Labor Relations

Dues, fees, and membership requirements

In many cases, UW employees who are represented by a union are required to pay regular dues or representation fees to the union.

Union’s duty to represent

Each union has a duty to represent any employee whose work/position falls within that union’s legal scope. Whether or not they utilize the union’s services, employees are often compelled to pay something in return for this representation – somewhat like an insurance plan.

“Union shop” and dues/fees requirements

This is known as a “union shop” requirement, meaning that employees in union-represented job classifications are required to pay the union in some form as a condition of employment. Many unions offer at least two payment “tiers,” which are commonly:

  • Dues: Union dues are the basic fees that employees pay on a monthly basis to the union in order to obtain full rights of membership (e.g., the right to participate in union votes, elections, and collective bargaining sessions).
  • Representation fees: Also known as a “fair share” or “nonassociation” fee, some unions allow employees to opt out of joining a union as a full dues-paying member, and instead pay a similar or reduced fee. This pays the union for its duty to represent you should you need it, but often does not provide full rights of membership.

Detailed information regarding each option may be obtained by contacting the appropriate union representative.

Know your contract

Failure to comply with the union shop requirement can result in termination of employment. It’s important that you read your contract. Common names for these clauses include “Union Security,” “Union Membership,” and “Dues Deduction.”

Union shop at the UW

Currently all unions at the UW have a union shop provision requiring payment of dues or fees to the union as a condition of employment.