Union dues are the lifeblood of every union. Each USGE member pays his or her fair share, so that everybody gains.
When we think about dues, it’s true that ‘what goes around comes around’. Our members get a tremendous return on their relatively modest investment in the operation and activities of their union. The broad range of services and benefits includes:
- workplace representation;
- grievance and adjudication handling;
- collective bargaining for improved wages and benefits;
- union education courses;
- specialized training and representation in such areas as health and safety and human rights;
- internal and external communication of workplace issues;
- formal meetings with senior management; and
- lobbying of politicians.
Along with their dues payment, USGE members get the opportunity to have a full say in the structure and activities of our union. And, let’s not forget that dues are also tax deductible.
In every union, it is customary to apportion dues between the Local Union and the National Union. However, because the USGE is a Component union of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, our members’ dues are split three ways in the following manner.
PSAC dues are set by delegates to PSAC Triennial Conventions. Similarly, USGE dues are established by delegates to our Triennial Convention. For current dues levels, please refer to your most recent Local membership computer printout.
USGE Bylaw 5, Section 2 sets minimum Local Union dues at $2 per member per month.
The National Office requires that the following procedure be followed by our Locals when adjusting their dues:
- Any general membership meeting of a Local held for the purpose of changing the amount of dues rebate shall be required to post notice of such a meeting at least 15 days in advance on the various bulletin boards that may be viewed by the membership.
- Any agreed upon change in the dues rebate to a Local shall be communicated in writing to the Operations Manager. Such request shall be accompanied by:
- a copy of the meeting notice to membership and date of posting;
- a copy of the motion that was adopted at the meeting;
- proof that two-thirds (2/3) of those in attendance voted in favour of the motion.
Dues are deducted once a month at source — that is to say, they are deducted by Treasury Board from a member’s pay cheque and forwarded to the PSAC, with the Component share being sent to the USGE by the PSAC. As noted above, the USGE National Office forwards Locals their portion of the dues.
However, Locals are required to submit an annual audited statement of their finances to the National Office by March 31 of each year. If the financial statement is not received, the remittance of Local dues rebates is withheld.
All workers covered by a collective agreement negotiated by the PSAC must pay union dues, whether or not they have elected to sign a membership card and join the union. This is called the Rand Formula.
In very rare circumstances, union dues can be diverted to a designated religion. However, that particular religion must have a long-standing rationale for not supporting unions as part of its dogma. It cannot simply be a convenient way to avoid paying union dues.
Corporations have their shareholders, and governments their taxpayers. Unions have their dues-paying members. Unlike business and government, however, unions are directly and democratically accountable for the way these monies are spent. And our goal is the best in service and representation, not profit!