The NLRB Overturns 50 Year Precedent

By Karla Sanchez

In WKYC-TV, 359 NLRB No. 30 (December 12, 2012), the National Labor Relations Board  held that after a collective bargaining agreement expires, the employer must continue to check off union dues from employees’ wages.  The obligation to forward dues payments continues until the employer and the union either reach a successor agreement or reach impasse.  In reaching this decision, the Board overturned 50 years of precedent.  Ever since Bethlehem Steel, 136 NLRB 1500 (1962),  employers could stop forwarding the union the members’ dues when the contract expired.  Now, saying that the Board “has never provided a coherent explanation for this [former] rule,”  the Board is keeping the money flowing.  We expect the unions to be able to prolong contract negotiations further, now that the members’ dues will continue to arrive every payday.

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