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PSEA is fair to its fair share fee payers

By law, unions represent everyone covered by a collective bargaining agreement, even non-members. In places where fair share has been negotiated with the employer, non-members pay a “fair share fee” for bargaining and grievance services for their compensation, benefits, and working conditions.

The purpose of assessing fair share fees to non-members is to cover appropriate costs and to prevent individuals from becoming “free-riders,” who enjoy the benefits and services without fair payment. The U.S. Supreme Court has confirmed that it’s fair for unions to receive a fee for mandated services to non-members.

For the 2015-2016 year, a fee payer only paid 74 percent of the PSEA dues paid by a member. Fee payers paid 41.25 percent of NEA Dues. [1]

Chart: 2015-2016 Expenditures

How does PSEA spend the fair share fees paid by non-members in school districts?

Fees paid to PSEA are spent representing the interests of all employees in negotiating a collective bargaining agreement, as well as enforcing their collective bargaining agreements through processing grievances. The services of expert negotiators, research staff, lawyers, and other administrative staff are often required.

By law, unions are required to represent everyone under the contract whether they are members or not. If non-member employees are discharged unfairly, the union must provide legal representation to defend them. (This representation can often cost thousands of dollars.) If unions do not represent non-members, they can be sued for breach of this duty of fair representation. 

How do we know PSEA fair share fee calculation is fair and accurate?

We have had 22 hearings going back to 1988-89, and impartial arbitrators have sided with PSEA every time. Our calculations have been scrutinized; and our record is 22 and 0. This attests to the accuracy and thoroughness of our record keeping, as well as the fairness of the fee level.

What services aren’t included in fair share fees?

Fee payers do not pay for expenses that fall outside of Fair Share mandates. Fee payers are NOT charged for expenses such as:

  • Government Relations projects and programs that benefit all education professionals, such as advocating for adequate public education funding, fair and effective teacher evaluation, and keeping the promise for all school employee pensions,
  • any lobbying activities reportable under the Lobbyist Disclosure Act, including any lobbying on the issues listed above,
  • Education Services projects and programs which includes professional development programs that are restricted to members only,
  • strike loans,
  • legal representation in matters unrelated to  the collective bargaining agreement such as unemployment compensation hearings, certification or licensure proceedings, and enforcement of statutory or constitutional rights though a court action (as opposed to a grievance),
  • member legal support legal representation in matters unrelated to the collective bargaining agreement such as unemployment compensation hearings, certification or licensure proceedings, enforcement of statutory or constitutional rights though a court action (as opposed to a grievance).  
  • communications to members on a non-chargeable topic, including information about elections and education policy issues,
  • communications to the public, even though these communications often benefit all school employees, such as news releases sharing good news facts about student performance,
  • PSEA-PACE,
  • outreach to PSEA members regarding the election of pro-public education candidates,
  • efforts to help members contact their legislators, 
  • statewide legal issues, even though these issues affect all school employees, including court actions on the public release of employee home addresses,
  • member programs such as the Fabric of Unionism Art program,
  • internal and external organizing,
  • outreach to and recognition of members,
  • dues rebates,
  • pre-retirement workshops,
  • professional fees,
  • PSEA-Retired programs,
  • Student-PSEA program, 
  • financial education workshops,
  • member discount programs,
  • polling,
  • contributions to other organizations,
  • the CAPS community relations program.

According to law, no dues dollars are contributed to political candidates

It is important to remember this: Fair Share never forces anyone (districts, individual employees) to join a union and thus always preserves freedom of choice. Members are members; fee payers have elected not to join and simply pay a proportional, fair share fee. 


Footnotes

[1] Facts are based on actual 2015-16 expenses.

[2] According to law, no dues dollars are contributed to political candidates