Plaintiffs did not appeal the executive board's decision to the Union membership.
I credit Mr. Vicinio's testimony that it was customary for the Union to refuse to initiate grievances which its representatives in good faith believed were without merit.
In this regard, of some historical significance is the fact that in 1960, a male employee, Artie Adams had complained about a seasonal roll back of Inspection Assistants, contending that, as an Inspection Assistant with more plant seniority than some General Inspector trainees, he should not have been cut back from his Inspection Assistant position and that he should have been permitted to "bump" into the General Inspector classification. The Union had then refused to initiate a grievance on his behalf, for the same reason that underlay its refusal to do so for plaintiffs in September 1967, that is, it considered such a grievance meritless.
Actually, events reflect good faith on the Union's part insofar as its female membership is concerned. Thus, in collective bargaining negotiations with the Company at the Hillside plant level, in September or October 1967, among other demands by the Union was one that the Company open the third shift on all Company jobs to female employees.
In November 1968 when, as shall be detailed below, the Company opened up the General Inspector post to women, Rucki, because of her poor attendance record, would not have been permitted to take the test (which she failed) had not the Union interceded on her behalf. In addition, Mr. Vicinio sat as an observer with Rucki and the other job applicants who were tested. Seven applicants, including four females, passed the test and entered the General Inspector training program at that time.
The "fair representation" doctrine which plaintiffs invoke was created and shaped by the Supreme Court in a series of cases involving alleged racial discrimination by unions certified as exclusive representatives under the Railway Labor Act, Steele v. Louisville & N. R. Co., 323 U.S. 192, 89 L. Ed. 173, 65 S. Ct. 226 (1944); Tunstall v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, 323 U.S. 210, 89 L. Ed. 187, 65 S. Ct. 235 (1944), and was thereafter extended to the unions certified under the National Labor Relations Act in Ford Motor Company v. Huffman, 345 U.S. 330, 97 L. Ed. 1048, 73 S. Ct. 681 (1952); Humphrey v. Moore, 375 U.S. 335, 11 L. Ed. 2d 370, 84 S. Ct. 363 (1964); and Vaca v. Sipes, 386 U.S. 171, 17 L. Ed. 2d 842, 87 S. Ct. 903 (1967); and see Reid v. Auto Workers, Local 1093, 479 F.2d 517, 520 (10th Cir.) cert. denied, 414 U.S. 1076, 94 S. Ct. 592, 38 L. Ed. 2d 483 (1973); Lewis v. Magna American Corp., 472 F.2d 560 (6th Cir. 1972); Gainey v. Railway Clerks, 313 F.2d 318, 323 (3d Cir. 1963). See also, cases cited in Davidson v. International Union, etc., 332 F. Supp. 375 (D.N.J. 1971); cf. Motor Coach Employees v. Lockridge, 403 U.S. 274, 299, 301, 91 S. Ct. 1909, 29 L. Ed. 2d 473 (1971).
As stated by the Supreme Court in Vaca v. Sipes, supra, at 177:
. . . The exclusive agent's statutory authority to represent all members of a designated unit includes a statutory obligation to serve the interests of all members without hostility or discrimination toward any, to exercise its discretion with complete good faith and honesty, and to avoid arbitrary conduct. . . .