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Put Unions in the Chain of Liability March 12, 2010

Posted by federalist in Judiciary, Open Questions, Unions.
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Unions negotiate the conditions of employment and work performance for their members, typically in an adversarial relationship with an employer. If unions truly represent their members, then why don’t they accrue any liability for their members’ work behavior?

After all, if an employee causes some injury or damage in the course of employment, tort law generally puts the employer right near the head of the chain of liability. But when a union has negotiated the circumstances and rules of employment and work, why aren’t they more liable than the employer? (Assuming, of course, that the employer is in compliance with the labor contract.)

I raised the question in response to a strange and unfortunate case mentioned in the Independent blog.

But I am truly confused: For union shops in general why isn’t the chain of accountability — and hence, liability — Employee -> Union -> Managers -> Corporation -> Shareholders?

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