Do I have to join the union?

  • FAQ

Our union is only as strong as our members – being a member will add to our collective strength, help us stand up to an employer like Stanford, and allow you to have a say on what we do with this power. A stronger, united membership gives us the leverage to win what we’re fighting for during bargaining.

But no, you do not need to be a member. Non-members from private sector hospitals in non “right to work states” like Stanford currently pay a “fair share” fee of 1.4% of their base pay (compared to union dues of 1.6% for members), but would not have a vote in any union negotiations or actions.

  • The fair share fee covers costs of representation and the benefits/services received by non-members (non-members receive the same benefits conferred by any contract that our union negotiates). Non-members would not have access to other member-only rights and benefits (CIR offers employment contract review, discounts through SEIU the larger umbrella organization, and other benefits).

You also cannot be fired for not joining the union – employers often spread that rumor too.

(If you’re interested in the relevant labor laws:)

  • What is a ‘right-to-work‘ state?
    • 28 states have ‘right-to-work’ laws, which prohibit unions from collecting mandatory fair share fees from union members. These laws traditionally weaken unions, as it allows for “free riders” to benefit from collective bargaining without paying for it.
      • Right-to-work states have lower average wages and lower rates of employer-sponsored health insurance
    • California is one of 22 non-right to work states that allows unions and employers to negotiate a “union security clause” that requires non-members to pay for their fair share of the costs related to collective bargaining.
  • What is the Janus decision?
    • Janus v. AFSCME was a 2018 Supreme Court decision that effectively made all public employers “right-to-work.”  Because Stanford is in the private sector, this does not apply to us.  Accordingly, non-members can still be required by a negotiated union security clause to pay their fair share of the costs related to collective bargaining.