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This notice is for all employees working under a Montana Nurses' Association collective-bargaining agreement that contains a union security clause. A union security clause requires, as a condition of employment, that an employee pay MNA membership dues and fees. MNA membership is a valuable asset for working nurses.

Federal and state labor laws grant employers and union the right to enter into agreements requiring workers to join and maintain their membership in a union as a condition of employment. This right is consistent with the democratic principle of majority rule and it ensures that everyone who benefits from a union's representation shares the union's financial support.

Over the years, the courts and administrative agencies that enforce the labor laws have limited the enforcement of union security clauses. Specifically, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that individuals covered by a collective-bargaining agreement containing a union security clause may not be required to join the union and may only be required to pay that percentage of full union dues and fees that are germane to the collective bargaining process. In other words, workers can be required to financially support a union but they cannot be required join the union and they can only be required to pay that percentage of the union's customary dues and fees that is germane to the union's role as the collective-bargaining representative.

MNA spends the vast majority of its funds on activities related to the representation of its members. These expenditures are considered to be germane to the collective-bargaining process and must be paid for by all individuals working under MNA contracts containing union security clause language. MNA also has spent funds on activities such organizing new bargaining units and legislative lobbying. MNA believes that money spent on these activities advances one of our fundamental purposes --nurses helping nurses to better their lives. However, the U.S. Supreme Court does not consider these activities to be germane to the collective-bargaining process.

Employees employed under a contract containing a union security clause who choose not be join MNA or who resign their membership from MNA lose benefits, rights and privileges to which they would have been or were entitled to as MNA members. For example, these employees lose the right to vote on the acceptance of agreements negotiated with their employer, the right to vote on any dues increase, and the right to run and vote in the election of MNA officers. They lose the right to attend, speak and vote at any MNA meeting.

In short, non-members elect to give up important rights, benefits and privileges. Moreover, it is illegal for an employer to compensate such workers in any way for the loss of these valuable rights. However, non-member are still members of the collective-bargaining unit in which they work, they are entitled to the benefits of the collective-bargaining agreement covering their employment and MNA and its officers and employees will provide them with the representation required by the law.

Individuals employed under a union security clause maintain the right to object to being a member of MNA and may resign their membership at any time. However, those who either object to ever being a member or who were once members and then later resign must pay MNA an amount equal to the percentage of dues paid my members of MNA which are germane to collective bargaining process. That percentage includes the expenditures necessarily or reasonably incurred for the purpose of performing the duties of an exclusive representative of the employees in dealing with the employer or labor-management issues including not only the direct costs of negotiating and administering collective-bargaining contracts and of settling grievances and disputes, but also the expenses of activities or undertakings normally or reasonably employed to implement or effectuate the duties of MNA as the exclusive representative of the employees in a bargaining unit. The percentage of nonchargeable expenses for MNA which will be effective for the months of January 2019 through December 2019 is based on the experience from the 2017 calendar year. In other words, those who are covered by a collective-bargaining agreement containing a union security clause and who elect not be members and who elect to pay the reduced fee must pay the fair share percentage of the dues assessed members of MNA employed in the same bargaining unit.

In addition to other avenues of relief available under the law, a non-member may challenge MNA's classification or calculation of expenditures used by MNA to determine the percentage of chargeable expenses germane to the collective-bargaining process before a neutral arbitrator appointed by the American Arbitration Association pursue to its Rules for Impartial Determination of Union Fees. Any objection a non-member makes may be coordinated or consolidated with other objections from other non-members before a single arbitrator.

In such a challenge, MNA has to justify its calculations and determinations. All hearings will be conducted in Helena or Clancy, Montana. The arbitrator's fees and expenses will be paid by MNA. However, an objector will have to pay his for his or her own expenses and the fees, costs and expenses of his or her witnesses and attorneys.

Once a written objection is received from an individual, MNA will adhere to the rules established by the courts and by the administrative agencies that enforce the labor laws as to the handling of the objector's fees until the arbitrator has issued his or her ruling. Generally, the objector must pay the fees as determined by MNA's calculations. Those fees will be placed in a separate interest bearing account. If the arbitrator's decision increases the percentage of nonchargeable expenditures, the appropriate portion of the fees will be refunded to the objector, plus interest earned. All reduced service fee payers will then pay the adjusted amount as determined by the arbitrator. If the arbitrator's decision approves the MNA's calculation, no adjustment will be made in the amount of the fee and the total fees paid and placed in the separate interest-bearing account will be released to MNA.

Individuals who choose to file objections to MNA's fee calculations must file the objection in writing addressed to MNA, 20 Old Montana State Hwy, Clancy, Montana 59634. The written objection must include the objectors name, address, phone number, social security number, employer and work location. In order for MNA to understand the nature of the objector's challenge, the objector is urged to also include a brief statement concerning the nature of the objection, including the objector's opinion as to the appropriate percentage for non-chargeable expenses. This requirement to file a letter of objection and request for a hearing is an annual requirement. Objection will not be presumed. Agency fee payers who do not file a timely notice of objection shall be deemed to have waived any right to a hearing to challenge the estimated percentage of reduction of that year's agency fee.
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Title Annotation:Notice
Publication:The Pulse
Date:Nov 1, 2018
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