Frequently Asked Questions and Answers About Forming a Union
What will be in our first union contract?
The newly created local union will elect a negotiating committee with employee representatives from all work areas and shifts to negotiate a contract.
When a union committee sits down to bargain a contract with management, negotiations start from whatever conditions exist at that time. They will propose positive changes to the current conditions. This means better wages, better benefits and better working conditions.
Before negotiations begin, the committee will develop proposals in consultation with all employees. Everyone’s input will be allowed through meetings and surveys.
The committee will be trained and assisted by professional USW negotiators and you will have USW attorneys to assist you as well, if needed.
Things that employees are satisfied with are secured in a contract. Areas that need improvement become the focus of negotiations with the employer.
After the contract is negotiated, it cannot take effect unless it is voted to be accepted (ratified) by a majority of employees. No worker would vote for a contract unless it was an improvement over what existed before. Without this vote, there can be no contract.
You do not pay any dues throughout the negotiation process.
You begin paying dues only after the contract is accepted by employees.
Membership dues. When do we begin paying?
As in any nonprofit organization, dues are used to pay the operating expenses. In the Union, that includes office space, representatives' salaries, printing, phones, arbitration, legal costs, strike fund contributions, training programs, etc.
No initiation fee for newly organized members like yourselves.
No one pays dues until after a contract has been negotiated and accepted by the members through a majority vote.
Membership dues. How much are they?
Dues are paid based on the amount you make. There is no set monthly rate.
Effective November 1, 2008, monthly dues for a member shall be increased by 0.15% to 1.45% of total monthly earnings, but in no event shall monthly dues be more than 2.8 times the member’s average hourly earnings (“cap”). For lump-sum payments, dues shall be calculated separately by applying the 1.45% (1.3% plus 0.15%) to such payments.
Alternatively, in lieu of the 0.15% increase, for the period November 1, 2008 through December 31, 2012, a Local Union on a Local Union-wide basis may elect to increase 4 monthly dues for each member by an additional three cents ($0.03) per hour for hours included in total earnings during the month. Effective January 1, 2013 and thereafter, the 0.15% option will apply.
In addition, a Local Union may, by secret vote and with the approval of the International Secretary-Treasurer, further increase members’ monthly dues by a percentage no higher than 0.1% of its members’ total earnings during the month, provided that monthly dues shall not be less than $5.00 nor more than an appropriate adjusted cap as determined by the International Secretary-Treasurer.
Even if you vote yes to have representation, it does not mean you will start paying dues.
You only pay dues after a majority of the employees vote to accept a contract.
You will be able to see the improvements to wages and benefits a contract brings before you pay dues.
In almost all cases, wage increases gained by first contract negotiations more than pay for dues