National Grievance for Failure to Withhold Dues

Yesterday, NTEU filed a national institutional grievance against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for failure to timely process Standard Form 1187, Request for Payroll Deductions for Labor Organization Dues, submissions and withhold dues in violation of Article 8 of the parties’ Consolidated Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Since January 2016, the agency has failed to commence dues withholding for a number of HHS and FDA employees. NTEU notified the agency of the problem on multiple occasions in January and February 2016 in an effort to resolve the matter informally, but the agency failed to respond.

The agency’s failure to commence timely dues withholding for employees is a violation of the CBA, federal law, and constitutes unfair labor practices. Article 8 of the CBA requires the agency to deduct and process voluntary allotments of dues. The agency’s failure to institute dues withholding for the individuals listed in the attachments constitutes a violation of Article 8. In addition, the agency’s actions constitute clear and patent breaches and a total repudiation of Article 8 of the CBA. The Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute, 5 U.S.C. § 7115, requires agencies to honor dues checkoff authorizations and requires expeditious processing. The agency’s failure to commence dues withholding thus constitutes a violation of 5 U.S.C. § 7115 and unfair labor practices under 5 U.S.C. §§ 7116(a)(1), (5), and (8).

As a remedy, NTEU requested that HHS take the following actions:

  1. Promptly commence dues withholding for the employees identified in the attached lists
  2. Reimburse NTEU for the dues money, plus interest, that should have been collected from the listed employees if dues withholding had been timely commenced
  3. Agree to not seek reimbursement from employees for any payments it makes to NTEU, thereby granting NTEU’s request for a blanket waiver of the overpayment made to the employees below when HHS improperly failed to withhold dues; the employees were in no way at fault for the agency’s failure to commence/continue dues withholding, and it would be against equity and good conscience to collect the back dues money from the employees
  4. Pay NTEU’s attorney’s fees for its actions in having to file and process this national grievance
  5. Any other appropriate remedies authorized by law, rule, or regulations

As always, I welcome and encourage your questions and comments.