Many anticipated today’s decision, as we outlined in our previous alert on how employers should prepare for Janus. This decision overrules the Abood case, which for decades has allowed public sector unions to collect agency or “fair share fees” from those employees covered by the collective bargaining unit, but who elect not to become members of the union.
Writing for the majority opinion, Justice Alito explained that fair share fees are essentially an arrangement whereby public employees are forced to subsidize a union, even if they choose not to join and strongly object to the positions the union takes. Today’s decision holds that “this arrangement violates the free speech rights of nonmembers by compelling them to subsidize private speech” and that “fundamental free speech rights are at stake.”
Public sector employers need to act immediately to ensure compliance with both the Supreme Court’s decision and applicable state laws. Employers should review relevant contract language and any independent fair share fee authorization forms as soon as possible to determine who has or has not specifically consented to these deductions.
Because the Supreme Court found these wage deductions unlawful for nonconsenting employees, it could be a wage and hour violation to deduct fair share fees from those employees’ wages as soon as your next paychecks go out. Supervisors also need to be cautioned in how to answer any questions from bargaining unit employees about today’s decision, as they may inadvertently commit an unfair labor practice charge. Finally, under PECBA, upon request by either party, any fair share fee provisions in their collective bargaining agreements may also be reopened for negotiation.
For questions on how to address any fair share fee provisions in your contract, contact Kyle Abraham at firstname.lastname@example.org (503) 276-2132 or Nicole Elgin at email@example.com (503) 276-2109.
Electronic Alerts are written by Barran Liebman attorneys for their clients and friends. Alerts are not intended as legal advice, but as employment law, labor law, and employee benefits announcements. If this has been forwarded to you, and you would like to begin receiving Electronic Alerts directly, please email or call Traci Ray at 503-276-2115. Copyright ©2019 by Barran Liebman LLP.
Las Alertas electrónicas son escritas por abogados de Barran Liebman para sus clientes y amigos. Las Alertas no son proveídas como asesoramiento legal, sino solo como anuncios de leyes de empleo, leyes laborales y beneficios de empleo. Si esto ha sido remetido a usted y quisieras empezar a recibir las Alertas directamente, por favor mándanos un correo electrónico o llama a Traci Ray al 503-276-2115. Derechos de autor ©2019 por Barran Liebman LLP.