Fair Share Fees and Abood
Abood v Detroit Board of Education was a unanimous Supreme Court decision in 1977 that established that employees who choose not to become members of their union, but who still get the union raises and other benefits, can be charged fees to cover the cost of representing them.
The way it has worked is that employees covered by a union have a choice. An employee can choose to support the union by becoming a member – signing a membership card and paying dues to the union (see Why Membership Matters). Or an employee can choose not to become a member, and pay a “fair share fee” instead of dues.
1. Non-members are still covered by the union’s contract, get the same raises and other benefits negotiated by the union, and have the same right to representation if they have a problem at work.
2. Non-members are not allowed to participate in internal union decision-making, like voting on a contract, or voting for union representatives.
3. A non-member’s fee is less than or equal to dues. For SHARE, dues and fees are the same: in 2018 the amount is $17.94 every 2 weeks.
4. Employees covered by SHARE have a right to object to any part of their fee that goes to “partisan political or ideological activities” that they disagree with. They can annually request a rebate of those specific amounts from SHARE and from our parent union, AFSCME. (SHARE dues and fees cannot be given to political candidates, but can be used to to support legislation or lobbying. For example, SHARE leaders have lobbied at the State House about the cost and structure of the GIC health insurance.)