Vt. Senate Advances Public Union Agency Fees

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The Vermont Senate has advanced legislation that requires workers represented by a union to pay mandated fees.

Chittenden Democratic Senator Philip Baruth was a lead sponsor of the legislation. He said the fees should be paid whether or not the person chooses to join the union.

"What this bill seeks to say is that no one will be forced to join a union after this bill goes through the process for good or ill. What it will say is that no one from this point forward would be allowed to avoid paying anything into the system," he said. "If you enjoy the benefits of your union and collective bargaining you will have to pay a percentage of what a fully paid up member of the union would pay."

The bill was supported by the state employees union and the Vermont chapter of the National Education Association, which represents teachers.

The legislation is called the "fair share" bill. But Chittenden Republican Senator Diane Snelling said she didn’t like that description of the legislation.

"I just need to say on behalf of those who do object to this that the term ‘fair share’ is a difficult one to accept that if the issue is that somebody does not wish to join the union but then is responsible for paying a substantial portion of the union dues," she said.

The Senate advanced the bill on a 26 to 3 vote. The measure comes up for final approval next week.


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