Each year, SEIU 503 charges state employees hundreds of dollars in union dues and fees. However, much of the union’s budget goes towards political activity and other extraneous expenses unrelated to its core responsibilities of collective bargaining and workplace representation.
If you object to SEIU 503 overcharging you for workplace representation, you may choose to opt out of those charges.
U.S. Supreme Court decisions have long recognized that the First Amendment protects public employees from being forced to pay for a union’s political and ideological expenses (Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, 431 U.S. 209 (1977) and Lehnert v. Ferris Faculty Association, 500 U.S. 507 (1991)).
As a result of these decisions, any public employee has a constitutional right to become an “agency fee payer” by resigning formal union membership and paying a reduced workplace representation fee, which is less than full union membership dues.
An annual calculation by the union determines what percentage of your dues are “nonchargeable,” or refundable to you as an agency fee payer. For example, if the union estimates that 30 percent of its budget goes towards political and other nonessential activity during a given year, then an agency fee payer will pay a workplace representation fee that is 30 percent less than the amount of full union dues that year.
The Supreme Court has established that unions must provide this calculation to agency fee payers and explain the purposes for any portion of fees it collects from them (Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson, 475 U.S. 292 (1986)).
SEIU 503’s calculation of how much of your dues it spends on legitimate workplace representation and how much it spends on extraneous purposes is reported to all agency fee payers each February. The calculation for 2015-2016 is available here.
The nonchargeable percentage may be difficult to locate within SEIU’s accounting summary, but page six of the accompanying union letter reveals that over 20 percent of the union’s dues/fees in 2015 were used for activities unrelated to workplace representation.
If you object to SEIU 503’s overcharges and would rather make your own decisions about how your money is spent, then you may become an agency fee payer by requesting to pay the reduced workplace representation fee.
Because the representation fee covers the union’s core workplace activities, it has a responsibility to represent you fairly and without discrimination. The union will still represent you in collective bargaining, contract management and grievance processing, but you will no longer have to contribute to causes unrelated to workplace representation.
To become an agency fee payer, complete this form and mail it to the address provided.
* Choosing this option is your constitutional right. However, unions often place restrictions on when they will accept agency fee requests. For this reason, the forms provided on this page are addressed to the Freedom Foundation. We will submit your form and help you navigate any restrictions that may exist.