H.R. 1625 (105th): Worker Paycheck Fairness Act

105th Congress, 1997–1998. Text as of Nov 08, 1997 (Reported by House Committee).

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HR 1625 RH

Union Calendar No. 231

105th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1625

[Report No. 105-397]

To ensure that workers have sufficient information about their rights regarding the payment of dues or fees to labor organizations and the uses of employee dues and fees by labor organizations.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

May 15, 1997

Mr. FAWELL (for himself, Mr. GINGRICH, Mr. ARMEY, Mr. BOEHNER, Ms. MOLINARI, Mr. GOODLING, Mr. BALLENGER, Mr. BARRETT of Nebraska, Mr. MCKEON, Mr. KNOLLENBERG, Mr. RIGGS, Mr. GRAHAM, Mr. MCINTOSH, Mr. NORWOOD, Mr. PETERSON of Pennsylvania, Mr. DEAL of Georgia, Mr. HILLEARY, Mr. PAXON, Mr. WATTS of Oklahoma, Mr. HERGER, Mr. HEFLEY, Mr. SNOWBARGER, Mrs. FOWLER, Mrs. MYRICK, Ms. DUNN, Mr. HAYWORTH, and Mr. SKEEN) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce

November 8, 1997

Additional sponsors: Mr. GREENWOOD, Ms. PRYCE of Ohio, Mr. SAM JOHNSON of Texas, Mr. MILLER of Florida, Mr. KOLBE, Mr. DELAY, Mr. GIBBONS, Mr. NETHERCUTT, Mr. COOK, Mrs. NORTHUP, Mr. BURR of North Carolina, Mr. SESSIONS, Mr. BACHUS, Mr. PARKER, Mr. COOKSEY, Mr. DICKEY, Mr. CUNNINGHAM, Mr. MCCOLLUM, Mr. CALVERT, Mr. CAMPBELL, Mr. CANADY of Florida, Mr. BEREUTER, Mr. BOB SCHAFFER of Colorado, Mr. HUNTER, Mr. MANZULLO, Mr. PACKARD, Ms. GRANGER, Mr. LINDER, Mr. COLLINS, Mr. HASTERT, Mr. BONO, Mr. GALLEGLY, Mr. ROHRABACHER, Mr. TALENT, Mr. PORTER, Mr. SCARBOROUGH, Mr. SOUDER, Mr. GOSS, Mr. COX of California, Mr. WAMP, Mr. SMITH of Michigan, Mr. SMITH of Oregon, Mr. SMITH of Texas, Mr. FOX of Pennsylvania, Mr. UPTON, Mr. CHRISTENSEN, Mr. PITTS, Mr. GANSKE, Mr. JONES, Mr. HANSEN, Mr. STUMP, Mr. BUNNING, Mr. TAUZIN, Mr. BAKER, Mr. SHUSTER, Mr. EHRLICH, Mr. COBLE, Mr. OXLEY, Mr. HYDE, Mr. SPENCE, Mr. INGLIS of South Carolina, Mr. BLILEY, Mr. WHITE, Mr. ARCHER, Mr. LARGENT, Mr. SENSENBRENNER, Mr. DREIER, Mr. BASS, Mr. CRANE, Mr. BONILLA, Mr. BARTON of Texas, Mrs. CHENOWETH, Mr. BATEMAN, Mr. DOOLITTLE, Mr. HUTCHINSON, Mr. TAYLOR of North Carolina, Mr. ISTOOK, Mr. BRADY, Mr. CHABOT, Mr. BURTON of Indiana, Mr. CANNON, Mr. MICA, Mr. MCCRERY, Mr. MCINNIS, and Mr. Bryant

November 8, 1997

Reported with an amendment, committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union, and ordered to be printed

[Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed in italic]

[For text of introduced bill, see copy of bill as introduced on May 15, 1997]


A BILL

To ensure that workers have sufficient information about their rights regarding the payment of dues or fees to labor organizations and the uses of employee dues and fees by labor organizations.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Worker Paycheck Fairness Act’.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds the following:

      (1) Workers who pay dues or fees to a labor organization may not, as a matter of law, be required to pay to that organization any dues or fees supporting activities that are not necessary to performing the duties of the exclusive representative of the employees in dealing with the employer on labor-management issues.

      (2) Many labor organizations use portions of the dues or fees they collect from the workers they represent for activities that are not necessary to performing the duties of the exclusive representative of the employees in dealing with the employer on labor-management issues. These dues may be used to support political, social, or charitable causes or many other noncollective bargaining activities. Unfortunately, many workers who pay such dues or fees have insufficient information both about their rights regarding the payment of dues or fees to a labor organization and about how labor organizations spend employee dues or fees.

