The Massachusetts Senate voted on Thursday, September 19 to override Governor Baker’s veto of An Act Relative to Collective Bargaining Dues.
The House and Senate enacted the bill earlier this summer, but Governor Baker vetoed the bill citing privacy concerns. The Senate reaffirmed their commitment to protecting public unions’ ability to effectively represent all workers in labor agreements in their 39-1 vote to pass this bill. Having also passed the House this week, this vote ensures it will now become law.
An Act Relative to Collective Bargaining Dues would enable public sector unions to charge reasonable fees of non-members for costs related to representation. The decision to charge workers who choose not to pay union dues would be optional and left to the organization’s discretion. The legislation would also ensure the union has access to appropriate worker contact information and codifies a union’s ability to meet with newly hired employees on worksites.
“I am proud to see the Legislature’s unwavering commitment to protecting the Constitutional right to organize and collectively bargain effectively as a basic tenant of our democracy,” said Senator Joseph Boncore (D-Winthrop), who was the lead sponsor of the bill this session. “The Commonwealth has an absolute interest in supporting working men and women in navigating the new landscape of collective bargaining. This bill represents the collaborative efforts between the largest public-sector unions to put working families first.”
In its 5-4 ruling in 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court weakened the ability of public sector unions to advocate for workers — both members and non-members — in contractual and collective bargaining activities. The decision significantly limited a union’s authority to charge fees of non-members, potentially cutting off critical resources used in the effort to fairly represent all workers at the negotiating table.
Following the General Court’s override of the Governor’s veto, the bill will now become law.