In 1986, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a labor union which charges nonmember employees an agency fee to defray the cost of providing service is required to provide an explanation of the basis for the fee and a prompt means of challenging that amount before an impartial decisionmaker. In response, the American Arbitration Association developed the Rules for Impartial Determination of Union Fees.
A 1988 Supreme Court decision has created a "second generation" of such proceedings in the private sector. This article discusses the Court's decision and how it will affect the responsibilities of both unions and management. The author also describes the challenges that labor arbitrators will face in this emerging field.