Fair Share Fee

Q. What is fair share fee?

A. The law states that the exclusive bargaining representative has the duty of fair representation. This means that the exclusive bargaining representative (the local) is charged with the duty to represent each member of its bargaining unit fairly and without discrimination. Since all employees in the bargaining unit, including non-members, have a right to be fairly represented, they have a corresponding duty to bear a proportionate share of the cost of such representation. The fair share fee for non-members is equal to the amount that members pay. Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 4117.09 allows for fair share fee provisions if negotiated in the local association bargaining contract.

Q. Why should employees be required to support an organization against their will?

A. The support is not ideological; it is financial only. Fair share fee requires those whom the association must represent to help cover the costs of representing them.

Q. Doesn’t fair share fee amount to the same thing as compulsory unionism?

A. No. Fair share fee preserves an individual’s right to join or not to join the association.

Q. Do fee payers have all the rights and privileges of membership?

A. No. Fair share fee payers are not members. They do not have any voting rights or the right to participate in the governance of the local association, including the ability to vote on ratification of contracts for OEA, NEA, or the district association. They do not receive any membership benefits or promotional materials that are given to all members. Also, in the case of a strike or other crisis situation, they will not be eligible for interest free loans or guaranteed health insurance benefits, which are limited to members only. Educators Employment Liability Insurance Coverage and the Attorney Referral Program are member only benefits.

Q. How does fair share fee differ from membership dues?

A. Court decisions have held that non-members cannot be required to support the political or ideological activities of the association unrelated to the terms and conditions of employment. These are “non-chargeable” expenditures. The definition of fair share fee in the Public Employees Collective Bargaining Act is consistent with these court decisions. The local will collect 100% of the district, OEA, UniServ, & NEA fees. These fees will NOT include the 2011-2012 OEA one-time dues assessment. Additionally, the fair share fee payer will NOT be required to pay the local association fees.

Q. What if someone refuses to join and refuses to pay a fair share fee?

A. Where fair share fee language has been bargained, fair share fee deductions start the first payroll on or after January 15. State law requires the school district to deduct the fee whether or not the fee payer has signed a payroll deduction authorization. In addition, the local completes a membership enrollment form for the fair share fee payer and submits it to OEA prior to October 15, 2011.

Q. Does that mean no one would lose his or her job if they don’t want to be a member?

A. Correct. The school district merely deducts the fair share fee along with other payroll deductions, such as retirement contributions and income taxes.

Q. Who determines the amount of the fair share fee advance rebate?

A. The OEA will make the determination for the district, state, and national associations by reviewing each association’s budgets, financial statements, and other documentation to determine the chargeable portion of each association’s unified dues. The chargeable portion cannot reflect any expenditure for political or ideological causes not germane to the realm of collective bargaining, contract administration, or contract enforcement.
Fair share fee payers who timely object in writing to the association’s non-chargeable expenditures, will be entitled to an advance rebate check of the non-chargeable portion of their fair share fees. They will also be able to attend the arbitration hearing regarding this dispute. The American Arbitration Association (AAA) will select an arbitrator, and a hearing will be conducted in accordance with the AAA rules for an Impartial Determination of Union Fees.

Q. Can a fair share fee payer switch his/her membership to a member?

A. Yes, provided that the fair share fee payer has not received an advance rebate check from OEA. An enrollment form is required to be completed and signed by the member. If the fair share fee payer has received an advance rebate, they can change their status to a member by returning the advance rebate, along with the completed and signed enrollment form to OEA.

Q. Can a member switch his/her membership status to a fair share fee payer?

A. Yes. Once your local has sent the enrollment form and continuous roster to OEA and your employer payroll department, a member can change from a member to a fair share fee payer. However, if the member failed to notify the local association or OEA during the membership enrollment period of the current year, then dues for the current year will continue to be collected and specific rights, including notification rights due to fair share fee payers, will begin in the subsequent membership year.