Typically, when a collective bargaining agreement expires, the terms and conditions of the agreement continue. However, on December 16, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) ruled that employers could unilaterally stop deducting an employee’s union dues from their paycheck once a collective bargaining agreement expires. For those employers who are expecting to negotiate a successor deal soon, this ruling provides employers’ leverage since during negotiations unions will not have the ability to automatic deduct dues, on which they rely heavily. Ultimately, an employer’s ability to stop automatic deductions unilaterally will likely impair the union’s income stream.
The NLRB’s decision stemmed from the Valley Hospital Medical Center Inc.’s decision to unilaterally cease the automatic deduction of union dues approximately one year after its collective bargaining agreement had expired. The NLRB determined that contract provisions regarding automatic dues deductions are included in the narrow category of mandatory bargaining topics that merely last for the life of the contract.
As an employer, it is important to recognize the areas in which you have leverage in the bargaining process. For assistance during the collective bargaining process, please contact the Labor Relation Department attorneys at Employers Council.