Sweet contracts, tricky rules help California unions hold on after court loss

Most public sector union contracts have clauses that prevent workers from quitting until the month before the labor agreement ends. Some unions earlier this year released new agreements that compel members to commit to membership for at least one year.

Both of those membership clauses are intended to buffer unions from extreme swings in membership and to discourage workers from joining them only when they’re in trouble and facing workplace discipline.

Two of the biggest unions in the state, SEIU Local 1000 and the California Teachers Association, say they’ve moved away from that model. At least for now, they’re letting workers quit if they ask.

. . . AFSCME Local 3299, which represents University of California health workers, is charging former members a service fee that’s equivalent to full dues. John de Los Angeles, spokesman for AFSCME 3299, said the union’s contract allows for the service fees and that members agreed to them when they joined.

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