Membership dues deduction

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Membership dues deduction refers to a contract provision that requires employers (e.g., school districts) to deduct union dues from employee paychecks and transmit the amounts deducted to the union. Act 88 makes membership dues deduction a negotiable issue in contracts between Pennsylvania school boards and teacher unions.[1] The provision is common in board-union contracts.

Act 88 requires that employees authorize deductions in writing. (Some districts require employees to submit authorizations individually. Other districts will accept signed authorizations submitted through a union official.) Whenever a contract between the school board and the union contains an agency shop or "fair share” clause, union dues are deducted from the salaries of non-union members.

Automatic membership dues deduction enables unions to avoid the costs collecting dues from large numbers of employees and the problems of dealing with late payment or non-payment.

Reference: 43 PS 1101.301(11); 1101.705

Claims & counter-claims

In support of automatic dues deductions:

  • Automatic deduction is a convenience for employees.
  • The cost to the district is negligible because school business offices already deduct other items, such as voluntary contributions to retirement plans or to the United Way.
  • To maintain workplace tranquility, the district and the union share a common interest in making the process of collecting all union dues as friction-free as possible.

In opposition to membership dues deductions:

  • Membership dues deduction frees union resources for bargaining and lobbying efforts that are likely to be contrary to the interests of the district and its taxpayers.
  • Membership deduction creates an impression among employees that union policies and activities are endorsed by the district.
  • Because banks provide automated payment services, unions can offer their members inexpensive and convenient alternatives to dues deductions by school districts.
  • In districts where union contracts do not contain a "fair share” clause, automatic dues deduction makes it much easier for unions to recruit and retain members.

Example of a membership dues deduction clause


1. The employer shall deduct from the wages of those employees who so authorize such deductions by a proper and lawful written authorization, the dues established by the association. Said authorization form, which shall be valid for the term of this contract, to be executed by the employee shall contain an assignment and shall be furnished by the employer.
2. For the convenience of the employees, the employer shall make authorized deductions for twenty (20) pay periods during the months of November through August in as nearly equal amounts as reasonably convenient. Deducted amounts shall be remitted to the association after deductions are effected. Should an employee's employment terminate prior to the making of all deductions, the balance of the deductions shall be made from the employee's final pay. The employer shall not be responsible should said balance exceed the amount of the employee's final pay.