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Housing benefits.

President George Bush recently signed into law a bill which amends Section 302 of the Taft-Hartley Act to permit unions and their members' employers to establish jointly administered housing trusts. (Section 302(c)(7) of the TaftHartley Act specifies certain benefits that can be negotiated and jointly run by unions and employers under their collective bargaining agreements.) Funds from the trust would be used to subsidize employees' homes or apartments by helping to cover such costs as down payments, closing costs, bank fees, interest, and some rental costs. The benefits received by employees from housing trusts created under the new law would be subject to taxation, because the law did not amend the U.S. Tax Code.

The genesis of the amendment was the request for such legislation by Local 26 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees union. Local 26 represented about 5,000 workers at 20 hotels in the Boston, MA, area. The union and the hotels had negotiated a jointly administered housing trust fund in an agreement signed last December. Under the housing assistance provision, the hotels agreed to contribute 5 cents per hour for each hour worked by Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees members, provided Congress would authorize such arrangements by May 31, 1990.

Although the immediate effect of the amendment is to make the Local 26 agreement legal, it may lead labor and management representatives to become more aware of the legal change and, thus, housing assistance eventually may become a common bargaining issue.
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Title Annotation:Developments in industrial relations; unions and employers joint administration of housing trusts amendment to Taft-Hartley Act
Author:Cimini, Michael H.
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Jul 1, 1990
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