Are Dues Check-Off and Agency Shop in the Public Interest?

Source: Joseph Slater and Daniel DiSalvo, Public Sector Inc., Online Debates, April 2012

In 2011, Republican-majority legislatures in Wisconsin and Ohio passed, and governors in both states signed, legislation reforming government labor relations. Among the specific provisions, the measures sought to restrict collective bargaining for most public workers and eliminate government’s collection of union dues. A pitched battle has ensued, most notably in Wisconsin where Governor Scott Walker faces a recall election that some say will set the tone for November’s presidential contest. This debate will examine the arguments for and against “dues check-off” and “agency shop” legal provisions that benefit public-sector unions. These provisions, under which the government automatically withholds union dues from the salaries of both union and non-union public employees, have been the focal point of debate in Wisconsin and across the country.

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