Do Not Unilaterally Stop Dues Checkoff When the Union Contract Expires


On an issue that has gone back and forth with changes in Presidential administrations, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has recently upheld the National Labor Relations Board’s current position that employers must continue dues checkoff after expiration of a collective bargaining agreement.

Under the National Labor Relations Act, an employee may authorize the employer to deduct and remit their union dues to the union, as long as the authorization is contained in a written dues checkoff assignment and the employee has the opportunity to revoke the assignment at least once a year and upon expiration of the applicable collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The Board had previously held that employers may unilaterally cease union dues checkoff after the expiration of a CBA – but no longer.

In a pair of cases, NLRB v. Valley Health System, LLC and Valley Hospital Medical Center, Inc. v. NLRB, the Ninth Circuit noted that the Board has again “changed its mind” and readopted a prior rule that prohibits employers from unilaterally ceasing dues checkoff upon expiration of a CBA. The Ninth Circuit found that the Board had the discretion to adopt its preferred rule and that it applied a permissible interpretation of the NLRA.

This is just another example of the changing tide on labor-management relations under the current Biden Board, which is notoriously and admittedly pro-labor. And employers who are approaching the end of CBAs should be careful not to stop dues checkoff unless the assignment specifically states that it should stop at the end of the contract. At least for now.