The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 150 recently filed a declaration of disinterest petition, effectively walking away from a small bargaining unit of Naperville Public Works field supervisors. This resulted after three of the six members of the bargaining unit withdrew as union members since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME earlier this year, holding that public employees cannot be compelled to pay agency, or fair share, fees if they choose not to join the union.
Six employees comprised the Naperville field supervisor bargaining unit. After three employees withdrew from the union, the IUOE Local 150 filed the declaration of disinterest petition. The day after Local 150 filed its petition, the Illinois State Labor Board issued a revocation of prior certification, relieving the union of its representation responsibilities for the group.
The effects of the Janus decision might be felt most in smaller bargaining units like the Naperville field supervisors. As employees withdraw their dues deduction authorizations, unions have to make the tough decision whether to continue to represent bargaining units where half or fewer of bargaining unit eligible employees maintain their union membership. Regardless of how many employees are actual union members, the union is still responsible for representing all of the employees in the job titles it represents.
Police and fire unions report that very few employees have withdrawn from their unions post-Janus. Non-public safety employee unions, such as IUOE Local 150, SEIU, and AFSCME have experienced greater numbers of member withdrawals. Some of these unions have made it difficult for employees to withdraw their dues deduction authorization by restricting the time that an employee can take that action to once a year on the anniversary of their membership. Some unions have made it even more difficult by requiring in-person withdrawal and then limiting its office hours so that submitting their withdrawals is especially inconvenient to employees.
Litigation is certainly in the future over restrictions placed on employees in withdrawing their dues deduction authorization. Stay tuned to The Workplace Report for updates.