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*** UPDATED x1 *** Post-Janus service charges for non-members?

Friday, Jun 29, 2018

* Robert Bruno writes in the Sun-Times about what public employee unions can do in the wake of Janus. Here’s one of his ideas

New York recently amended its state public employee’s law. It allows public employee unions to deny representation to non-members in any disciplinary cases as well as any legal, economic or job-related services beyond those provided in the collective bargaining agreement, without violating the duty to fair representation.

The Court majority opinion endorsed this approach by stating that individual “nonmembers could be required to pay for the [grievance] service or could be denied union representation altogether.” In a footnote, Alito cited a California labor relations law as an example. Other states including Oregon, Hawaii, New Jersey and Florida have passed or are considering post-Janus measures. Illinois could do the same.

This is discussed on pages 15-18 of the decision.

Your thoughts?

*** UPDATE *** Hannah Meisel had a similar story at the Daily Line today. They’ve taken it out from behind the paywall

Ed Maher, a spokesman for Local 150, said Alito’s suggestion “seems to leave crack to charge nonmembers for grievance cost, arbitration costs.”

Pierson said that charging nonmembers for such services — which are as high as $5,000 for an arbitrator and $1,000 for one day of work for a court reporter — may cause a nonmember to “think twice about not paying dues,” and to see the dues as an “insurance policy” instead of money taken from a paycheck.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

45 Comments
  1. - wayward - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 2:30 pm:

    It sure doesn’t seem like a “freeloader” should be entitled to union representation with a grievance, disciplinary action etc.


  2. - Robert the 1st - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 2:32 pm:

    Seems legit. You pay nothing towards the reps I assume are on the union’s dime. Why get their services for free?

    Different than a contract for a bargaining unit. This is an individual matter.


  3. - Mama - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 2:36 pm:

    If you are not a paying member of the union you don’t deserve their legal services for free. No other organization would provide a service for free so why should AFSCME?


  4. - Steve - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 2:36 pm:

    This is real value for many union members.


  5. - Pundent - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 2:36 pm:

    I suspect that unions will adapt and this is just one possible avenue. At the end of the day the Janus “victory” may be more symbolic than anything. But I also expect there will be other cases designed to weaken public and private sector unions. In many respects this may have been nothing more than the first test.


  6. - Wensicia - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 2:39 pm:

    Whether a member or not, you still have to protect the collective bargaining agreement from abuses by employers.


  7. - California Guy - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 2:39 pm:

    That’s the fair option. No fair share fee equals no representation. The direction of the modernized/2018 workforce is based on individual negotiations and dispute resolutions, not a collective process.


  8. - Mama - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 2:39 pm:

    Rich, when people don’t pay your annual fee, you don’t provide them with a free membership newsletter. Right? That is the way it should be for AFSCME too - no fee, no service!


  9. - A Jack - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 2:39 pm:

    I agree with the fee. The union will have to show value for membership. This is one way of showing that value.

    Union membership is like house insurance. It is there when you need it. If your roof blows off in a tornado, you shouldn’t get your roof replaced for free if you decided to skip out on the house insurance.


  10. - Mama - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 2:41 pm:

    “Whether a member or not, you still have to protect the collective bargaining agreement from abuses by employers.”

    Why should AFSCME care, the free-loaders are not paying anything for AFSCME’s legal services. It isn’t free.


  11. - Cubs in '16 - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 2:41 pm:

    Someone like Mark Janus should forgo these union services on principle.


  12. - Mama - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 2:45 pm:

    “The union will have to show value for membership. ”
    AFSCME has been showing their value for membership for years via benefits and salaries. It is why people apply for those jobs.


  13. - Wensicia - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 2:45 pm:

    ==Why should AFSCME care, the free-loaders are not paying anything for AFSCME’s legal services.==

    If the employer gets away with contract violations for non-members, the contract is weakened, eventually becomes useless.


  14. - Glenn - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 2:48 pm:

    Unions will have to defend non-union members because a poorly represented worker who loses a self-funded case will set a precedent that will have implications for the entire union membership.


  15. - SaulGoodman - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 2:48 pm:

    **Why should AFSCME care, the free-loaders are not paying anything for AFSCME’s legal services. It isn’t free.**

    Because it isn’t about the individual. Its about the contract and protecting/preserving the process and rights in the contract.


  16. - A Jack - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 2:50 pm:

    The union doesn’t help merit comp employees. Why should nonmember employees be any different? In fact a few years ago you had all those merit comp PSA employees begging to get into the bargaining unit.


