Trump Seeks to Speed Action on Ending Union Dues Withholding by Federal Employees
Fedweek, July 17, 2019

At the request of the OPM, the FLRA is seeking comment on whether to change a long-standing practice that elections by federal employees to pay union dues can be canceled only at one point in the year.

In a July 12, Federal Register notice, the FLRA said OPM made that request in light of a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year involving dues withholding for state government employees. The FLRA asked for comments by August 12 on “whether the Authority should issue a general statement of policy or guidance, and, if so, what the Authority’s policy or guidance should be.”

The FLRA said that federal labor law requires that if an employee elects to have union dues withheld from pay, that request “may not be revoked for a period of 1 year.” It said that since a 1981 case, its policy has been that such requests may be revoked only at intervals of one year. Unions and agencies may bargain over the procedures so long as they “preserve employees’ freedoms to have dues deducted from their pay and to revoke their dues assignments at one-year intervals.”

The notice said that OPM asked the FLRA to rule that the precedent set in the high court decision applies to the federal workplace and that the ruling requires that an agency should end withholding at an employee’s request “as soon as administratively feasible, if at least one year has passed since the employee initially authorized union-dues assignment from the employee’s pay.”

The AFGE union said policy OPM is seeking would “overturn decades of precedent [and] is part of an all-out assault on federal employees’ collective bargaining rights.”
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