Special Legal Notice to Workers Paying Agency Fees to the CWA 

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) union’s annual “window period” for filing objections under the Policy on Agency Fee Objections (“Policy”) has been extended until the end of June. For more details on the CWA union’s Policy, click here (pdf).

Employees are no longer required to object annually and can file a continuous objection. Make sure that you state in your objection that it is a continuing objection. If the CWA refuses to honor your continuing objection, please let us know so that we can take appropriate steps to enforce your right to object on a continuing basis.

The CWA Policy, set up to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision in Communications Workers v. Beck, states that objecting nonmembers may not be required to pay fees for union activities other than collective bargaining and contract administration. Only nonmembers are eligible under that Policy, and this special legal notice addresses their rights. If you would like to use a form letter to invoke your rights under the policy, click here. You must postmark your objection letter before the end of June 2011.

Under the Policy, employees who resign union membership may object within 30 days of becoming an agency fee payer (this window period, which usually occurs in May, has been extended until the end of June). If you object outside the “window period," you should state the date of your resignation in your objection letter. Members who resign should send resignation letters to the CWA Local in which they maintain membership, with a copy to the national Secretary-Treasurer. All employees who wish to object should send objection letters to the CWA Agency Fee Administrator.

You should, of course, retain a copy of your signed objection letter. You should mail it by certified mail, return receipt requested, or use a private delivery service, to prove mailing and CWA’s receipt of your letter. As you know, the Post Office will provide a white slip when you deposit certified mail and return a green card after CWA receives the letter. If you mail your letter that way, you should keep copies of both Post Office receipts. This would avoid any later question about whether or not you complied with the “window period.”

You can mail objections as a group. You may distribute copies of the form letter below to other employees. If you do the mailing as a group, you should retain copies of all individual objection letters and all certified mail receipts. You should object by individual letters, not by a “petition.”

A six-month limitation period applies to Beck-enforcement cases under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and similar court cases under the Railway Labor Act (RLA). If CWA does not send you a check after you object, or rejects your objection on some basis, you must file any unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB, or sue for unfair representation under the RLA, within six months of the date of your objection letter. Otherwise, your claim may not be considered. So, if you have any problem with getting your reduction or refund under the Policy, please let the Foundation know before it is too late. A Foundation attorney will then immediately contact CWA’s attorney to straighten out the problem, if possible, and file an unfair labor practice charge or lawsuit for you, if necessary.



Sample Letter:

 

(May/June) __, 2011

 

Agency Fee Administrator
Communications Workers of America
501 Third Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20001-2797

Re: Agency Fee Objection

Dear Agency Free Administrator:

This letter invokes my rights under the CWA's Policy on Agency Free Objections and United States Supreme Court's decisions, such as Communications Workers v. Beck, Ellis v. Railway Clerks, Abood v. Detroit of Education. I wish to reduce the "dues" or agency fee that I owe to my prorated share of the CWA's costs of "collective bargaining, contract administration, and grievance adjustment," as defined by the courts and the settlement agreement in Abrams v. Communications Workers. I object to extractions for any other purpose. This objection is permanent and continuing in nature and, pursuant to the revised objection policy posted on CWA's website, should be honored for as long as I remain in this bargaining unit.

Please see that my legal rights are fully and promptly protected.

Sincerely yours,

______________________
(Name)

______________________
(Address)

______________________
(City & Zip Code)

______________________
(Employer)

______________________
(Social Security No.)

______________________
(CWA Local No.)


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