  17. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 2:55 pm:

    ==If the employer gets away with contract violations for non-members, the contract is weakened, eventually becomes useless.==

    Not necessarily. By definition non-members would not be covered by the contract. If employer gets away with poor treatment of non-members, it encourages non-members to join. The only other option would be to accept poor treatment simply because you don’t want to join a union. It wouldn’t make much sense, but would still be the non-members choice to do so.


  18. - City Zen - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 2:57 pm:

    The word “exclusive” is cited 46 times in the opinion.


  19. - JS Mill - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 2:58 pm:

    If Illinois tried to create a law similar to other states what is the likelihood that Rauner would sign it?

    I am thinking zero.


  20. - M - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 3:01 pm:

    ==- JS Mill - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 2:58 pm: ==

    This is why Rauner needs to go.


  21. - Wensicia - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 3:03 pm:

    ==By definition non-members would not be covered by the contract.==

    All employees are covered by the bargaining agreement, which lists all positions within. There are not separate contracts or rules for non-member employees.


  22. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 3:04 pm:

    I support laws that compel charging non payers for union services. I just don’t want to lose exclusive bargaining representation.

    New York passed tax deductions for union dues, so that’s another benefit and approach that can be added.


  23. - Present - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 3:04 pm:

    I think a Jack hit on something. Perhaps they will be considered mc then or invited to be anyway. See the fy2018 payplan. It has all titles assigned a mc equivalent. Had that always been the case? And broadband titles are mentioned.


  24. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 3:09 pm:

    ==All employees are covered by the bargaining agreement, which lists all positions within. There are not separate contracts or rules for non-member employees.==

    As of today, yes, but it can’t stay that way for long. Hence the language cited in the opinion above:

    “nonmembers could be required to pay for the [grievance] service or could be denied union representation altogether.”


  25. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 3:14 pm:

    I would fully expect a new afscme contract with some major changes for non-union members shortly after Rauner is removed from office.


  26. - SaulGoodman - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 3:15 pm:

    **The union doesn’t help merit comp employees. Why should nonmember employees be any different?**

    Because merit comp employees are not represented by AFSCME, nor are they covered by the CBA.

    **As of today, yes, but it can’t stay that way for long. Hence the language cited in the opinion above:

    “nonmembers could be required to pay for the [grievance] service or could be denied union representation altogether.”**

    Wrong… they non-members will still be covered by the contract. How AFSCME and other unions choose to engage with these non-members will be up to each union.


  27. - Mama - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 3:23 pm:

    “New York recently amended its state public employee’s law. It allows public employee unions to deny representation to non-members in any disciplinary cases as well as any legal, economic or job-related services beyond those provided in the collective bargaining agreement, without violating the duty to fair representation”

    If New York can legally “amended its state public employee’s law to deny representation to non-members in any disciplinary cases as well as any legal, economic or job-related services”, Illinois could pass the same law.


  28. - Amalia - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 3:31 pm:

    Yep. Pass that here. make a list, call it what Janus does not get for free.


  29. - Occam - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 3:35 pm:

    Our school district has not had any teacher union grievance filed on behalf of a teacher in at least the last 10 years. Performance evaluations, working conditions, etc. are highly regulated. The teacher probably has to be charged with a crime (which does and has happened) in order for a tenured teacher to be terminated. And when the teacher is charged, the union wants nothing to do with that union member.

    So, the threat of loss of representation as an incentive to continue to pay union dues just doesn’t exist.

    And if you’re an employee that continues to behave in a manner that generates a lot of grievance filings, your fellow union co-workers probably would like to see you get canned anyway.


  30. - City Zen - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 3:43 pm:

    ==I just don’t want to lose exclusive bargaining representation.==

    Hold on to that monopoly as tight as you can.


  31. - Mason born - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 3:45 pm:

    I think a service fee for grievance procedures is a good idea.

    I think that denying them qny representation even at their cost is problematic with Exclussive Representation. If they can receive no representation at all then they should be free to form/join their own association/union for representation.

    A fee schedule for representation seems the best route.


  32. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 3:50 pm:

    “Hold on to that monopoly as tight as you can.”

    The trade-off now is nonpayers and the duty to represent them.


  33. - Reserved - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 3:54 pm:

    Nice to see within a week of the ruling and Alito’s claim that Abood didn’t create labor peace there already talk of separate systems between non-members and dues paying members.

    The union likes to say merit based pay is inherently biased with supervisors favoring certain anti-union employees. Now the union can do they same, drop the dime on a non-member and get paid.

