If I signed a contract with a union to pay legal fees, am I obligated to pay all fees if I quit the job and union?

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If I signed a contract with a union to pay legal fees, am I obligated to pay all fees if I quit the job and union?

I signed a contract with a lawyer as part of a union to agree to pay legal fees during a contract negotiation. I left the job and union, and paid all fees that accrued up to the date of my departure. They are trying to have me pay the remaining fees for services that were

provided to the union after my quit date. Am I legally responsible to pay these fees even though I was no longer an employee and part of the union?

Asked on January 11, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It depends on the wording of the contract: the law takes no position on this issue, but rather leaves it to what the parties agreed to (and obligated themselves to) in the contract. If the contract requires you pay all fees during or from the negotiation, even though incurred after you leave, you have to pay them; on the other hand, if the contract only required you to pay fees related to negotiations affecting *your job*, then once you leave (and don't have a job), you would not owe further fees. Contracts are governed by their terms or language; your obligation in this regard depends on what exactly the contract says. If you and the union disagree about this, you could refuse to pay, let them sue you (if they think it's economically worthwhile), and let a court decide what the contract says.


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