Recently, the NLRB released its decision (3-1) in WKYC-TV, in which the NLRB reversed the long-standing rule Bethelem Steel that agreements for dues checkoffs will not continue after the contract expires.
The new rule will not apply to pending cases. The essence of the majority decision is that because dues checkoffs are mandatory subjects of bargaining, the normal Katz rule for such topics–that they must continue while a new contract is being negotiated–should apply unless there is a reason for an exception; the majority found that there wasn’t. In making this conclusion, the majority distinguished clauses that involved the waiver of rights, like no-strike clauses. The majority also criticized Bethelem Steel for treating dues checkoff provisions the same as union security clauses (in part because of its reading of Sections 8(a)(3) and 302(c)).
Member Hayes dissented, arguing that there was no evidence that the old rule wasn’t working. Further, he disagreed with the majority’s statutory interpretation. He also stressed that limiting dues checkoffs to an active collective-bargaining agreement was more consistent with the concept of voluntary unionism.