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Agency Fees/ Union Dues: FAQ

Read the questions and answers on this page to learn more about agency fees and union dues at UCSD.

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Expand sectionWhat is an agency fee, and do I have to pay it?

What is an agency fee?
The term "agency fee" refers to the union's ability to collect money from employees to pay for things such as negotiating a contract and representing employees in grievances and arbitrations, and lobbying activities to foster collective bargaining negotiations or secure advocates.
What is the difference between "fair share," "agency shop," and "agency fee?"
Fair share, agency shop, and agency fee are the same things. PERB uses the phase "agency fee."
Who must pay an agency fee?
If your position is covered by an exclusive representative (union) and you are not a member of a union to which you pay union dues, you are required by law to pay an agency fee.
Do I have to give the union permission to take an agency fee deduction from my monthly wages?
The exclusive representative (union) of your bargaining unit has this information.

Expand sectionHow are agency fees processed?

How do employees pay the agency fee?
The agency fee will be collected through payroll deduction.
How much money will be deducted from my paycheck?
The law mandates that the agency fee amount cannot be more than the union's membership dues. Each union will determine the amount of the agency fee for their bargaining unit.
What is the amount of the agency fee?
The exclusive representative (union) of your bargaining unit has this information.
How will supervisors and employees know how much the fee will be?
According to proposed regulations by the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB), the state agency charged with administering the agency fee law, unions must give employees notice of the fee to be charged. The university has provided the home addresses of bargaining unit members through a third-party mailing house. This method will protect employees who have specifically blocked release of their home address to an exclusive representative. The university may also provide the union with an employee’s campus or check address. Unions will then be able to notify employees regarding agency fee amounts.
If an employee has more deductions than actual wages in a given month (as a result of a medical plan, legal plan, garnishments and other deductions), what will happen to agency fee payments?
Pre-tax items and taxes will come first. Absent agreement with the exclusive representative, the university will make a decision on the priority of deductions.
If an employee has insufficient earnings to cover the agency fee in a given month because of other deduction commitments with higher priority, will the deduction be taken from future checks?
If there is not enough money, then no deduction will be taken. This will be the same procedure as deductions for union dues.
If the union elects a flat dollar fee structure and the employee is on a leave of absence without pay or non-pay disability leave during a pay period, will the University be required to make the deduction from a future check?
The university will not take deductions retroactively.

Expand sectionWhat if I have a part-time or split appointment?

If an employee's percent of effort is below 50% (i.e., works part time), does the employee have to pay an agency fee?
Yes, but the exclusive representative may, at his or her option, have a lower agency fee.
If an employee is appointed to a position for a short duration and that position is represented by a union, does that employee have to pay the fee? (Example: an employee is appointed for three months per year. Does he or she have to pay for three months, even though the employee won't be getting the union benefits that a career or long-term employee would get?
Yes. Even though the person is in a position covered by an exclusive representative (union) for only a short period of time, the person is covered by wage ranges negotiated by the university and union, and therefore must pay the agency fee while in the position.
Is the agency fee amount based on the employee's percent of effort in that particular job? (e.g., 60% effort, 60% payment)?
This depends on the particular union representing that position. Absent agreement otherwise, a full agency fee is required for a position less than 100% time. However, if the union in question agrees to implement an agency fee based on the percentage appointment (e.g., 60% effort, 60% payment) then that employee will pay less than a full-time employee.
If I have a split appointment (e.g., half clerical unit and half service unit), what portion of my salary will be the basis for the agency fee? Will the agency fee for my appointment in one bargaining unit be based only on the wages coming from that appointment?
Presently, the entire salary is subject to the agency fee deduction because the law requires the university to make deductions on the basis specified by the unions, and only one union has specified a basis other than the entire salary. All the unions have requested that the agency fee be based on earnings within the bargaining unit. The university is working on this calculation, and the final programming should be completed shortly.
If a union collects a flat dollar fee instead of a percentage of pay, will an employee have to pay the full flat dollar amount even if he or she has less than a full-time appointment in the unit?
Yes. An employee will be required to pay the same fee regardless of appointment unless his or her exclusive representative requests a different agency fee structure to handle this situation.
If a union elects a flat dollar fee for agency fee, and an employee has 2 appointments covered by the same bargaining unit (occurs primarily in the Technical Unit) will the employee have to pay the fee twice? What if the appointments are on 2 different campuses?
The employee will pay an agency fee once for multiple appointments in the same unit. Most appointments between campuses are faculty appointments, and the university does not anticipate many, if any, problems with employees with positions at more than one campus.
How will employees who have split appointments be treated? (Example: A 100% Principal Analyst IV who teaches a class for the department two quarters each year. The Principal Analyst appointment is reduced to 67% to accommodate a 33% Lecturer appointment. Will this employee be assessed the agency fee on the 33% even though the majority of the appointment is non-represented? Will the assessment be prorated according to the percent?
Yes, but see the answer in A.16 above in which the University is working on programming for agency fee according to the time worked within a bargaining unit position.

