Workers can sell right of recovery
- STEVE LASH, Maryland Daily Record
In a decision critics say sets the organized-labor movement back nearly 75 years, a federal judge in Maryland has ruled — over the Teamsters’ objection — that workers covered under a collective-bargaining agreement can sell their right to recover any money awarded them in a corporate bankruptcy action brought by their union on their behalf.
U.S. District Chief Judge Benson Everett Legg ruled last week that unions have the duty under federal law to protect their members’ interests and recover any money owed them. But the ultimate “right of recovery” remains with the employees, who can sell that right to a third party for immediate payment rather than endure the delay and uncertainty of ultimately prevailing in court, Legg added.
“That distinction really doesn’t make sense in labor law,” said University of Baltimore Law Professor Michael Hayes, who teaches the subject. “It’s a distinction that would be very troublesome in future cases.”