Employers May Discontinue Checkoff of Union Dues at Expiration of Union Contract
December 16, 2019
By Gerard Morales
In a December 16, 2019 decision,1 the National Labor Relations Board (Board) held that employers’ statutory obligation to checkoff union dues pursuant to their union contracts ends when said contracts expire. Overruling relatively recent precedent, the Board based its decision on the principle that there is no independent statutory obligation to check off and remit dues to a union before a union contract comes into effect nor after expiration of the contract.
In this decision, the Board held that a union dues check off provision in a union contract constitutes an exception to the doctrine (referred to as “the Katz doctrine”) that employers must refrain from unilaterally changing terms and conditions of employment from the commencement of the bargaining relationship with the union and until a lawful, good faith impasse in bargaining has been reached.
Other exceptions to the Katz doctrine are contractual provisions for no-strike/no lockout, arbitration, management rights and union security.
In sum, while union dues checkoff is a mandatory subject of bargaining, such contractual provisions do not survive after contract expiration. Like provisions for no strike/no lockout and arbitration of contractual disputes, dues checkoff obligations are coterminous with the union contract.
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