Source: Kimberly Kemper, Employment Alert, Volume 36 Issue 12, June 13, 2019
Following Wisconsin’s enactment of a right-to-work law that curtailed dues checkoff, 2015 Wisconsin Act 1, employer Metalcraft of Mayville, Inc. ceased deducting union dues from its unit employees’ paychecks and remitting those dues to the union, District Lodge No. 10, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers of America, AFL-CIO. The employer also communicated with its employees regarding this action, the state right-to-work law, and its understanding of employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). An administrative law judge found that by failing to deduct and remit dues to the Union for several months in 2016, Metalcraft modified its collective bargaining agreement with the Union within the meaning of § 8(d) of the NLRA, in violation of § 8(a)(5) and (1). In addition, the judge found that the employer’s related communications to employees undermined the Union in violation of § 8(a)(1). The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reversed. It held that because Metalcraft reasonably believed that the dues-checkoff authorizations in its possession did not conform to Wisconsin’s recently enacted right-to-work law, its cessation of dues checkoff was lawful. The NLRB also found that the employer’s communications to employees about the matter were lawful.