Author Topic: Paying Union Dues  (Read 3540 times)

Dr.Optimus

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Paying Union Dues
« on: May 10, 2018, 09:36:36 AM »
Is anyone else a member of a local or national union?  Do you find the benefits of union membership outweigh the costs of the dues you pay?

For example: My situation, I am a member of my local and national educator associations, which offer some benefits but none that I can't really find elsewhere (Car insurance discounts, home loans, bank accounts, etc).  The biggest benefit they offer is a lawyer if a parent suddenly became angry enough to file a suit agains the school (in my position I would automatically be named in the lawsuit).  I can also participate in benefit negotiations each year, but with recent state initiatives the amount of bargaining power we have is becoming increasingly limited (for example, we can no longer negotiate our health care plan). My dues are about $71/month and I'm not sure if it is worth the cost to join again next year.

Does anyone else have similar circumstances?  What kinds of choices did you make and did you find being a part of the union beneficial?

canisius

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2018, 09:41:30 AM »
Scabs aren't cool.


That said, yes I find the benefits outweigh the costs.  In addition, more member representation strengthens negotiations; especially with the attacks on public education and unions in the past ten years.  I'm an AFT member and I've had to call them on three different occasions.  In addition, I was able to use them to get out of a bad contract.  That said it's more than just a parent filing suit.  All you need is a jerk principal or someone above to gun for your job because they don't like you.  Tenure or not.  Probationary or Term contract.  If they want to find a reason to fire you, the truth is it's not that hard and just like having car or house insurance, you want that additional representation when your job is on the line, or even worse you could face legal accusations. 
« Last Edit: May 10, 2018, 09:58:03 AM by canisius »

zygote

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2018, 09:55:46 AM »
The more people that decide to leave the union, the more your bargaining power will continue to go down. Stay.

I have never used any of the direct benefits you discussed in your OP. However, my union has negotiated a zero premium healthcare plan, an 8% retirement fund match, and five weeks of annual vacation. I pay 1% of my salary in union dues, and I think the workplace benefits are well worth that. I understand that the bargaining rights are becoming more limited in your state, but I would personally want to give the union the power it needs to fight back.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2018, 09:57:28 AM by zygote »

DrMoney

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2018, 10:07:43 AM »
It's definitely worth it!  Like other forms of insurance, you realize how bad you need it when you don't have it.

lbmustache

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2018, 10:41:09 AM »
It's definitely worth it!  Like other forms of insurance, you realize how bad you need it when you don't have it.

Agree. I am adjunct faculty and am actually a member of 2 unions at two different schools, and there is one school where I am not a union member (but the pay they take out of my check is the same amount regardless...).

Does it add up? Yes. Is the union there to bargain and negotiate on our behalf? Yes. Is the union imperfect? Yes. Do I side-eye people who don't pay for the union, but feel entitled to benefits and pay increases negotiated by the union? Yes. ;)

TheWifeHalf

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2018, 11:32:21 AM »
IMO, you are benefiting by the union members that came before you. If there no union I know things would change, and not for the better.  The only teaching, union  situation I can think of that happened around here: the teachers used to have to spend their evenings at home grading papers, dong other teacher things. Some time when my kids were in elementary school there was a strike and they got a free period of every day to do such things.


TheHusbandHalf started as a member of the OCAW (oil, chemical, & atomic workers) but after a few switches, he's now a Steelworker.
(same job, just unions being eliminated over the years)

He is a member because he reaps the benefit of the union and it's just in his nature to pay for benefits he receives. (We reap the benefits of living in this country, we do not complain about taxes either)

The main benefit is that they monitor safety. After the Texas City refinery explosion, I thank the union daily because down there, if there was a union, it was not as strong. I can't remember if there was one or not. 

As I understand it, the flares you see at the top of the stacks are burning off the extra of something, Texas City did not do this because that's money on fire! and whatever that something is, is heavier than air. It settled to ground level and when someone started their car, KABOOM.

THH is in a building that is supposedly explosion poof, all the cars are parked out front in a parking lot, and the flares are visible.

When OSHA investigated after the Texas City explosion, they came up here to the refinery where THH works. In fact, they made sure HE was one of the guys they talked to. He has a reputation for knowing his stuff, and not letting emotions get in the way of whatever work topic he is discussing. He can matter-of-factly answer their questions, and did.

A local example that I credit the union for having certain policies in place, for safety:
Our son was in the nuclear propulsion rate in the Navy, so he knew radioactive stuff. Afterwards, for a few years, he worked at the same refinery where THH works. (I may get terms wrong here)  One day they had to send something down a pipe that involved radiation. Somehow it broke and the guys gathered around to try and get it. Except my son, he knew to get far away, rather than handle it. I donít know who was responsible, but the area, a big area, was quarantined, because of the union enforced rules.
I have many memories of things that happened because union rules were followed for safety reasons.

