Why Beck Rights Are Important To Employers

Employers of union workers should not continue to ignore Beck issues. They have a legitimate stake in communicating Beck safeguards to workers as a shared acknowledgment that protecting nonmembers’ rights is essential. Protection of a nonmember employee’s rights is the duty of both the employer and the union.

There are legal reasons why an employer should ensure that employees know their Beck rights. Where a union contract includes a dues check-off provision—a voluntarily signed authorization by the employer to permit deduction of union dues from the employee’s wages—the employer may become caught between the union’s demand for dues payments and the dissenting employee’s dispute regarding the proper amount of dues. When an employer enforces the collective bargaining agreement against the individual member on behalf of the union, it risks relying on the union’s accounting calculations and procedures. If these are defective, the employer violates the employee’s rights by discharging the employee.

This situation risks conflict and liability for an employer. An employer can guard against this by actively insuring that Beck opportunities are known by the employees and that adequate procedural safeguards are adhered to prior to taking any action enforcing the union security agreement.