Expand sectionWhat if I object to the agency fee?

Will I be terminated from employment if I refuse to pay the agency fee?
The University will not terminate employees for non-payment of an agency fee. The university will automatically deduct the agency fee amount and remit the money deducted to the appropriate union(s).
How can the agency fee be rescinded?
The agency fee may be rescinded by a majority (50% +1) vote in a secret ballot of all the employees in a bargaining unit. A bargaining unit may be systemwide or local. Please check with PERB regarding agency fee elections.
How do you take a vote to cancel the agency fee?
First, a petition must be served on the PERB that contains the signatures of at least 30% of the employees in the bargaining unit. The signatures have to be obtained in one academic year.
How often can there be a vote to cancel the agency fee?
More than one vote cannot be taken during the term of any contract in effect on or after January 1, 2000. (Refer to the Duration Article in Collective Bargaining Agreement covering the terms and conditions of your employment with the University.)

Expand sectionCan I be a conscientious objector?

Can an employee avoid paying an agency fee to the union?
If the union representing the position imposes an agency fee, then the employee cannot avoid an agency fee deduction. However, if the employee is a conscientious objector, the agency fee will be donated to a selected charity.
What is the course of action for non-payment?
If the employee does not pay an amount equivalent to the agency fee to a charitable organization in accordance with procedures for providing proof of payment, the University will assume payment has not been made and begin making automatic agency fee deductions as part of the payroll process.
Who is a conscientious objector?
The law states that a conscientious objector is an employee "who is a member of a bona fide religion, body, or sect that has historically held conscientious objections to joining or financially supporting public employee organizations." This employee "would not be required to join, but would instead be required to pay a sum equal to the agency fee to a nonreligious, non-labor charitable fund," as jointly determined by the University and the union.
What proof is required to have a conscientious objection?
Your exclusive representative will determine what proof is acceptable.
If I am a conscientious objector, whom do I notify?
Notify the union directly of your conscientious objector status.
What will be the process for evaluating conscientious objector status?
Each union will administer its own criteria for determining conscientious objector status.
If an employee disagrees with the union's decision to deny conscientious objector status, can the employee grieve the decision? If so, what is the process?

If you do not agree with your union rejection of a claim for conscientious objector status, you may contact PERB for advice on your rights.

If an employee is a conscientious objector, can he or she donate the agency fee to any charity?
The university and the union will have a list of charities to which the agency fee can be donated. If an employee is a conscientious objector, he or she must first inform the union which charity the employee wishes to donate to. Once the University and union agree on a selection of charitable organizations, a list will be posted on the University bulletin board. If the union and the University do not agree on a list of charities, the employee may donate to a non-religious, non-labor charitable organization that meets the requirements set forth in the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Code. The employee will be required to provide the union proof monthly of the charitable contribution.
If monthly proof of payment to a charitable organization is not provided, does the employer automatically begin deducting money from the employee's paycheck?
Yes. If the union notifies the University that a charitable contribution is not being made according to procedures for providing proof of payment, the University will begin making automatic agency fee deductions as part of the payroll process.
What is the process for determining the non-labor funds to which conscientious objectors can contribute?
Determination of the non-labor funds is subject to the collective bargaining process. If the University and the exclusive representative cannot agree on the funds, then the employee gets to pick a non-labor, non-religious charitable organization that meets the requirements set forth in the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Code.
How many charities will be on the list?
If the union and University agree on a list of charities by law, they must agree on at least three. If the University and union do not agree on a list, then the employee will select a charity.
What if you have objections to the charities listed?
You must still direct your agency fee contribution to one of the charities listed. However, you can contact your union representative or a member of your local Labor Relations office to voice your concerns about the list of charitable organizations. The university and union can jointly decide to change or add charitable organizations to the list.
Can I donate my agency fee to charity even though I do not belong to a religion or sect that objects to financially supporting a public employee organization?
No. Only those employees who are members of a bona fide religion, body, or sect that has historically held conscientious objections to joining or financially supporting public employee organizations may direct their agency fee contributions to a charitable organization.

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