Workers’ Dues Transparency and Rights Act

In the legislature yesterday afternoon, MLA John Rustad tabled Bill M210, a private members’ bill entitled Workers’ Dues Transparency and Rights Act. In tabling the bill, MLA Rustad had this to say about it:

“This bill makes amendments to the Labour Relations Code by adding transparency to how workers’ dues are managed and by protecting workers’ rights. In 1946, Justice Rand introduced the concept that employees receiving benefits from a union should also contribute to that organization. This led to mandatory membership and fees for workers in a unionized environment. Justice Rand also wrote that these contributions should go ‘towards the expense of maintaining the administration of employee interests and of administering the law of their employment’. There are many past examples that have shown practices by some unions have gone far beyond the original intent. More recently, the B.C. Federation of Labour’s offer of financial assistance to Occupy Vancouver is a good example of how mandatory dues may be spent on activities totally unrelated to the intent of Justice Rand.

Furthermore, there are inconsistencies in the provincial tax law concerning workers’ dues. Dues are exempt as part of normal income taxes, but if those dues are spent on other activities, it could be argued that these activities may not meet the intent of the tax benefit. For example, charitable or political donations are handled very differently from workers’ dues by our tax laws. Money spent on non-charitable and non-political activities would receive no tax benefit whatsoever, but by having this money flow through a union as part of their dues, a tax benefit would incur to a union member that wouldn’t be available to other citizens. This bill corrects this contradiction in the B.C. tax law while also protecting workers from any potential misuse of their dues.”

Just as with the federal Bill, which has been withdrawn on a procedural flaw, the provincial Bill is an initiative by a private member.

 


Full DRAFT transcript below:

BILL M210 — WORKERS’ DUES
TRANSPARENCY AND RIGHTS ACT

J. Rustad presented a bill intituled Workers’ Dues Transparency and Rights Act.

J. Rustad: I move a bill intituled Workers’ Dues Transparency and Rights Act, of which notice has been given in my name on the order paper, be introduced and now read a first time.

Motion approved.

J. Rustad: This bill makes amendments to the Labour Relations Code by adding transparency to how workers’ dues are managed and by protecting workers’ rights. In 1946 Justice Rand introduced the concept that employees receiving benefits from a union should also contribute to that organization. This led to mandatory membership and fees for workers in a unionized environment. Justice Rand also wrote that these contributions should go “towards the expense of maintaining the administration of employee interests and of administering the law of their employment.”

There are many past examples that have shown practices by some unions have gone far beyond the original intent. More recently the B.C. Federation of Labour’s offer of financial assistance to Occupy Vancouver is a good example of how mandatory dues may be spent on activities totally unrelated to the intent of Justice Rand.

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Furthermore, there are inconsistencies in the provincial tax law concerning workers’ dues. Dues are exempt as part of normal income taxes, but if those dues are spent on other activities, it could be argued that these activities may not meet the intent of the tax benefit. For example, charitable

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in the provincial tax law concerning workers’ dues. Dues are exempt as part of normal income taxes, but if those dues are spent on other activities, it could be argued that these activities may not meet the intent of the tax benefit.

For example, charitable or political donations are handled very differently from workers’ dues by our tax laws. Money spent on non-charitable and non-political activities would receive no tax benefit whatsoever, but by having this money flow through a union as part of their dues, a tax benefit would incur to a union member that wouldn’t be available to other citizens. This bill corrects this contradiction in the B.C. tax law while also protecting workers from any potential misuse of their dues.

I move that the bill be placed on the orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.

Bill M210, Workers’ Dues Transparency and Rights Act, introduced, read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.