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Dear Employees,

With union activity, we’ve received a lot of questions regarding Arizona’s status as a right-to-work state. Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions we’ve received.

Can employees be forced to pay dues in right-to-work states like Arizona?
Employees in right-to-work states like Arizona cannot be forced to pay dues to a union in order to keep their job. It’s up to each employee to decide whether or not to join a union and pay dues. That said, even if you don’t join a union and don’t pay dues, all employees in a bargaining unit are still covered by the terms and rules in the contract negotiated by the union and the organization for which they work. Dues are determined by the union and are often a percentage of your hourly wage.

Why would I join a union and pay dues if I don’t have to?
Unions often offer “members-only” benefits—benefits that are only for employees who join the union and pay dues. If you are not a member, you may not be able to attend union meetings, vote on contracts, become a shop steward, vote on shop stewards, or participate in other “internal” union activities. However, you are still in the bargaining unit, so you are still subject to everything in the contract whether you become a dues-paying union member or not.

What other obligations do I have to the union if I become a member?
You would have to ask the union. Unions have the right to make their own rules of membership. This is not negotiated at the bargaining table. In addition to dues, union members are typically subject to fines, fees and assessments.

If the union goes on strike, can I continue to work and not be penalized by the union?
It is always your choice whether or not to participate in a strike. However, if you are a dues-paying member of the union, you are subject to being disciplined by the union if you do not participate in a strike. Unions often fine members for crossing the picket line. The amount you would have to pay for coming to work is usually based on the union’s constitution or bylaws. Non-union members can cross the picket line without financial penalty by the union.

If I don’t become a dues-paying member of a union, can I still deal directly with my supervisor for individual issues or requests?
Under a union, everything in a contract applies to all members of the bargaining unit (union members and non-union members). The union would represent you and speak for you. Your supervisor would no longer be able to deal directly with you on certain matters such as hours, schedules, and personal requests. Supervisors would have to follow the contract on these matters.

Thank you for your questions regarding right-to-work status. If you have others, please let us know.


Linda Hunt
President and CEO
Dignity Health
Arizona Service Area
Mark Slyter
President and CEO
Chandler Regional Medical Center
Mercy Gilbert Medical Center
Patty White
President and CEO
St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center
St. Joseph’s Westgate Medical Center