Vanderbilt Law Review

Article Title

Recent Developments

First Page



Preservation of internal union solidarity through the exercise of disciplinary power over members has been recognized as an essential prerequisite to maintenance of a strong bargaining position vis-a-vis management.' Therefore, courts have afforded unions relative freedom to discipline members who violate rules of internal union government. Somewhat different principles of union discipline, however, are applied to members who occupy supervisory positions with the employer.' The employee-member is loyal primarily to his union, but the loyalty of the supervisor-member ultimately is two-dimensional:' he is loyal to the union by virtue of his union membership and to the employer by virtue of his supervisory responsibilities. Because the dual loyalties can conflict, the NLRA expressly prohibits unions from restraining or coercing employers in the selection of supervisory representatives. The NLRB and the courts have extended this protection by proscribing union discipline of a supervisor-member for actions undertaken in the course of his normal supervisory duties, because the existence of such forms of discipline would constitute indirect interference with the employer's right to control freely its supervisory representatives.' The supervisor-member is subject, nevertheless, to discipline for violation of internal union government rules, and the courts have refrained from interfering with union administration of disciplinary measures in this area.