A few years ago, the union had its first strike in the years that this company owned the refinery, and the first THH has experienced. THH  walked the picket line because he felt again, it was his obligation as a union member to do so. In the end, the younger guys voted for the contract the company was offering. But, thatís the union way, if a contract is voted for by the majority and agreed to, itís accepted. They signed away some stuff that will affect them, but not the older guys. That is not the reason our son left, but it certainly played a part in his decision. Our son was getting the same reputation as his dad, and I guess people are still asking THH how heís doing.  THH told me toight, another guy asked about him. He aid al ot are envious, just quitting a job, and leaving. They can't, too many obligations.

The Steelworkers union paid electric bills, heating bills (February in Ohio), house payments, property taxes for the strikers. Some other things, but I donít remember. Grocery stores donated a bunch of groceries to the local union, and other unions gave cash donations too. Like I said, there had not been a strike in at least 40 years and THHís local does the same for other unions.

There were a few scabs. After the strike, the company made the rule that it was not to be discussed.
Employees often try to get qualified to work the control room and THH sometimes has them work with him to learn. One scab, trying to qualify, tried to start a conversation about how other employees are treating him, and WHY??? THH is very good at ignoring questions (!!!) and went on to something else, because he knew it was because scabs no longer have the respect of the others.
That scab is the son of the guy my mother is living with, and one time she brought up the topic of son and the refinery. I told her I would like to change the topic, she got a little mad that I wouldnít say why, but thatís my mother. I act like I respect her, but I donít, but thatís a while nother story

A unionís job is to make sure the contract is enforced. Period. I have heard of other unions and how they bully the members, bully the company, but I have heard of none of that with this one.

A unionís job is to make sure the contract is enforced.  Period
« Last Edit: May 11, 2018, 09:25:33 PM by TheWifeHalf »

NV Teacher

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2018, 01:28:08 PM »
I belong to my professional union.  I don't use the benefits but I know they are there if needed.  My main reason for being a member is that the union negotiates our salary and benefits package.  We have a fairly contentious relationship between the school district and teacher union here.  They have not been able to agree on a contract for probably the last ten years and it has gone to an arbitrator.  The union has provided such good documentation about what the district has in the budget that the arbitrator has sided with the union every single time.  They also make sure that the district follows the contract.  We have had multiple grievances filed against the district and again the union prepared the documentation provided to the arbitrator and the arbitrator found that the distrct was in violation and they were forced to adhere to the contract.  The union is only as strong as the members and the dues are a necessary part of keeping it running and working for the members.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2018, 01:31:43 PM by NV Teacher »

MDM

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2018, 06:18:35 PM »
One area in which neither administrative nor union leaders have covered themselves in glory is 403b plans for K-12 public school district employees.

Seems unions (and for that matter, school district administrators, but this thread is about unions) could do a real service by working to get 403b plans as low cost and transparent as the better 401k plans available at various Megacorps.

ncornilsen

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2018, 03:07:20 PM »
In my experience, no.

In college, I got a job at a plywood mill for weekend cleanup work. 16 hours a week. In the paperwork, it clearly states that this qualified me for a much, much lower dues schedule.

But they took the full amount every month, gave me a run-around on getting a refund. (we're talking $80 a month.)
Then I had a grievance - the shop steward's cock suck buddy was jumped ahead of me in line for overtime work, against the rules of overtime sign ups. Never got a resolution on it.  I learned later than the union decided to "trade" my grievance for a favorable outcome for another one of the shop-stewards favorites. I was ALWAYS treated fairly by the management, NEVER by the shop steward.

When I got tired of this, and quit to go work somewhere else (non union, higher pay, similar work), they tried to send me to collections for the money they refunded to me. Luckily I kept my paperwork.

Oh, The union my dad was a member of shot up my house when I was a child, and my dad voiced opposition to a strike/tried to assert his Beck rights.  Dad recognized the truck another union member. Union brothers my ass.

MOD EDIT: Please leave out the homophobic insults.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 04:18:58 PM by arebelspy »

stoaX

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2018, 03:44:32 PM »
Do the benefits outweigh the dues...I never thought of it that way.  When I took a unionized job years ago the treasurer of the local made it clear that there wasn't a choice.  If you took the job, you joined the union and your dues came out of your paycheck. End of story.

