H. B. 2154
(By Delegates Overington and Evans)
[Introduced January 13, 1999; referred to the
Committee on Industry and Labor then the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend chapter three of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding
thereto a new article, designated article twelve, relating
to requiring labor organizations to establish separate funds
for political purposes; establishing registration and
disclosure requirements for the fund; establishing certain
criminal provisions and penalties governing a labor
organization's political activities; and prohibiting
employees from authorizing automatic payroll deductions for
contributions to a labor organization's political committee
or fund except through an explicit, signed statement.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That chapter three of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated article twelve, to read
ARTICLE 12. WORKERS' POLITICAL BILL OF RIGHTS.
§3-12-1. Short title.
This article shall be known as the "Workers' Political Bill
§3-12-2. Legislative declarations.
This Legislature finds and declares that:
(a) Some unions spend nearly ninety percent of total dues
income on political activities;
(b) The supreme court's decision in Communications Workers
of America v. Beck, 487 U.S. 735, 108 S. Ct. 2641 (1988) decision
held that unions cannot use fees collected from nonunion
employees if the employee objects to activities fees used for
other than collective bargaining;
However, few union members are aware of this right, and
formal procedures for receiving refunds are not in place; and
(c) Unions should be prevented from collecting funds for
political purposes unless members expressly give employers
permission to deduct fees from their wages.
The following terms have the following definitions:
(a) "Fund" means the separate segregated fund established by a labor organization for political purposes according to the
procedures and requirements of this article; and
(b) "Labor organization" means any association or
organization of employees, and any agency, employee
representation committee, or plan in which employees participate,
that exists, in whole or in part, to advocate on behalf of
employees about grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay,
hours of employment or conditions of work. "Labor organization"
includes employee associations and unions for public employees,
including both the national education association and American
federation of teachers, and each local education association or
affiliate of a national education association.
§3-12-4. Limits on labor organization contributions.
(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, a
labor organization may not expend money for lobbying, electoral
and political activities not bearing upon the ratification or
implementation of a collective bargaining agreement. This
includes, but is not limited to, independent expenditures or
contributions to any candidate, political party, voter
registration campaign or any other political cause.
(b) A labor organization may only expend money for lobbying,
electoral and political activities not bearing upon the
ratification or implementation of a collective bargaining
agreement if the labor organization establishes a separate segregated fund to be used for political purposes. The labor
organization shall ensure that:
(1) Contributions to the fund are solicited independently
from any other solicitations by the labor organization;
(2) Dues or other fees for membership in the labor
organization are not used for political purposes, transferred to
the segregated fund, or intermingled in any way with fund moneys;
(3) The cost of administering the fund is paid from fund
contributions and not from dues or other fees for membership in
the labor organization.
§3-12-5. Criminal acts -- penalties.
(a) It is unlawful for a labor organization to make a
contribution by using money or anything of value:
(1) Secured by physical force, job discrimination,
membership discrimination or financial reprisals, or threat of
force, job discrimination, membership discriminations or
financial reprisals; or
(2) From dues, fees or other moneys required as a condition
of membership in a labor organization or as a condition of
(3) Obtained in any commercial transaction.
(b) At the time the labor organization is soliciting money
for the fund from an employee, it is unlawful for a labor organization to fail to:
(1) Inform an employee of the fund's political purpose; and
(2) Inform an employee of the employee's right to refuse to
contribute without fear of reprisal.
(c) It is unlawful for a labor organization to solicit
moneys for the fund from any person other than its members and
their immediate families.
(d) It is unlawful for a labor organization to pay a member
for a contribution to the fund by providing a bonus, expense
account, rebate of dues or other membership fees, or any other
form of direct or indirect compensation.
Any person violating this section is guilty of a
misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined no more
than five thousand dollars.
§3-12-6. Registration -- disclosure.
Each fund established by a labor organization under this
(a) Register as a political action committee as required by
(b) File the financial reports for political action
committees required by law.
§3-12-7. Assignments to labor unions -- effect.
(a) Except as provided in subsection (d), an employee of any person, firm, school district or private or municipal corporation
within the state may sign and deliver to his or her employer a
written instrument directing the employer to:
(1) Deduct a specified sum from his or her monthly wages;
(2) Pay the deduction to a labor organization or union or
any other organization of employees as assignee.
(b) An employer who receives a written instrument assigning
a specified sum from the employee's wages shall:
(1) Keep the instrument on file;
(2) Deduct the specified sum from the employee's salary; and
(3) Pay the deducted amount to the organization or union
designated by the employee.
(c) The employer shall continue to make and pay the
deduction as directed by the employee until the employee revokes
or modifies the deduction in writing.
(d) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, an
employee may not direct an employer to deduct moneys from his or
her wages and pay them to:
(1) A registered political action committee;
(2) A fund defined by section three; or
(3) Any intermediary that contributes to a regional
political committee or fund as defined by section three.
(e) Nothing in this section prohibits an individual from making personal contributions to a registered political action
committee or to a fund as defined by section one.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to require labor
organizations to establish separate funds for political purposes;
to establish registration and disclosure requirements for the
fund; to establish certain criminal provisions and penalties
governing a labor organization's political activities; and to
prohibit employees from authorizing automatic payroll deductions
for contributions to a labor organization's political committee
or fund except through an explicit, signed statement.
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.