1998 Regular Session
By: Representatives Johnson, Barnett (116th), Chaney, Formby, Brown, King
House Bill 1126
AN ACT TO CREATE THE "WORKER PAYCHECK FAIRNESS ACT" FOR THE PURPOSE OF INSURING THAT ALL WORKERS HAVE SUFFICIENT INFORMATION ABOUT THEIR RIGHTS REGARDING THE PAYMENT OF DUE OR FEES TO LABOR ORGANIZATIONS AND THE USES OF SUCH DUES AND FEES; TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS; TO PROVIDE THAT CERTAIN REPORTS SHALL BE FILED WITH THE SECRETARY OF STATE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "Worker Paycheck Fairness Act."
SECTION 2. The Legislature finds the following:
(a) Workers who pay dues or fees to a labor organization shall not, as a matter of law, be required to pay to that organization any dues or fees supporting activities that are not necessary to performing the duties of the exclusive representative of the employees in dealing with the employer on labor-management issues;
(b) Many labor organizations use portions of the dues or fees they collect from the workers they represent for activities that are not necessary to performing the duties of the exclusive representative of the employees in dealing with the employer on labor-management issues. These dues may be used to support political, social or charitable causes or many other noncollective bargaining activities. Unfortunately, many workers who pay such dues or fees have insufficient information both about their rights regarding the payment of dues or fees to a labor organization and about how labor organizations spend employee dues or fees; and
(c) It is a fundamental tenet of the nation and this state that all men and women have a right to make individual and informed choices about the political, social or charitable causes they support, and the law should protect that right to the greatest extent possible.
SECTION 3. The purpose of this act is to ensure that all workers have sufficient information about their rights regarding the payment of dues or fees to labor organizations and the uses of employee dues and fees by labor organizations and that the right of all workers to make individual and informed choices about the political, social or charitable causes they support is protected to the greatest extent possible.
SECTION 4. (1) (a) A labor organization accepting payment of any dues or fees from a member must secure from each member prior, voluntary, written authorization for any portion of such dues or fees which will be used for activities not necessary to performing the duties of the exclusive representative of employees in dealing with the employer on labor-management issues.
(b) Such written authorization shall clearly state that a member shall not be required to provide such authorization and that if such authorization is provided, the member agrees to allow any dues or fees paid to the labor organization to be used for activities which are not necessary to performing the duties of exclusive representative and which may be political, social or charitable in nature.
(2) An authorization described in subsection (1)(a) of this section shall remain in effect for no more than twelve (12) months from the date it is made by the member. Such revocation shall be effective upon thirty (30) days' written notice.
(3) (a) Any labor organization which violates this section or Section 7 of this act shall be liable to the affected member for damages equal to the amount of the dues or fees accepted in violation of this section, the interest on such amount calculated at the prevailing rate, an additional amount as liquidated damages equal to the sum of such amount and interest and such equitable relief as may be appropriate.
(b) An action to recover the damages or equitable relief prescribed in paragraph (a) of this subsection may be maintained against any labor organization in any federal or state court of competent jurisdiction by any one or more members for and on behalf of the member or members and other members similarly situated.
(c) The court in such action shall allow, in addition to any judgment awarded to the plaintiff, a reasonable attorney's fee, reasonable expert witness fees and other costs of the action to be paid by the defendant.
(d) An action may be brought under this subsection not later than two (2) years after the date the member knew or should have known that dues or fees were accepted or spent by a labor organization in violation of this act, except that such period shall be extended to three (3) years in the case of a wilful violation.
SECTION 5. An employer whose employees are represented by a collective bargaining representative shall be required to post a notice in conspicuous places in and about its plants and offices, including all places where notices to employees are customarily posted, informing employees that any labor organization accepting payment of any dues or fees from an employee must secure from each employee prior, voluntary, written authorization if any portion of such dues or fees will be used for activities not necessary to performing the duties of the exclusive representative of the employees in dealing with the employer on labor-management issues.
SECTION 6. (1) Every labor organization shall be required to attribute and report expenses in such detail as necessary to allow members to determine whether such expenses were necessary to performing the duties of the exclusive representative of employees in dealing with the employer on labor-management issues.
(2) Any labor organization in the State of Mississippi required to file a report or other document under Section 201(c) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, shall file a copy of any such report or document with the Secretary of State. Upon written request, the Secretary of State shall make available a copy of such report or other document in accordance with Section 25-61-1 et seq.
SECTION 7. It is unlawful for any labor organization or any other organization to coerce, intimidate, threaten, interfere with or retaliate against any employee or member in the exercise of, or on account of having exercised, any right granted or protected by this act.
SECTION 8. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1998.