This article is reprinted from the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Volume 118, No. 1 (November 1969).
Author is professor of Law, Wayne State University. A.B. 1958, University of Rhode Island; LL.B. 1961, Cornell University. Graduate Study, 1962-63, London School of Economics. Formerly, Consultant to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
By enacting title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Congress acknowledged the fact that a substantial number of unions and employers were dealing unfairly with minority group workers. Hearings conducted by Senator Edward M. Kennedy highlighted the failure of many who do business with the Government to comply with prohibitions of racial discrimination theoretically imposed upon them through government contracts. A greater awareness of this problem has triggered administrative as well as judicial articulation of the doctrine that unions certified to represent workers within an appropriate unit owe a duty to represent such employees in a fair and just manner. Thus it is a lame defense to a charge of racial discrimination to contend that collective bargaining is a private affair which need only reflect the interests of the parties to the agreement: management and the union. The rights of minority workers can be strongly influenced by the results of collective bargaining. In particular, the arbitration clauses, included in most collective bargaining agreements, can have substantial impact upon the rights of black workers who allege both racial discrimination and contract violation—rights which these legislative and doctrinal developments seek to protect.