Opting Out of Union Dues
From an economic perspective, itâ€™s worth noting that enabling unionized workers to opt out of paying union dues would create a classic free-rider problem. Indeed, Wikipediaâ€™s article on this topic uses collective bargaining as an example:
In the context of labor unions, a free rider is an employee who pays no union dues or agency shop fees, but nonetheless receives the same benefits of union representation as dues-payers. Under U.S. law, unions owe a duty of fair representation to all workers that they represent, regardless of whether they pay dues. Free riding has been a point of legal and political contention for decades. In Canadian labour law, the Rand formula (also referred to as automatic check-off) is a workplace situation in which the payment of trade union dues is mandatory . . .
From a political perspective, itâ€™s worth substantiating Mandrykâ€™s observation that this weekâ€™s musings directly contradict what Premier Wall said just six months ago during the provincial election campaign. As this screenshot shows, Wall tweeted the following clarification: â€œno opting out of union dues.â€
However, his governmentâ€™s consultation paper now includes the following question: â€œAre there any instances where union dues should not be collected in a situation where the employee has opted out?â€ (page 23).
The paper also contemplates strengthening the duty of fair representation (pages 18-19). Taken together, these proposals would require unions to devote more resources (contributed by dues-paying members) to representing people who choose not to pay dues. The apparent goal is not to â€œmodernizeâ€ labour legislation, but to undercut the viability of unions.