From the Massachusetts Nurse Newsletter
July/August 2013 Edition
This notice contains important information relating to your membership or agency fee status. Please read it carefully.
Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act gives employees these rights:
- To organize
- To form, join or assist any union
- To bargain collectively through representatives of their choice
- To act together for other mutual aid or protection
- To choose not to engage in any of these protected activities
You have the right under Section 7 to decide for yourself whether to be a member of MNA. If you choose not to be a member, you may still be required to pay an agency fee to cover the cost of MNA’s efforts on your behalf. If you choose to pay an agency fee rather than membership dues, you are not entitled to attend union meetings; you cannot vote on ratification of contracts or other agreements between the employer and the union; you will not have a voice in union elections or other internal affairs of the union and you will not enjoy “members only” benefits.
Section 8(a)(3) of the National Labor Relations Act provides, in pertinent part:
It shall be an unfair labor practice for an employer –
(3) by discrimination in regard to hire or tenure of employment or any term or condition of employment to encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization: Provided, that nothing in this Act, or in any other statute of the United States, shall preclude an employer from making an agreement with a labor organization … to require as a condition of employment membership therein on or after the thirtieth day following the beginning of such employment or the effective date of such agreement, whichever is the later. If such labor organization is the representative of the employees as provided in Section 9(a), in the appropriate collective bargaining unit covered by such agreement when made…
Under Section 8(a)(3), payment of membership dues or an agency fee can lawfully be made a condition of your employment under a “union security” clause. If you fail to make such payment, MNA may lawfully require your employer to terminate you.
This year, the agency fee payable by non-members is 95 percent of the regular MNA membership dues for chargeable expenditures. Non-members are not charged for expenses, if any, which are paid from dues which support or contribute to political organizations or candidates; voter registration or get-out-the-vote campaigns; support for ideological causes not germane to the collective bargaining work of the union; and certain lobbying efforts. MNA has established the following procedure for non-members who wish to exercise their right to object to the accounting of chargeable expenditures:
1. When to object
Employees covered by an MNA union security clause will receive this notice of their rights annually in the MassNurse. If an employee wishes to object to MNA’s designation of chargeable expenses, he or she must do so within 30 days of receipt of this notice. Receipt shall be presumed to have occurred no later than three days after the notice is mailed to the employee’s address as shown in MNA’s records.
Employees who newly become subject to a contractual union security clause after September 1, or who otherwise do not receive this notice, must file any objection within 30 days after receipt of notice of their rights.
MNA members are responsible for full membership dues and may not object under this procedure. MNA members who resign their membership must object, if at all, within 30 days of the postmark or receipt by MNA of their individual resignation, whichever is earlier.
Objections must be renewed each year by filing an objection during the appropriate period. The same procedure applies to initial objections and to renewed objections.
2. How to object
Objections must be received at the following address within the 30-day period set forth above:
Massachusetts Nurses Association
340 Turnpike Street
Canton, MA 02021
Objections not sent or delivered to the above address are void.
To be valid, objections must contain the following information:
- The objector’s name
- The objector’s address
- The name of the objector’s employer
- The non-member’s employee identification number
- Objections must also be signed by the objector
Objections will be processed as they are received. All nonmembers who file a valid objection shall receive a detailed report containing an accounting and explanation of the agency fee. Depending on available information, the accounting and explanation may use the previous year’s information.
3. How to challenge MNA’s accounting
If a non-member is not satisfied that the agency fee is solely for chargeable activities, he or she may file a challenge to MNA’s accounting. Such a challenge must be filed within 30 days of receipt of MNA’s accounting. Receipt shall be presumed to have occurred no later than three days after the notice is mailed to the employee’s address as shown in MNA’s records.
Challenges must be specific, and must be made in writing. Challenges must be received by MNA at the same address listed above in section 2 within the 30-day period to be valid. Challenges not sent or delivered to that address are void.
Valid challenges, if any, will be submitted jointly to an impartial arbitrator appointed by the American Arbitration Association. MNA will bear the cost of such a consolidated arbitration; challengers are responsible for their other costs, such as their travel expenses, lost time, and legal expenses, if any. Specifically challenged portions of the agency fee may be placed in escrow during the resolution of a challenge. MNA may, at its option, waive an objector’s agency fee rather than provide an accounting or process a challenge.