Agency Shop Law & Legal Definition


An agency shop is a workplace where even if workers do not join the union, they must still pay the equivalent of dues to the union. In collective bargaining agreements with an agency shop provision, nonmembers of a union are required to pay the membership fee or a representation fee for contract negotiations, administration, and grievance processing. Payment of the membership or representation fees often becomes a condition of employment and those who refuse to pay are subject to discharge.

Employee organizations argue that in accordance with the law, the exclusive bargaining agent must represent all employees in the unit whether they are members of the union or not. Unions representing employees claim that it is unfair for nonmembers to receive these few benefits that dues-paying members receive. Under federal law, agency shop fee payers may request a refund of any part of their agency shop fee which "represents the employee's pro-rata share of expenditures in aid of activities or causes of a political or ideological nature only incidentally related to terms and conditions of employment."

A modified agancy shop is one where membership or the obligation to pay dues are conditioned on certain criteria. For example, one city provides that a bargaining unit employee is subject to the Agency Shop provision IF: · The employee’s "First Regular Date" is ON OR AFTER the "Date of Implementation," OR · The employee cancels union membership, IRRESPECTIVE of his/her First Regular Date.