Proposed rule would change union dues policy

The Federal Labor Relations Authority is seeking public comment on whether it should make changes to how union dues are collected from federal employees.

In a proposed rule posted to the Federal Register on July 12, FLRA – which is charged with overseeing federal government labor-management relations— along with the Office of Personnel Management, said it’s considering changing the rules so that federal employees can stop paying union dues at any time.

Currently, when a federal employee joins a union and agrees to pay dues, they may only opt out of union dues after one year of membership. However, FLRA and OPM say a 2018 Supreme Court decision may open up a new interpretation of the rule. 

The notice states: “OPM asks the authority to issue a general statement of policy or guidance holding that the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31 (2018) requires the authority to reevaluate its precedent on the revocation of federal employees' union-dues assignments. Comments are solicited on whether the authority should issue a general statement of policy or guidance, and, if so, what the authority's policy or guidance should be.”

The Janus decision found that the use of so-called agency fees, a practice where state and local public sector unions are able to charge non-members for the cost of representational work, violated the First Amendment.

View the proposed rule here.

Reader comments

Wed, Aug 14, 2019 Reid S Shimabukuro HI

It's simple...."You're either in or in the way". Pay your dues and get what is provided for by the action of your Union. Elect to not pay dues and hope you never need the Union! Man up and stand by the decision you make.

Tue, Aug 13, 2019

It is a sad state of affairs when employees blame unions for managers not doing their jobs. We do not protect slackers. We pay taxes too and expect everyone to work for their pay. As a union officer I work by butt off on my own time on union representational duties because I believe in being treated fairly and I have a problem with the good ole boy system in the federal government. Most employees don't have a clue how HARD it is to be a union rep...... it certainly doesn't benefit your career!!!

Tue, Aug 13, 2019

I don't believe the Federal Government should have ever permitted unions. Productivity fell and more employees had to be hired to pick up the slack. It was nearly impossibe to remove slackers and distracted managers from more important business.

Tue, Aug 13, 2019 Informed Employee

Unfortunately, many of you misunderstand how Federal Labor Relations work. Unions are required to represent everyone in the bargaining unit, not just dues paying members. For that representation, the government provides official time to union representatives. The union is happy to take the official time, so the argument about charging non-members is off-target. If the issue is about joining only when you need representation, the solution is simple. Do not have your membership take effect, or your deductions begin, until 60 days after you request to join the union. Additionally, prohibit rejoining a union, and deductions to begin, until 180 days after you dropped your membership. Problem solved.

Wed, Jul 17, 2019

When federal employees sign up for health insurance through their agency they must do so when they are first hired or in the annual open enrollment period. They can't wait until they need surgery, make one payment, and withdraw. the same employees can join the union at any time, but allowing them to pay dues for the one pay period where they need representation (which costs the union both money and official time) and then quit would put the union out of business. That is the intent of such a proposal.

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