Law Extending Union Rights Goes Into Effect

On September 18, 2019, the Massachusetts Senate passed over Governor Baker’s veto of House Bill 3854, “An Act Relative To Collective Bargaining Dues”.  The bill was drafted in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME as an effort to strengthen union presence in the workplace.  The Legislature inserted emergency language in the Act’s introductory paragraph, making the Act immediately effective.

Specifically, the Law does the following:

  • Increase the amount of employee information that can be made available to employee organizations;
  • Permit employee organizations to require non-members to pay costs and fees, in advance, associated with arbitrations as well as relieve the organization from the responsibility of representation if the non-member fails to pay;
  • Permit employee organizations to, in addition to negotiating and enforcing contracts, provide employees with legal, economic or job-related services or benefits outside of the CBA;
  • Increase employee organization access to employees by allowing them to:
    • Meet with individual employees on work premises during the work day to investigate and discuss grievances, complaints and other workplace issues;
    • Conduct worksite meetings during breaks and before and after the workday to discuss workplace issues, negotiations, CBAs, and other matters of representation;
    • Meet with newly hired employees (without loss of pay to the employee) for a minimum of thirty (30) minutes within ten (10) days of hire;
    • Receive notice from school districts within ten (10) days of a hiring decision and that employee’s contact information;
    • Use a public employer’s e-mail system to communicate with bargaining unit members about union-related matters, provided the use does not create an unreasonable burden on network capacity or system administration;
    • Use government buildings and other facilities to conduct union meetings regarding negotiations, CBAs, grievances, and other workplace issues provided such use does not interfere with governmental operations, and allowing them to be charged for the maintenance, security and use of said building;
  • Consider an employer’s failure to comply with the above means of access to employees as a violation of G.L. c. 150E, § 10(a)(5);
  • Where payroll deductions are adopted by a County, City or Town, authorizations for payroll deductions of union dues may be irrevocable for a period of up to one (1) year.
  • Repeal laws requiring agency services fees.

If you have questions or concerns about this legislation, or labor law in general, please contact any of our attorneys.

This update is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.