National Labor Relations Board Reverses 2019 Precedent on Union Dues Checkoff

By Nick Ball
Barran Leibman

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) has reversed existing precedent by holding that covered employers are no longer entitled to unilaterally stop union dues checkoff following the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) that required the employer to make such deductions. Union dues checkoff refers to the practice of an employer, when authorized by the employee, deducting union dues from the employee’s wages so they may be remitted to the union. In Valley Hospital Medical Center, Inc. II, the Board recently reversed its 2019 decision in Valley Hospital Medical Center, Inc. I, where it held that employers are permitted to unilaterally stop union dues checkoff after the expiration of a CBA.

Generally, unionized employers are required to maintain the “status quo” or bargain over changes to the terms and conditions of employment under a CBA once it has expired absent valid impasse. However, as with many areas of labor law, this general rule is subject to numerous exceptions. Before an employer takes action related to its employees after the expiration of its CBA, it should examine the specific terms of the expired CBA as well as the most recent NLRB case law. As illustrated by Valley Hospital Medical Center, Inc. I & II, the NLRB frequently makes changes to the precedent it has established. Therefore, it is always critical to evaluate whether a seemingly permissible action is compliant with the NLRB’s current interpretation of labor laws.

For questions about union dues checkoff or other collective bargaining agreement obligations, contact Barran Liebman LLP attorney Nick Ball at [email protected] or (503) 276-2150.

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