Request a Dues Refund
If you are an employee in one of the twenty-five non-right-to-work states1, you may be forced to contribute part of your pay as union fees. Dues collected by your union are typically split two ways. One part of these dues, known as a “Collective Bargaining Fee,” is used to cover the union’s administrative costs. The other part is called a “Political Fee” which is used to advance the union’s political, social and economic agendas. These imposed fees are used to support lobbying activities, make donations to political candidates, purchase advertising space and air time, pay for organizing activities targeted at other employers, and are given to other groups, that promise to push the union’s liberal issues, however creatively.
Many of the workers in these compulsory union fee states may believe that these fees are mandatory; however, under federal law2, each one has a right to object and request that the political portion of the fee not be collected at all. The United States Supreme Court has recognized each worker’s right to object to paying political fees and to request a refund. The union cannot keep the fees it collects from you which are for activities unrelated to collective bargaining and contract administration. The union cannot take money out of your paycheck and spend it on activities such as organizing the employees of other employers, lobbying for labor legislation, and participating in political events. If you object, you are entitled to a refund and a future reduction of your compulsory union fees. Depending on which state you live in, you may have a specific window period in which to make your objection and you also may have to renew your objection each year.
When you raise your objection, you will not lose any employer-provided benefits. You will continue to be covered by the collective bargaining process and you will get the same pay, same raises, same health coverage and same pension benefits your employer provides to its other unionized employees.
To request a refund, the process is simple. You simply write the union telling them of your objection and requesting a refund. Feel free to use language similar to the sample letter found here.
1The twenty-five States where union fees are compulsory are: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.
2National Labor Relations Act.