Fishindude

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2018, 04:15:00 PM »
About 3/4 of the construction trades unions around here have grossly underfunded pension plans due to declining membership and terrible management.   The pension and benefits they are promising new members joining the ranks are not going to be there unless they make drastic changes (highly unlikely) or the government jumps in and bails them out.   Know what you are getting into before you join.

pecunia

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2018, 07:05:43 PM »
I am not currently in a union.

About 39 years back, a fellow worker turned to me during a discussion and told me, "This is not a democracy."  It isn't a democracy.  It's their way or the highway.  Don't fool yourself that it is otherwise.  The law does not support you.  Most of us do not work under contracts.  We are legally defined as "at will" employees.

I learned I was an "at will" employee on a job a few years back when we had the opportunity to vote for a union.  A company representative gave a talk to have us vote the union down.  We were told we would lose the right of individual negotiation.  On the way out of the meeting where we were told this another employee smiled at me and said, "It's not like that.  We have to take what they offer."

One of the guys with whom I worked was very adamantly anti-union.  You know the type very right wing.  He voted against the union and was quite vocal about it.  After the union was voted in and we had a contract, he got a nice raise.  He was quiet after that.

the thing that impressed me about unions are that the one I belonged to voted on many things.  It is a democratic organization.  You have a say in what goes on in your workplace, a place where you spend a lot of your time.

There is a term I've read on this forum, "wage slave."  It's a term to think about.

I would also suggest you read about the history of unions.  How were people treated prior to the creation of unions?  Consider how many hours people worked and how safe the workplaces were?  Then ask yourself if human nature has changed.  Would things slide back to where they were?  Are workers in countries without unions treated well?

I've heard people say unions are a thing of the past.  Why were they needed in the past?  Have the morals of employers improved to where unions are no longer necessary?

Ever hear, "History repeats Itself?"  Ever hear, "The More things Change, the More they are the Same?" 

Quote
you find the benefits of union membership outweigh the costs of the dues you pay?

In the short term, maybe not.  FI people think long term.

TheWifeHalf

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2018, 09:27:45 PM »
Do the benefits outweigh the dues...I never thought of it that way.  When I took a unionized job years ago the treasurer of the local made it clear that there wasn't a choice.  If you took the job, you joined the union and your dues came out of your paycheck. End of story.

Years ago, there probably wasn't. Some states now have laws against requiring workers to join the union.

pecunia

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2018, 09:30:17 AM »
Quote
Years ago, there probably wasn't. Some states now have laws against requiring workers to join the union.

So called, "Right To Work." 


JetBlast

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2018, 03:45:51 PM »
Airline pilots are heavily unionized. The ~$2,500 Iíll pay in dues this year is well worth it for all the benefits and resources available to me. 

Whether itís worth it to you depends on what benefits you get from being a member.

gaja

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2018, 04:48:37 PM »
On the day to day financial side: oh yes!

I joined my union while in university, on a whim. When DH and I bought our first flat, the bank strongly suggested we get life insurances. The union offered steep discounts, so we chose those. Not a lot of thought behind it, basically took the first thing they offered. One part of the life insurance turned out to be disability insurance. It was the cheaper kind, where you get a few hundred thousand as a lump sum if the state declares you more than 50 % disabled. It takes a lot for the state to declare someone disabled, usually you have to jump through legal hoops for 4-5 years. Sometimes more. DH had been sick for a couple of years when suddenly we got a letter in the mail: the union had re-negotiated the terms of the disability insurance; if you were unable to work for more than a year, you would start getting 1 % of the lump sum as monthly payments. If you had already been sick for more than a year, the payouts would start January 1th. Since then, we have received $1800 once a month (the union fees are $400/year). The welfare system has said that they might start the decision process for the long term disability grade around March next year. If it goes through, we'll receive the rest of the lump sum. If not, we'll continue getting monthly payments for about 6-7 more years.


Long term/system wide:

-Even in Norway, where the employment laws are strict, and a lot of the salaries are regulated, researchers find that if you have more than 10 % unionized workers, there will be a 14-15% increase in pay. The improvement is higher for women than for men, but both get more: https://forskning.no/2017/02/lonnsomt-vaere-fagorganisert-i-norge/produsert-og-finansiert-av/norges-forskningsrad

-I suck at negotiating pay. And I hate doing it. It takes time and resources I would much rather spend on other stuff. So once a year I fill out a form and send to my union representative, describing what I want. Usually she delivers quite close to the mark.

