Closed Shop and Agency Shop Agreements.
Closed Shop and Agency Shop Agreements: Understanding the Differences
In the world of labor unions and collective bargaining, two commonly used terms are closed shop and agency shop agreements. Both refer to the relationship between employees and their union, but there are some important differences between the two.
Closed Shop Agreements
A closed shop agreement is a labor arrangement in which a union is the only source of labor for a particular employer. This means that all employees, regardless of their personal beliefs or preferences, must join the union in order to work for the employer.
The main benefit of a closed shop agreement is that it provides a strong bargaining position for the union. Because the union is the only source of labor for the employer, it has more leverage in negotiating contracts and working conditions.
However, closed shop agreements have become less common in recent years due to changes in labor law. The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 made closed shop agreements illegal in the United States, although it did allow for union shops and agency shops (which we’ll discuss next).
Agency Shop Agreements
An agency shop agreement is a labor arrangement in which employees are not required to join the union, but they must pay a fee to the union in order to cover the costs of collective bargaining and other union activities. This fee is sometimes called a “shop fee” or “agency fee.”
The main benefit of an agency shop agreement is that it allows employees to choose whether or not to join the union, while still ensuring that the union has the resources it needs to represent all employees in bargaining and other activities.
However, agency shop agreements are also controversial. Critics argue that they force employees to pay for the union’s political activities, even if those activities go against the employee’s personal beliefs. In 2018, the Supreme Court issued a ruling in Janus v. AFSCME that made agency shop agreements illegal in the public sector.
In summary, closed shop and agency shop agreements are two different types of labor arrangements that unions and employers may use in their negotiations. While closed shop agreements are no longer legal in the United States, agency shop agreements are still common in some industries. It’s important for copy editors to be familiar with these terms and their implications in order to effectively communicate about labor issues.