Continuation of Dues Checkoff Now Considered Status Quo by Divided NLRB
By Kristofor Hanson - Lindner & Marsack, S.C.
October 4, 2022
In a 3-2 ruling by the five-member National Labor Relations Board, employers must now continue to deduct union dues – otherwise known as dues checkoff – from workers’ paychecks even after collective bargaining agreements containing such provisions expire. Valley Hospital Medical Center, Inc., N.L.R.B., Case 28-CA-213783 (Sept. 30, 2022). This ruling represents a return to the standard of the Board under President Obama after just three years during which dues checkoff could be discontinued in the event of contract expiration.
The Board relied on precedent that states that employers and unions must maintain the “status quo” when a CBA expires, and found that there has been no cogent explanation by the Board or courts as to why that did not apply to dues checkoff. The Board stated that its decision “definitively resolves this issue by confirming that it is a violation of the Act to unilaterally stop dues checkoff when a contract expires.”
The decision is clearly favorable to unions as they have become increasingly concerned with their ability to continue dues collection once a contract expires, a vital conduit for union revenue. This decision likewise ends the availability of this economic weapon for employers in the face of labor strife.
Employers must now maintain dues checkoff along with wages, benefits, and other terms and conditions of workers’ employment upon the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement. This was an objective of Board General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo once her nomination was approved by Congress.
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