Massachusetts House votes to allow unions to charge non-members for some costs

The New England Police Benevolent Association’s (NEPBA) new lobbyist and former State Senate Ways and Means Chairman Steve Panagiotakos reports that the Massachusetts House of Representatives has voted in favor of HB3854 by a 155-1 vote margin.

The bill allowing unions to charge non-members for costs of services and representation, action prompted by a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year.

In supporting the bill, House members effectively blunted some of the impact of the court’s Janus vs. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees ruling that said public employees who are not members of a union cannot be required to pay fees or dues.

In particular, this bill amends 66:10B, which governs the public records status of names, addresses, and phone numbers, to exclude the phone number, home, and personal email address of all public employees from the public record, except as otherwise required by law;  allows for the disclosure of those records to labor unions, retired employee benefit organizations, and law enforcement agencies; amends GL 150E:5 (Exclusive representation by public employee labor unions) to allow such unions to charge a fee to a non-member for representation in any matter brought up by that non-member and relieving the union of responsibility in the event of non-payment; authorizes public employee unions to offer specific benefits only to members, outside of their responsibilities to negotiate and enforce collective bargaining contracts on behalf of non-members (and applies those same provisions to the employees of the MBTA); requires public employers to allow labor unions access to employees on the employer premises to investigate grievances and complaints, to conduct meetings during breaks and outside of working hours, and to meet with newly hired employees within 10 calendar days of their hiring; and excludes communications between employees and their union representatives from public records except as otherwise provided by law.

In addition the bill requires employers to allow unions to use the employer’s email system for official union communications; allows public employee labor unions to use government office space for meetings and other union business, provided that use does not interfere with government operations and the union is charged for any additional resulting building costs; and repeals existing laws regulating payroll deductions for dues and service fees for associations of public school teachers, for school nurses, and state, county and municipal employees.

Read more in State House News