MARQUEZ v. SCREEN ACTORS GUILD

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
97-1056
Petitioner 
Marquez
Respondent 
Screen Actors Guild
Opinion 
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the respondents)
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

Naomi Marquez, part-time actress, auditioned successfully for a role in a television series produced by Lakeside Pictures. Pursuant to their collective bargaining agreement, Lakeside contacted the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) to confirm that Marquez met the "union security clause" of the agreement that requires union "membership" as a condition for employment. The clause stated one must be a member "in good standing." Subsequently, Marquez was denied the part because she had not paid her dues. Marquez filed suit alleging SAG breached its duty of fair representation with its union security clause. First, Marquez argued she should have been made aware of her established legal right not to join the union, but only to pay for its representational activities. Second, Marquez claimed that the clause required repetitious thirty-day previous work periods every time motion picture employment ceased. The District Court summarily ruled against Marquez because the clause followed the National Labor Relations Act; therefore, it did not breach its duty of fair representation. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision on the first claim, but held the second claim was in the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board.

Question 

Can collective bargaining contracts require membership for employment without articulating what it means to be "in good standing?"

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for Screen Actors Guild, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: National Labor Relations, as amended

Yes. In a unanimous decision, announced by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the Court ruled collective bargaining contracts do not have to spell out what it means to be "in good standing." Justice O'Conner noted that requiring membership to be specified in a contract would force all terms to be specified. There would be no limit.

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MARQUEZ v. SCREEN ACTORS GUILD. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 10 November 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1998/1998_97_1056>.
MARQUEZ v. SCREEN ACTORS GUILD, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1998/1998_97_1056 (last visited November 10, 2014).
"MARQUEZ v. SCREEN ACTORS GUILD," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed November 10, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1998/1998_97_1056.