      (3) It is a fundamental tenet of this Nation that all men and women have a right to make individual and informed choices about the political, social, or charitable causes they support, and the law should protect that right to the greatest extent possible.

SEC. 3. PURPOSE.

    The purpose of this Act is to ensure that all workers have sufficient information about their rights regarding the payment of dues or fees to labor organizations and the uses of employee dues and fees by labor organizations and that the right of all workers to make individual and informed choices about the political, social, or charitable causes they support is protected to the greatest extent possible.

SEC. 4. WRITTEN CONSENT.

    (a) IN GENERAL-

      (1) AUTHORIZATION- A labor organization accepting payment of any dues or fees from an employee as a condition of employment pursuant to an agreement authorized by Federal law must secure from each employee prior, voluntary, written authorization for any portion of such dues or fees which will be used for activities not necessary to performing the

duties of the exclusive representative of the employees in dealing with the employer on labor-management issues.

      (2) REQUIREMENTS- Such written authorization shall clearly state that an employee may not be required to provide such authorization and that if such authorization is provided, the employee agrees to allow any dues or fees paid to the labor organization to be used for activities which are not necessary to performing the duties of exclusive representation and which may be political, social, or charitable in nature.

    (b) REVOCATION- An authorization described in subsection (a) shall remain in effect until revoked. Such revocation shall be effective upon 30 days written notice.

    (c) CIVIL ACTION BY EMPLOYEES-

      (1) LIABILITY- Any labor organization which violates this section or section 7 shall be liable to the affected employee--

        (A) for damages equal to--

          (i) the amount of the dues or fees accepted in violation of this section;

          (ii) the interest on the amount described in clause (i) calculated at the prevailing rate; and

          (iii) an additional amount as liquidated damages equal to the sum of the amount described in clause (i) and the interest described in clause (ii); and

        (B) for such equitable relief as may be appropriate.

      (2) RIGHT OF ACTION- An action to recover the damages or equitable relief prescribed in paragraph (1) may be maintained against any labor organization in any Federal or State court of competent jurisdiction by any one or more employees for and in behalf of--

        (A) the employees; or

        (B) the employees and other employees similarly situated.

      (3) FEES AND COSTS- The court in such action shall, in addition to any judgment awarded to the plaintiff, allow a reasonable attorney’s fee, reasonable expert witness fees, and other costs of the action to be paid by the defendant.

      (4) LIMITATION- An action may be brought under this subsection not later than 2 years after the date the employee knew or should have known that dues or fees were accepted or spent by a labor organization in violation of this Act, except that such period shall be extended to 3 years in the case of a willful violation.

SEC. 5. NOTICE.

    An employer whose employees are represented by a collective bargaining representative shall be required to post a notice, of such size and in such form as the Department of Labor shall prescribe, in conspicuous places in and about its plants and offices, including all places where notices to employees are customarily posted, informing employees that any labor organization accepting payment of any dues or fees from an employee as a condition of employment pursuant to an agreement authorized by Federal law must secure from each employee prior, written authorization if any portion of such dues or fees will be used for activities not necessary to performing the duties of the exclusive representative of the employees in dealing with the employer on labor-management issues.

SEC. 6. DISCLOSURE TO WORKERS.

    (a) EXPENSES REPORTING- Section 201(b) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 is amended by adding at the end the following new sentence: ‘Every labor organization shall be required to attribute and report expenses in such detail as necessary to allow members to determine whether such expenses were necessary to performing the duties of the exclusive representative of the

employees in dealing with the employer on labor-management issues.’

    (b) DISCLOSURE- Section 201(c) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 is amended--

      (1) by inserting ‘and employees required to pay any dues or fees to such organization’ after ‘members’; and

      (2) inserting ‘or employee required to pay any dues or fees to such organization’ after ‘member’ each place it appears.

    (c) WRITTEN REQUESTS- Section 205(b) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 is amended by adding at the end the following new sentence: ‘Upon written request, the Secretary shall make available complete copies of any report or other document filed pursuant to section 201.’.

SEC. 7. RETALIATION AND COERCION PROHIBITED.

    It shall be unlawful for any labor organization to coerce, intimidate, threaten, interfere with, or retaliate against any employee in the exercise of, or on account of having exercised, any right granted or protected by this Act.

SEC. 8. REGULATIONS.

    The Secretary of Labor shall prescribe such regulations as are necessary to carry out the amendments made by section 5 not later than 60 days after the enactment of this Act and shall prescribe such regulations as are necessary to carry out the amendments made by section 6 not later than 120 days after the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 9. EFFECTIVE DATE AND APPLICATION.

    This Act shall be effective immediately upon enactment, except that sections 4 and 5 pertaining to worker consent and notice shall take effect 90 days after enactment and section 6 pertaining to disclosure shall take effect 150 days after enactment.