A battle is brewing over a proposed labor contract that would require most Ventura County government workers to pay union fees regardless of whether they are union members.
The contract provision, which is known as an "agency shop" clause, would require non-union county employees to pay as much as 85% of the $170 annual union dues levied on members of the Public Employees Assn. of Ventura County, said Executive Director Barry Hammitt. The fees are necessary to cover contract negotiation costs, he said.
But the agency shop provision has come under fire from two Ventura County supervisors and from some non-union government employees.
"A person should have free choice whether . . . to be a member of or financially support a union," Supervisor Maggie Erickson said this week in a prepared statement. Supervisor Madge Schaeffer also opposed the concept of an agency shop, but the three other supervisors gave preliminary approval to the contract last week.
Members of the public employees association will vote on the contract Dec. 19, and Hammitt said that a vote of non-union county employees will be scheduled soon after that. To pass, a contract must be approved by more than 50% of all county employees.