Maintenance of membership

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A maintenance of membership clause in a collective bargaining agreement (contract) requires employees who are covered by the agreement to maintain their membership in the union for the duration of the contract.[1] The clause applies both to employees who are members at the time the contract is signed or who may join the union later. Pennsylvania Act 88, which governs board-union negotiations, specifies that maintenance of membership is a negotiable issue. Act 88 provides a 15-day window, immediately prior to contract expiration, during which employees may resign from the union.

Maintenance of membership is one of several union rights clauses that are not required by law but are frequently accepted by school board negotiators. The advantage to a union of maintenance of membership clause is that it guarantees the collection of dues for the entire term of a contract. Critics contend that it makes unions less accountable to their own members by depriving them of the right to "vote with their feet" if they become dissatisfied with union policies or services.

Reference:(43 PS 1101.301(18); 1101.705)

Example of a maintenance of membership contract clause

The following clause is taken from a contract with the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties.Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties, Article 28

A. All FACULTY MEMBERS who are members of APSCUF as of the date of ratification of this Agreement or who, thereafter, during its term become members of APSCUF, shall, as a condition of continued employment, maintain their membership in APSCUF for the term of this Agreement; provided, however, that any such FACULTY MEMBER may resign from membership in APSCUF during the period of fifteen days prior to the expiration of the Agreement (June 16, 2007 through June 30, 2007) by sending a certified letter (return receipt requested) to APSCUF headquarters, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and a copy to his/her personnel office. The letter shall be postmarked between June 16 and June 30, inclusive, and shall state that the employee is resigning his/her membership and, where applicable, is revoking his/her check-off authorization. The payment of dues and assessments while he/she is a member shall be the only requisite employment condition.