NLRB Restores Union Dues Checkoff Rule
January 13, 2020
The National Labor Relations Board (Board) recently held that an employer’s obligation to check off union dues ends upon expiration of the collective-bargaining agreement containing the checkoff provision. The Board’s decision, in Valley Hospital Medical Center, returns the law to precedent established in 1962 but overturned by the Obama Board in Lincoln Lutheran of Racine (2015).
In overturning Lincoln Lutheran, the Board explained that a dues-checkoff provision “properly belongs to the limited category of mandatory bargaining subjects that are exclusively created by the contract” and is enforceable only for the duration of the contractual obligation created by the parties. The Board held there “is no independent statutory obligation to check off and remit dues after expiration of a collective-bargaining agreement containing a checkoff provision, just as no such statutory obligation exists before parties enter into such an agreement.” The Board further explained that “[t]he paramount and clearly intended purpose of the holding” in Lincoln Lutheran “is to exclude the cessation of dues checkoff from the arsenal of economic weapons that an employer may legitimately use as leverage in support of its bargaining position. This represents impermissible interference with the statutory bargaining process.”
Clearly this is another welcome development from the Board. Indeed, the Board declared “as with similarly excepted contractual no-strike and no-lockout provisions, an employer is free upon contract expiration to use dues-checkoff cessation as an economic weapon in bargaining without interference from the Board.” If you have questions about this decision, please contact a KZA attorney.
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