A panel of the Board has found that an employer’s obligation to withhold union dues under a checkoff provision continues after expiration of collective bargaining agreement, unless there is an express provision that checkoff ends when the contract expires. Otherwise, the Board panel decided, the checkoff provision continues as part of the post-contract status quo. The Board’s decision, in Lincoln Lutheran of Racine, reaffirmed the rule stated in a previous decision that was invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Noel Canning.
If the collective bargaining agreement does not specifically provide that dues checkoff ends upon contract expiration, the employer can lawfully stop checkoff only if the employee revokes the dues authorization, or if there are no wages to which checkoff can apply. For this reason, an employer may want to negotiate for a checkoff termination clause to include in its next contract. Expressly and clearly addressing whether a provision or practice continues or is stopped at expiration of the contract may help the employer avoid uncertainty and achieve more leverage in bargaining.