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  • The Dark Side of Professional Baseball: The Fall of Barry Bonds

    An employee decides to join a union to represent all members of a designated unit to serve the interests of all members without hostility or discrimination, to exercise its discretion with complete good faith and honesty, and to avoid arbitrary conduct by their employer. If the group that is set out to protect the union decides randomly to pick and choose the employees it decides to represent, in essence it fraudulently defeats the purpose of unionizing. The professional baseball industry is one of the major businesses in the United States that began unionizing at the end of the nineteenth century. It was not until 1953, with the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), that a legitimate union was established in professional baseball. Every Major League Baseball player is awarded the rights of a union under the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Some of the duties the MLBPA handles for the players are negotiating salaries, arbitrating grievances, ensuring the on-field safety of its players, controlling the license for Major League Baseball (MLB), and distributing licensing revenues. Every single baseball player in MLB is entitled to all of the union benefits offered by the MLBPA. If for some reason the player believes that the MLBPA is not acting in his best interest, the player may file a Duty of Fair Representation (DFR) claim against the MLBPA. For a union member to win on a DFR claim, he must prove that the “union’s conduct toward a member of the collective bargaining unit is . . . in bad faith.”