Types of Union Security Provisions

Types of Union Security Provisions
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  • 0:03 Union Security Provisions
  • 0:48 Shop Types
  • 2:26 Other Union Security…
  • 3:44 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ian Lord

Ian is a real estate investor, MBA, former health professions educator, and Air Force veteran.

Part of any labor union contract is the inclusion of provisions that allow the union to operate in the workplace. Let's review some of the common union security provisions that unions use to boost their finances and membership.

Union Security Provisions

John works at a local hardware store whose employees will soon likely be represented by a labor union. He has heard a lot of jargon thrown around, such as 'security provisions', and questions of who can work for the store once the union is in place. In this lesson, we will familiarize John with some of the different security provisions contained within union contracts and how these provisions impact the workers.

A union security provision, or clause, is a negotiated agreement in the union contract that makes membership enrollment and retention easier for the labor union. Security in this context means the ability of the union to maintain funding from membership dues and recruit new members more efficiently.

Shop Types

The first questions that come to John's mind are: if the union enters the workplace, what does that mean for current and future employees, and do they have to join the union? Workplaces can be described as different kinds of shops when it comes how employees are required participate in the union, if at all.

A closed shop is a workplace that would require John or any other employee to join the union before or immediately upon hiring. However, this form of shop is no longer used and has been illegal since 1947. It's more likely that John's store will become what is known as a union shop. Employees generally have until 30 days after their hiring to join the union, but ultimately must join to keep their jobs. Contingency union shop provisions make it so that if a state is no longer a right-to-work state, the shop automatically converts to a union shop. A right-to-work state is a state that does not allow union security provisions.

What if John doesn't want to join the union? Since labor unions negotiate on behalf of all employees in the workplace, they do not want employees in the workplace who do not pay union dues. The argument can be made that it isn't fair for some employees to benefit from the union's work without having to pay for services. An agency shop provision would require John to still pay union dues if he chooses not to join. Under the provision, if he does not pay the fee, he can lose his job. John has the legal right to request a partial refund for any dues that are used for political activities and don't directly relate to employee contract negotiations, grievances, or administrative costs.

Other Union Security Provisions

In a hiring hall provision, the employer hires union members who have been referred by the union. This is a common practice in the construction and maritime industries. The practice benefits unions because employees must be active dues-paying members who rely on the union to find work. Rather than go directly to the employer, workers typically find jobs through their union.

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