What is a representation fee?
A representation fee covers the fair share for the cost of collective bargaining, contract enforcement, and local representation by the union. A fee payer is a member of the bargaining unit who has not joined the union but who enjoys the benefits such as, salary increases, equitable improvements on working conditions and grievance representation. A description of the representation fee can be found in the current CBA (2015-17): Article 26.10.1-2 (pgs. 59-60). It reads:
26.10.1 The Union may enact a representation fee during the duration of this contract. If the Union chooses to enact a representation fee, the College shall collect the representation fee according to the provisions of RCW 41.76.045.
26.10.2 If a faculty asserts a right of non-association based on bona fide religious tenets or teachings of a church or religious body of which such faculty is a member, they shall pay to a nonreligious charity or other charitable organization an amount of money equivalent to the union representation fee. The Union will follow the process specified in RCW 41.76.045 to determine the actual charity or charitable organization.
We feel it is important that we educate our members about representation fees and how they specifically pertain to the UFE. Over time, we have learned more about the demands of maintaining this advocacy for our campus community. We feel that all faculty should share more broadly in the costs of representation, just as all faculty have universally enjoy the benefits of representation. The UFE Coordinating Committee and Stewards Council supported the ratification of a representation fee in 2016. A representation fee vote was held for UFE members in May, 2016. The UFE membership overwhelmingly ratified the implementation of a rep fee at that time.
In addition, the UFE also sought to restructure its membership dues to promote a more equitable and accessible means for faculty to join our union. By the summer of 2016, the UFE secured support for a new dues structure. With a new dues structure in place, the UFE will now begin a membership drive this fall. In addition, during the winter quarter we will begin collective bargaining preparations. With our focus on these initiatives – education about new dues structure, membership recruitment, and bargaining preparation – the UFE Coordinating Committee has decided not to implement the representation fee for the 2016-17 academic year. Instead, we are inviting faculty to join the UFE!
This new dues structure is as follows:
|United Faculty of WA State-TESC Chapter Dues Structure and Rates 2016-17|
|$75K +||$803.00||annually, or||$40.15||per pay period (20)|
|$60K – 74,999K||$672.00||annually, or||$33.60||per pay period (20)|
|$50K – 59,999K||$550.00||annually, or||$27.50||per pay period (20)|
|$40K – 49,999K||$392.00||annually, or||$19.60||per pay period (20)|
|Below 40K||$243.00||annually, or||$12.15||per pay period (20)|
We are aware of the current U.S. Supreme Court case Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association (CTA). A non-union teacher, Rebecca Friedrichs, is challenging 40 years of precedent where unions can collect representation fees from all employees covered by a CBA. (An analysis of the case can be found in a N.Y. Times op/ed entitled, “Strong Unions, Strong Democracy” at: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/12/opinion/strong-unions-strong-democracy.html.) Since unions are obligated to represent all workers, the CTA argues that, in solidarity, we share the financial responsibility to support unions and their work in behalf of labor. At present, without a full Supreme Court in place, the lower court’s decision to support representation fees remains in effect. (See the rep fee news links on our webpage sidebar for updates to the Supreme Court review of this case.)
If implemented, who would pay the representation fee?
The representation fee would apply to continuing and term faculty members who are not already members of the union, and as well as adjunct faculty who teach a minimum of 8 credits per quarter.
The UFE encourages everyone to become a member. Faculty can become a member at any time by contacting their union steward (for more info see: http://www.ufevergreen.org/join-us/). Over the last 10 years, the union has delivered tremendous benefits and support to all faculty.
What are the differences between fee payers and members?
All faculty will continue to enjoy the full benefits of the CBA and of UFE’s representation on all matters related to wages, benefits, and working conditions. Fee payers, however, are not members of the union. This means they are not eligible to vote on union matters, such as elections and contract ratification. At any time, a fee payer may opt for full membership and the opportunity to pay full dues.
What if non-union members have religious objections?
Religious objectors may opt out of paying the representation fee. If they opt out, they must divert an amount equal to union dues to a non-religious charitable organization mutually agreed upon by the religious objector and the local union. This right is guaranteed under the RCW. The Public Employment Relations Commission states that public employees have a right of non-association under state laws if:
- The employee is obligated to pay union dues or representation fee under a collective bargaining agreement covering his or her job; AND
- The claim of non-association is based on personally held religious beliefs, or teachings of a church or religious
- That is the only situation where the right of non-association applies, even if employees believe they have other valid reasons to be excluded from union representation or from paying union dues
When will the representation fee be implemented?
The CC and Stewards Council will consider implementation at a date to be determined.
Why was a representation fee considered?
In 2006, the UFE was formally recognized and began to work on behalf of our campus community. We organized the union based upon such goals as: increased compensation, improved working conditions for faculty, and support for adjunct faculty. Since 2006, the UFE has continued to successfully meet these goals:
- Consistent increases in base salary compensation. The only exception took place in 2014, when the Administration’s data showed a decrease in student enrollment and the UFE agreed to a one-year contract without a salary increase;
- Improved academic resources such as summer institutes, travel, sabbaticals; flexibility in meeting team teaching requirements and expectations in teaching all levels of the curriculum; and the recruitment and retention of students through lower class sizes, and:
- Better working conditions for adjunct and part-time faculty who have long experience and success at Evergreen.
How are dues currently spent?
These fees and members dues go directly to support our representation of faculty. Our local dues are quite low. This is in part because most of our activities are paid for by our larger statewide affiliates, the United Faculty of Washington State (UFWS), the Washington Education Association (WEA), and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Washington chapter.
- Our dues support our local work. The UFE chair has received up to ½ time release from teaching responsibilities or a quarter release, the cost of which is borne by our state affiliate, the WEA.
- Our dues pay for legal, technical and professional support for UFE members’ activities on campus. We have access to professional staff assistance for contract negotiation and implementation. We have access to legal counsel on all issues relating to wages, benefits, and working conditions. These resources are also provided by our statewide affiliates.
- Our dues insure that the UFE and other four-year higher ed institutions to have a statewide presence. This means that lobbyists representing over 100,000 Washington voters make sure that our items are on the agenda and that no doors are closed to us.
- Local dues also support our annual union budget, such as administrative costs, potential costs of arbitration, membership meetings, space rental, communication costs, membership education, child-care and our UFE Solidarity Fund.
(link to RepFee FAQ pdf full document)