The U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that requiring non-union public employees to pay mandatory agency fees is unconstitutional under the First Amendment. There are many ramifications to this decision. The most immediate impact is that public agencies may not facilitate a union’s collection of agency fees from a non-member without that employee’s express consent. Therefore, public agencies are immediately prohibited from automatically deducting agency fees from the paychecks of employees.
Therefore, your agency should:
- Review your payroll systems and each collective bargaining agreement, paying particular attention to provisions related to union fees and wage deductions.
- Coordinate internally with your human resources teams and payroll departments to develop an action plan.
- Be ready to address inquiries from employees regarding issues, such as how to withdraw from the labor organization or how to revoke dues and/or agency fee authorizations.
- Be mindful of laws prohibiting employers from discouraging or deterring union membership (SB 285) and law which restricts a public employer’s ability to communicate with employees concerning their rights to join/support/refrain from unions (SB 866).
- Recognize the impact of communication restrictions imposed by SB 866 and immediately determine the best approach to stopping with the July paycheck the deductions for any employee who is an agency fee payer. Then, agencies must develop an approach to reaching an agreement with union leadership to identify employees whose fee deductions will be stopped and a method for obtaining an express authorization by each employee before making future payroll deductions.
Any communication sent to employees regarding this ruling will likely fall under SB 866 restrictions, and therefore requires the public employer to “meet and confer with the [union] representative concerning the content of the communication.”