Union Rights for Dues Check Off After Expiration of Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)
April 9, 2013 by Dale Brodsky
There has been a key reversal by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) long held exemption from the unilateral change doctrine that prevents employers from discarding previously agreed upon conditions of employment when a CBA expires. Beeson, Tayer & Bodine (BT&B) attorney, Dale Brodsky, provides a summary of this important change for those seeking guidance in the area of Labor Law.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has repeatedly questioned and asked for the rationale of the NLRB’s longstanding rule that employers have no duty to continue dues check off once a contract expires, a rule first adopted in 1962 in Bethlehem Steel. The Board has at long last overruled Bethlehem Steel, concluding that excluding dues check-off from the unilateral change doctrine simply makes no sense. An employer’s obligation to check off union dues now continues, like most other terms and conditions of employment after expiration of a CBA.
In reversing Bethlehem Steel the Board relied on case law that obligates an employer to continue in effect contractually established terms and conditions of employment that are mandatory subjects of bargaining after the expiration of a contract and until the parties either negotiate a new agreement or bargain to a lawful impasse. At the same time, the Board reaffirmed a narrow group of terms that are mandatory subjects of bargaining that do not survive the expiration of a contract: arbitration clauses, no-strike clauses, and management rights clauses.
All pending cases involving the unilateral cessation of dues check-off arrangements will be decided under Bethlehem Steel and the new rule will be applied prospectively. As Unions look to the future and are in need of guidance, BT&B’s Labor Law practice has 75 years of experience and attorney’s dedicated to keeping current and are available to help navigate current and future legal issues.
*WKYC-TV, 359 NLRB 30 (2012), summary provided by BT&B.
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