Lareau on United Nurses and Allied Professionals (Kent Hospital): Unions Not Required to Provide Auditor's Verification Letter to Objecting Employees

Lareau on United Nurses and Allied Professionals (Kent Hospital): Unions Not Required to Provide Auditor's Verification Letter to Objecting Employees

In United Nurses and Allied Professionals (Kent Hospital), a divided Board addressed a number of issues regarding the rights of objecting employees. Among other things, it held that a union is not required to provide objecting employees with a copy of the auditor's verification letter in order to satisfy its notice obligations under California Saw. In this EIA, the author provides insight on this decision.

Excerpt:

In California Saw & Knife Works, the National Labor Relations Board ("Board") held that a union must provide an objecting employee with the percentage amount of dues reduction to which the employee is entitled, the basis for the calculation, and the right to challenge the union's figures. Further:

To ascertain whether the information provided to objectors satisfie[s] the union's duty of fair representation, the Board [assesses] whether the information [is] sufficient to enable objectors to determine whether to challenge the union's dues-reduction calculations. United Nurses & Allied Prof'ls (Kent Hosp.), 359 NLRB No. 42 (Dec. 14, 2012) (footnote omitted) (citing California Saw, 320 N.L.R.B. at 233)

Subsequently, in Television Artists AFTRA (KGW Radio), the Board held that a union violated the Act by failing to have the financial information on which it based its calculation of the dues percentage reduction verified by an independent auditor, but did not reach the issue of whether a union would be required to provide objectors with the verification letter from the auditor.

In Cummings v. Connell, the Ninth Circuit reached the issue of a union's obligation to provide the auditor's verification letter. It affirmed the holding of the lower court that a union's notice to objecting employees was deficient because, inter alia, it failed to provide independent verification of the audit:

We find that [CSEA's] notice did not satisfy the dictates of [Chicago Teachers Union Local 1 v.] Hudson[, 475 U.S. 292 (1986)]. Although it informed nonmembers that the figures in the notice were derived from an audited statement, it did not include any "independent verification" of this fact. Hudson did not say merely that the expenditures must be audited, but that "adequate disclosure surely would include ... verification by an independent auditor." 475 U.S. at 307 n.18 (emphasis added). Although not expressly addressing the question before us, we recently mirrored this requirement from Hudson and explained that, although a formal audit is not always required, "the union must provide a statement of its chargeable and nonchargeable expenses, together with an independent verification that the expenses were actually incurred." Harik v. Cal. Teachers Ass'n, 298 F.3d 863, 866 (9th Cir. 2002). [footnotes omitted]

Lexis.com subscribers can access enhanced versions of the opinions cited in this article:

United Nurses & Allied Prof'ls (Kent Hosp.), 359 NLRB No. 42 (Dec. 14, 2012)

Television Artists AFTRA (KGW Radio), 327 N.L.R.B. 474 (1999), petition for review dismissed, 1999 NLRB LEXIS 25 (D.C. Cir. 1999).

Cummings v. Connell, 316 F.3d 886 (9th Cir. 2003)

Chicago Teachers Union Local 1 v. Hudson, 475 U.S. 292 (1986)

Harik v. Cal. Teachers Ass'n, 298 F.3d 863 (9th Cir. 2002)

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