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Updated: Nov 17, 2022

In Valley Hospital II, the NLRB ruled that dues checkoff must continue after the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement until a new agreement or a lawful bargaining impasse is reached. The Board strengthened the duty to maintain the status quo after a contract’s expiration by declining to extend an exception to dues checkoffs. They affirmed their reasoning in Lincoln Lutheran which found there are limited exceptions to the duty in line with the purpose of the NLRA to encourage collective bargaining.

The Board held collecting union dues is a mandatory subject of bargaining and as such is a statutory duty under Section 8(a)(5) which survives the expiration of the contract. They rejected the employer’s position that dues checkoff is a right “created by the contract” and as such expires with the CBA. The Valley Hospital II opinion overturns a 2019 decision, Valley Hospital I. NLRB Chairman Lauren McFarran explained that the prior Board’s exception to the duty to maintain the status quo, as it related to dues checkoff, was never cogently explained, resulting in inconsistent application in Board law. Of Valley Hospital II, she said, “[t]oday the Board definitively resolves this issue by confirming that it is a violation of the Act to unilaterally stop dues checkoff when a contract expires.”

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