Week 3: Fair Share Fees

Date Posted: 
Thursday, March 15, 2018

This week, our Political Action Committee takes a look at the crux of the Janus case, fair share fees, and why they are so important to a local union like the BSCTA.  As they note below, if the court rules in Janus' favor, the members of the BSCTA will need to make the decision to opt in to our union.  Over the next few weeks, we will be coming around and talking to you about the importance of sticking with the union.  If you have any questions about the union and what we do for you, please do not hesitate to reach out to your building reps.

What are Fair Share Fees and How Will Janus Change Them?

What are Fair Share Fees? Everyone can choose whether or not to join a union at work and nothing in this case will change that. When the majority of people vote to form a union, however, the union is required by law to represent everyone in the workplace, whether that employee is a union member or not. As all public employees enjoy the benefits, job security and other protections the union negotiates, it is only fair that all employees contribute to the cost of securing those benefits and protections. Currently employees of the bargaining unit who do not wish to pay the fees that are considered to be political and ideological must complete a process in order to opt-out of the union, become Agency Fee Payers, and are reimbursed for those costs. They only have to contribute to the costs of the representation they receive, including the cost of negotiating and maintaining contractual benefits, protections and rights. They are no longer considered members of the union - no voting power and cannot hold office in the union, but receive the benefits of the collective bargaining agreement and the grievance administration, and all union services they are paying for.
 
What is currently happening with the case? On September 28, 2017 the Court granted the permission to hear the case this year. Arguments will be heard February 28, 2018. A Supreme Court Decision shall be rendered by June 2018.
 
What's at stake if unions lose this case? Abood may be overturned. Members may have to opt-into the union or re-sign their union card members may choose to leave to save a few dollars, or give themselves a raise. If enough members choose that path, it is possible that your union will not be able to function effectively as an advocate for members - or possibly to function at all. The union could be decertified; in that case your collective bargaining agreement would only stay in effect for one year. After that you will not have a contract. The Contract would be deemed null and void. No more salary schedule, no requirement of the district to provide or contribute to health insurance, no rules about working conditions, no grievance procedure, and so on. All employees would become at-will employees who are completely subject to managerial discretion on everything concerning their employment. Which is similar to the way it is now in many Right-to-Work states where there is no collective bargaining. If and when that happens, the "savings" achieved by not paying dues would be seen for what it is; a very bad bargain! By that time, it would be too late to do anything about it.

 

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