    As history has shown classification of people into arbitrary groups always turns out well.


  34. - Wensicia - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 3:55 pm:

    I think before a union comes up with restrictions for non-members, they should sweeten the list of benefits for members, and advertise them, including disciplinary and liability protections, rewards, other incentives.


  35. - not sure - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 3:55 pm:

    == The union doesn’t help merit comp employees. Why should nonmember employees be any different? In fact a few years ago you had all those merit comp PSA employees begging to get into the bargaining unit. ==

    I was asked this and I am assume the answer was No but I am not 100% sure. Can a SPSA (non-union state employee) decide to join the union after this decision was made?


  36. - Taxedoutwest - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 3:59 pm:

    99% of union employees NEVER EVER need to go to a grievance hearing and the comments make one think everyone needs representation. Pretty funny. So, riddle me this, if that is what so many feel these people are going to miss that so many won’t use, what part of their dues does that make up???? And why not pay an attorney at the time IF IT EVER IS NEEDED?


  37. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 4:00 pm:

    ==Wrong… they non-members will still be covered by the contract. How AFSCME and other unions choose to engage with these non-members will be up to each union==

    Whatever semantics you want to use, I seriously doubt that’s how it’s going to work under whatever contract afscme signs under a governor Pritzker should he win this November (highly likely). They probably won’t get many of the same benefits of being a member without having to pay a predetermined amount for representation in each area, which will likely be offered at a much higher price than what they would have paid in dues if they were a member. And like merit comp employees over the last decade and a half, they likely won’t get the same negotiated step increases as members will.


  38. - Sense of a Goose - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 4:02 pm:

    Makes sense but needs to apply to many facets of administering a contract-transfers/promotions, discipline, classification, etc. The end result may be a grievance but the unions often resolve things without having to file. That could change I suppose.


  39. - Juice - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 4:03 pm:

    not sure, it depends on the position. The Illinois Public Labor Relations Act specifically outlines certain positions that can’t be unionized.


  40. - Wensicia - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 4:03 pm:

    ==99% of union employees NEVER EVER need to go to a grievance hearing and the comments make one think everyone needs representation.==

    Most grievance procedures involve protection of contract language, not always the individual. As pointed out many times above, it’s the contract provisions we defend, not just representation in individual disciplinary actions.


  41. - A Jack - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 4:05 pm:

    Non-members get the benefits from a collective bargaining unit, but they are not parties to the agreement. They do not get to vote for or against the agreement.

    And besides, the Supreme Court decision said unions could find other ways for free riders to pay for services outside of mandatory agency fees.

    The GA has to allow grievance fees first and then the union membership can vote on charging a fee. Of course non-members don’t get a vote. That is the way it works. Apparently fees work just fine for the FOP.


  42. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 4:07 pm:

    ==Can a SPSA (non-union state employee) decide to join the union after this decision was made?==

    That’s a very good question, considering union membership has now been officially determined to be a matter of free speech. Rauner and his people would say no, but under a Gov Pritzker with dem majorities in the GA? It’ll take a long time to hash out all of the particulars of this new ruling.


  43. - SaulGoodman - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 4:25 pm:

    A state employee who is not part of the bargaining unit could likely become a union member (ie pay dues to the union), but the CBA would not cover them and they would have no rights/benefits that are included in the CBA, including the grievance procedure.


  44. - A Jack - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 4:37 pm:

    You also have the issue that many SPSA’s are “At Will” and I am not sure how that would work with a contract that goes beyond the at will period.


  45. - AnotherFacelessGuy - Monday, Jul 2, 18 @ 6:26 pm:

    I’m in the camp of people who think those who refuse to pay dues shouldn’t reap the benefits of union representation in disciplinary hearings.

    That said, the union would have to represent people when in cases where serious precedents could be set. Let them hang on their own if they misuse time or want to fight a mandate refusal. They can study the contract for themselves and face management alone. Outside of disciplinary hearings, if it could set bad precedent, the union would have to defend it for its own self interest.

    Most important, the unions will need to maintain their exclusive bargaining rights if they dont want to be destroyed. There is a catharsis to the idea of, “Dont pay dues, make minimum wage.” Makr no mistake, that wouldn’t happen. If management could hire for a position outside the union, they wouldn’t make less, they would make more. At least in the short term. You pay nonmembers at a premium, erode the union’s base, then after they have bleed all their membership to the higher pay and benefits of not being union, you abuse the lack of contract to change their wages at benefits. The employer wins the long game if the union doesn’t maintain exclusive bargaining rights.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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