From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Sun Feb 25 2007 - 07:30:02 EST
A more controversial bill being pushed by [US Maryland DP Governor Martin] O'Malley would allow unions to charge fees to state employees whose interests they represent in collective bargaining, even employees who had not joined the union. That measure showed up unexpectedly last month in O'Malley's legislative package. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/24/AR2007022401189.html In 1999, the General Assembly codified the State's collective bargaining process, which granted bargaining rights to employees in the principal departments of the executive branch of State government. The 1999 legislation was amended to prohibit collective bargaining to include negotiations relating to the right of an employee organization to receive service fees from nonmembers. A service fee is a non-member's financial contribution to an employee organization to pay for negotiating contracts, representing employees in grievances, and other organization activities that benefit the non-member. The Governor's legislation would make it permissible for State collective bargaining negotiations to include the right of an employee organization to receive service fees. http://www.gov.state.md.us/pressreleases/070122b.html In Australia, the Green Party supported these kind of union service fees. However, Australia's Tony Abbot MP (Liberals) criticised the practice: "'Service fees' are an attempt by some trade union officials to introduce back door compulsory unionism. Compulsory 'service fees' are against the objects of the Workplace Relations Act's freedom of association provisions." http://mediacentre.dewr.gov.au/mediacentre/AllReleases/2001/May/Backdoorcompulsoryuniontacticremoved.htm This invited a retort from Dean Mighell (state secretary of the Electrical Trades Union of Australia) that the service fee was "fair" http://www.abc.net.au/am/stories/s301830.htm J.
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