Dues Deduction Finally Commences
By Gary Bailey, Attorney - Monday, November 18, 2018
On October 30, 2018, the FOP and the County held a grievance arbitration award regarding the failure of the County to deduct union dues from the paychecks of union members represented by the FOP Labor Council. Arbitrator Marvin Hill, Jr. served as the neutral arbitrator. The Police Officers’ dues deduction grievance was combined with a similar grievance filed by the FOP over the failure of the County to deduct union dues from the paychecks of County telecommunicators, who are also represented by the FOP Labor Council. The Arbitrator issued his award that same day, view award here.
The Arbitrator first addressed the immediate deduction of dues owed to the union. The County asserted that dues would be deducted from the paychecks of employees immediately after the issuance of the Award for the pay period ending October 26, 2018.
The Arbitrator then addressed the issue of back dues owed to the union. The Union asserted that the amount owed to the union should be paid by the County, not the members because the failure to deduct the dues was not the fault of the employees. The Union further expressed concerns over whether the deductions would unexpectedly cease even if immediately commenced. The County asserted that the debt owed to the Union was not the County’s debt, but the employees’ debt, and that its liability was only to collect from the employees and to tender the monies to the union.
After hearing arguments, the Arbitrator ruled:
- That the debt should be paid by the employees, but spread out over several paychecks. The Arbitrator suggested three payments, but the Union asserted that was too steep a price for the employees to burden. The Arbitrator adopted the Union’s suggestion that it be paid out over 26 pay periods (a year), until October 2019;
- That should the County fail to deduct the amounts applicable from the employee paychecks, it would nevertheless send the union a check in the amount of money owed until such time the proper dues are deducted; and
- That he would retain jurisdiction over the case to administer the award and to adjust if needed based upon a change of circumstances.
The Union asserted that it would not seek “back dues” from any employee who retires and resigns during this period of collection and the Arbitrator ordered that any new employees hired were obligated only to pay the “regular dues” that is uniformly charged to all state-wide FOP members.
Since the issuance of the award, the FOP has been monitoring the dues deduction of its elected union officers to ensure the deduction amounts are accurate. The union receives a monthly check from the County for the union dues deducted from all County employees represented by the FOP Labor Council. Along with that check, the County send a list of names from whose pay those deductions are made in order to permit the union to confirm that every union member is paying their dues.
The union is required by law to represent all persons in the bargaining unit, but it has the legal right to charge non-members (those who have not signed a voluntary dues deduction form) for services rendered to them if they seek union representation. The union has established a list of those charges and the up-front retainer for such charges, and these costs far exceed the standard monthly dues.
Approximately 20 police officers have not signed dues forms and are non-members. They will soon be getting a letter giving them a last chance to become members before the end of the year, when these non-member charges will be made effective on a state-wide basis.
Currently, monthly union dues are $43.00 (or $19.85 per pay period) for everyone (state-wide) represented by the FOP Labor Council. The By-Laws of the FOP Labor Council provide that the only method that monthly union dues can be changed is by a vote of union member delegates to the Annual Meeting. Each bargaining unit is permitted to send voting delegates to the Annual Meeting, held each year in March. The number of voting delegates each bargaining unit may send to the Annual Meeting is proportionate to the number of employees in the bargaining unit as of January 1 each year. For further information, see Article XIII, Section 2 of the By-laws of the Illinois FOP Labor Council.