensure that these compelled payments are not used improperly, non-members must often turn to the courts to enforce their rights. Complicated legal procedures, court rules, and technicalities can make this a daunting proposition. However, two recent cases have made it easier for nonmembers to hold unions accountable for compulsory unionism abuses. That is because these cases have demonstrated that the attorney-client privilege does not apply to communications between a unionís officers and its in-house counsel that concern the unionís duty of fair representation owed to nonmembers forced to pay union fees as a condition of employment....

The Fiduciary-Beneficiary Exception to the Attorney-Client Privilege as Applied to the Duty of Fair Representation Owed to Union Nonmembers  


The Federalist Society