DATE: March 29, 2004

SUBJECT: Department of Labor (DOL); Notice of Employee Rights Concerning Payment of Union Dues or Fees

SOURCE: Federal Register, March 29, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 60, page 16375

AGENCIES: DOL, Employment Standards Administration, Office of Labor-Management Standards

ACTION: Final Rule

SYNOPSIS: DOL is publishing a new regulation to implement Executive Order 13201, Notification of Employee Rights Concerning Payment of Union Dues or Fees, dated February 17, 2001, which requires non-exempt federal contractors and subcontractors to post notices alerting nonunion employees that they cannot be forced to pay fees to unions to support activities not related to collective bargaining, contract administration, and grievance adjustment.

EDITOR'S NOTE: For more on the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that resulted in this final rule, see the October 1, 2001, FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH "Department of Labor (DOL); Notice of Employee Rights Concerning Payment of Union Dues or Fees."

For more on EO 13201, see the February 22, 2001, FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH "Executive Order 13201, Notification of Employee Rights Concerning Payment of Union Dues or Fees."

EFFECTIVE DATE: April 28, 2004.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Don Todd, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Labor-Management Programs, Office of Labor-Management Standards, Employment Standards Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room N-5605, Washington, DC 20210; 202-693-0122 (voice) or 800-877-8339 (TTY/TDD).

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: On February 17, 2001, President Bush signed EO 13201 "to promote economy and efficiency in government procurement" by requiring government contractors to inform their workers that federal labor laws give those workers certain rights related to union membership and use of union dues and fees." EO 13201 provides the text of a contract clause that federal agencies must include in all nonexempt contracts and subcontracts. That clause requires contractors to post a notice, and specifies the exact language of the notice. The clause also requires contractors to include the same clause in their nonexempt subcontracts and purchase orders, and describes generally the sanctions, penalties, and remedies that may be imposed if the contractor fails to satisfy its obligations under the EO and the clause.

The text of the notice informs employees that they cannot be required to join, or maintain membership in, a union to keep their jobs; that under certain conditions, the law permits a union and an employer to enter into a union-security agreement requiring employees to pay dues and fees to the union; and that, even where such union-security agreements exist, employees who are not union members can only be required to pay their share of union costs relating to certain specific activities. The notice also provides a general description of the remedies to which employees may be entitled if these rights have been violated, and provides contact information for further information about those rights and remedies.

On April 18, 2001, DOL issued an Interim Procedural Notice (IPN) to provide guidance to contractors and subcontractors on how to comply with the EO pending publication of a final rule. The IPN authorized covered contractors to fulfill their posting obligations under the EO by replicating the text of the EO's notice and posting it in conspicuous places in and about their plants and offices, including all places where notices to employees are customarily posted.

On October 1, 2001, DOL published a NPRM to add a new Part 470 to Volume 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (29 CFR Part 470), Obligations of Federal Contractors and Subcontractors; Notice of Employee Rights Concerning Payment of Union Dues or Fees. Comments on the NPRM were due on November 30, 2001. However, on October 22, 2001, because postal workers at the U.S. Postal Service's Brentwood mail distribution center in Washington, DC, were found to have been exposed to anthrax bacteria, DOL temporarily closed its mailrooms in the Washington metropolitan area that received mail from Brentwood, including the mailroom in the Frances Perkins Building (FPB). The FPB mailroom did not reopen until November 26, 2001, and this produced a substantial backlog. Therefore, on December 18, 2001, DOL published a notice that listed the six commenters whose comments had been received by the deadline, and asked any other commenters who might have submitted comments via U.S. mail before the deadline to supply duplicate copies of such comments. The deadline for receipt of such duplicate copies was January 2, 2002 (see the December 18, 2001, FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH "Department of Labor (DOL); Notice of Employee Rights Concerning Payment of Union Dues or Fees"). Two additional sets of comments were received, but neither set appeared to be a duplicate copy of comments submitted before the original deadline -- in fact, both sets appeared to be new comments. So DOL decided not to analyze the two new sets of comments.

Based on the six sets of comments, the NPRM is adopted as final with several minor changes. The new 29 CFR Part 470 consists of the following:

Subpart A -- Preliminary Matters
     470.1What definitions apply to this part?
     470.2Under the Executive Order, what employee notice clause must be included in Government contracts?
     470.3What contracts are exempt from the employee notice clause requirement?
     470.4What contractors or facilities are exempt from the posting requirements?
Subpart B -- Compliance Evaluations, Complaint Investigations, and Enforcement Procedures
     470.10How will the Department determine whether a contractor is in compliance with the Executive Order and this part?
     470.11What are the procedures for filing and processing a complaint?
     470.12What are the procedures to be followed when a violation is found during a complaint investigation or compliance evaluation?
     470.13Under what circumstances, and how, will enforcement proceedings under the Executive Order be conducted?
     470.14What sanctions and penalties may be imposed for noncompliance, and what procedures will the Department follow in imposing such sanctions and penalties?
     470.15Under what circumstances must a contractor be provided the opportunity for a hearing?
     470.16Under what circumstances may a contractor be reinstated?
Subpart C -- Ancillary Matters
     470.20What authority under this rule or the Executive Order may the Secretary delegate, and under what circumstances?
     470.21Who will make rulings and interpretations under the Executive Order and this part?
     470.22What actions may the Assistant Secretary take in the case of intimidation and interference?
     470.23What other provisions apply to this part?

The following are the major provisions of the new 29 CFR Part 470, with differences between the NPRM and the final rule indicated:

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Panoptic Enterprises at 703-451-5953 or by e-mail to Panoptic@FedGovContracts.com.

Copyright 2004 by Panoptic Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.

Return to the Dispatches Library.

Return to the Main Page.