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NOTE: All information on 1-888-NO-UNION.COM, including responses to questions are for informational purposes only and do not constitute advice of a legal nature, nor is information intended to persuade employees in the exercize of their NLRA Section Seven Rights.
QUESTION(S): 1) Is it possible to vote out a union steward and if so how long does it take and what must one do? 2) What are our bi-weekly dues spent on? ANSWER: There are several variables in answer to your questions: With regard to what your bi-weekly dues are spent on, in general, union dues are used to run the union's 'business.' Union officers salaries and expenses, union buildings, and other expenses, to name just a few things that dues are spent on. This information is public information and can be accessed at http://www.unionreports.gov
Note: As a member of the SEIU, you can also find this information on 1-888-NO-UNION by going here.
With respect to voting out a steward, the answer depends upon your specific union's bylaws. For the most part, unions typically do not provide a way of voting out a steward. However, from a practical standpoint, there have been cases in which represented workers have conducted "recall petitions." Although there is no requirement for a local or international union to honor a recall petition, some unions will heed the wishes of its members and others may not. In sum, unions are under no legal obligation to heed their members' wishes. However, if a union does not heed the wishes of the workers it represents, the workers do have a legal decertify the union (within certain constraints). Please note, however, decertfication is time sensitive as represented workers cannot decertify a union when there is what is referred to as a "contract bar" in effect (i.e., workers cannot decertify a union when there is a valid contract in effect). If, however, workers are barred from decertifying a union due to a contract bar, but still feel that a union is ignoring their wishes, the workers do have a legal right to have a "deauthorization election" which means that, while the union still stays in place, the union cannot require the workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Information regarding this process can be obtained here, or by contacting your local National Labor Relations Board office. We hope this information helps.
QUESTION: Would replacement workers have to pay union fees, during a strike, even if they don't want to join the union?
ANSWER: In response to your question regarding whether replacement workers can be charged union dues during a strike, the answer is dependent on the circumstances and there are certain factors that cause there to be several answers to the question.
Please note that, in the below responses to your question, there is a difference between union dues and agency fees.
Union dues are typically membership dues which indicate that a worker has become a member of a union, subjecting him or her to the rules specified in a union's constitution (which would include the barring of a union member from working as a replacement worker).
Agency fees, on the other hand, are not the same as union dues and, as a result, a person paying agency fees are not subjected to the same union rules as a union member. With respect it would be impossible for a union to require payment from replacement workers in a Right-to-Work State.
Even in NON-Right-to-Work states, however, there are several scenarios which could affect whether or not replacement workers could be required to pay dues (or "agency fees").
If, for example, a strike occurs during the negotiation for a first contract, then, no, it would not normally be possible for a union to be able to collect dues from replacement workers, since there is no existing agreement containing a "union (income) security clause".
However, if a strike occurs over the replacement of an existing agreement and the existing agreement contains a union (income) security clause which requires all employees to make payments to the union as a condition of employment, if the replacement workers are performing work that is done by striking members of the bargaining unit, then replacement workers could be required to make payments to the union as well.
Please note the use of the word "could," as it may not always occur in each and every case.
There could be exceptions to this, however.
For example, if the strike occurred as a result of an impasse and the employer implemented an offer which contained no union security clause, then replacement workers may not have to pay the union fees.
In addition to the above, if an economic strike occurs and the employer has hired bona-fide permanent replacement workers and the union has accepted a contract that contains a union security clause, then the replacement workers would likely be required to pay the union fees as a condition of employment. Again, this would only apply to persons in Non-Right-to-Work states.
While the above are general answers to your question, they do not cover every possible secnario. However, we hope this information is helpful to you. Please contact us should you have any additional questions.
QUESTION: We voted "no" to unionizing. Unions filed with NLRB. They won and a revote was ordered. Employer filed an appeal. Has been with NLRB for 10 months. How long does the NLRB take to make a decision on a case like this?
ANSWER: Thank you for contacting 1-888-NO-UNION.COM. In response to your question regarding how long the NLRB can take to issue a decision, there is no 'pat' answer. Over the last two years, there have been vacancies on the five-member NLRB in Washington, which apparently has caused certain types of cases to be delayed. President Obama did make two appointments (recently) to fill vacant seats on the Board. These two appointments must be confirmed by the Senate, but it is doubtful the Senate will block these appointments as it did with President Bush's appointments. Also, please keep in mind that, as/when the NLRB issues a decision (depending on the specifics of the case), it is possible for a party to appeal a case to a court of appeals which can considerably delay finality to a case. We apologize for not being able to give you a direct answer to this question. However, as stated above, there is no 'pat' or standard answer. Thank you again for contacting 1-888-NO-UNION.COM and we wish you well.
All information and materials on 1-888-NO-UNION.COM are free. The information and materials on this site are for informational purposes only. Nothing on this website constitutes, nor should it be viewed as legal advice or advice to either employees or employers. Moreover, the information provided on this site should NOT be construed as advice for employees on how to exercise your NLRA Section Seven Rights. If you have a legal question, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your attorney (as an employer) or contact us should you need a referral to legal counsel. Further, should you request an answer to a question, you agree that any answer to any question does not constitute legal advice, or advice of any nature, but is purely for informational purposes.
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