Non-voters block SEIU dues reform

An effort to rescind "fair share" fees in the largest state workers' union failed when less than half of the eligible voters mailed in ballots, the Public Employment Relations Board reported today.

PERB general counsel division chief Les Chisolm said the agency that was governing the election received only 17,699 ballots from the 44,187 eligible voters in the unit of Service Employees International Union Local 1000, where some members were trying to eliminate the fees paid by nonunion employees.

State law requires that half of the eligible voters in the unit approve the rescission. Because less than half of the Unit One members returned ballots, PERB declined to even count them, Chisholm said.

SEIU 1000 President Jim Hard said the union welcomed the results. "I feel like we can now focus on this huge and growing state budget deficit and our contract negotiations that are coming up quickly," Hard said. Contracts expire next year for the union, which represents 87,000 state workers.

Representatives of the effort to rescind the "fair share" fees could not be reached for comment early this afternoon. The fees are paid by employees who are represented by the union in bargaining talks but who have declined to join the organization.


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