The state’s plan to collect fees from non-union memberrs of unionized state agencies has run into a roadblock in the State Legislature. At its root, it’s a question of what state law allows and whether the Office of Adminsitration is trying an end run around the law. The effort is led by Republicans who oppose Governor Bob Holden’s executive order giving many state workers more collective bargaining rights. The Office of Adminsitration has proposed a rule that includes so-called fair share fees for state employees who don’t want to be in a union. Commissioner of Administration Jacque White says the rule does not require fees – the agreement does. That’s the agreement workers have to sign when they go to work for a unionized agency. If they don’t sign, they can’t work. The so-called “voluntary agreement” lets the union deduct a fee, lower than union dues, from the employee’s pay check. But Senator Michael Gibbons says state law prevails over an agreement or a rule and the law does not allow service fees unless the employee willingly agrees to pay. Other Republicans say that forcing a new workers to pay a fee to get a job is not a willing agreement. The Legislature will have 30 working days next year to pass a resolutlion throwing out the rule. If the Governor vetoes it, the Legisalture can try to override.
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