-I don't agree with everything my union fights for, and have considered changing to a different one. But there is one thing I really love about it: I haven't had to strike a single time. They almost always reach agreements through negotiating. If they don't, there are groups in our union that hold so critical jobs, that you only have to threathen to pull them out to strike before the employers agree to better terms.

pecunia

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2018, 08:26:19 AM »
Thought of this old redneck thing.  I guess a lot of independent Southern rednecks are against unions.

https://www.redneckrevolt.org/single-post/2016/07/24/BATTLE-OF-BLAIR-MOUNTAIN

Get your stash together and you won't need unions.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2018, 07:30:24 PM »
I was a union member my whole working life (College and University teaching).  Teachers are para-public servants, the state (province) is our employer, so the only way to equalize things is to be unionized.  My College union got us maternity leave back when it was almost non-existent (before I started, older teachers told me).  It did our health insurance, and it also got a group insurance plan for all us retired teachers.  My union made sure teachers were represented on academic bodies and planning committees.  In Ontario Universities all unions have reps on the Joint Heath and Safety committees (and lots of other committees), and a union rep and a management rep together do safety inspections.

In Canada union dues are a tax deduction, just like professional dues are; they are literally on the same line of the form.

kimmarg

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2018, 07:39:10 PM »
It's definitely worth it!  Like other forms of insurance, you realize how bad you need it when you don't have it.

Basically this. I had a horrible supervisor who was trying to mess with my position. I left and got a new position but this time I joined the union because I didn't want to have to go get a new position again to escape a horrible boss. (current job is in favored location, job with bad boss was in bad location).  I feel like I'm benefiting from some union policies so I should pay my share. [NB I'm a Federal employee, not a teacher like the rest of this thread]

Pizzabrewer

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2018, 07:56:02 PM »
Ha.  Unions. 

My experience as a manager in a union shop (many years ago) was that the union existed solely to protect slacking workers.  I had a guy who would spend 20 to 30 minutes every day in the bathroom.  Some days this happened several times.  You can't deny a person the use of a bathroom, I do understand that.

So I'm arguing with the shop steward about how long is appropriate for someone to be in the bathroom.  "Five minutes?"  I'd opine.  "What about 6?" "What about 7?" shot back the shop steward.  "Maybe he has a medical condition?" he added.

I realized right then and there that this is not how I wanted to spend my working life.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2018, 08:00:26 PM by Pizzabrewer »

pecunia

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2018, 06:14:26 AM »
Quote
"Maybe he has a medical condition?" he added.

Did he?

I realize I made the statements about human nature being largely a constant in a previous entry, however, people do change.

Because of the economic beating that has taken place in the US, I think most union people today realize that the companies they work for have to make money.  This was emphasized by the union I belonged to.  Despite that, there are people who will always find a way to milk the system.  I have thought sometimes that if they'd put as much effort into just doing a good job as milking the system, they would be better off.

TheWifeHalf

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2018, 08:12:41 AM »
In TheHusbandHalf's contract, it states what will be done if the employee does not do his/her job. The correct procedure that will be followed, to a tee, the contract is very specific.
Random alcohol/drug tests are done and if a positive result, the procedure stated in the contract is followed.

Some of the benefits added since THH was hired, are not contractual additions. I think because the company is based in Europe, they are more liberal.  For 20 years children of the employee are covered on his insurance until they are 26. I think it's been as long for same sex marriages to be considered equal to man/wife marriages. I don't know when they added, and honestly do not know the exact wording, but a man gets time off if he is a new father or someone in his immediate family who lives with him, is injured..

There is a pension, 401K, HSA, dental, vision insurance, ever since I can remember. Fee reduced legal benefit, gym membership, pyshological family help, I think were added since. They now even have pet insurance at a reduced rate!


Pizzabrewer

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2018, 01:10:33 PM »
Quote
"Maybe he has a medical condition?" he added.

Did he?

Well if you count laziness as a medical condition, this guy had the most advanced version of the disease I've ever seen.


Because of the economic beating that has taken place in the US, I think most union people today realize that the companies they work for have to make money.  This was emphasized by the union I belonged to.

Oh man, the stories I could tell.  This was old-school, coal-country unionism.  The company and management were evil in their view, and anything they could do to fuck over the company was fair game.  My first day on the job the union president and shop steward came to me and said "You're the sixth person in this position since we've been here and you won't last either."

Turns out they were right.  They'd paint targets on my office door.  I got regular 2am phone calls/hangups.  The one time I fought back by hooking my phone line to my modem (remember them?) so they got an earful of squawking noise, the union president smashed a piece of equipment.  When I came in that morning and asked why his job hadn't been done, he said "the equipment broke and I tried to call you."  I have endless stories.  Like I said, arguing about how long it should take for a man to take a dump was my last straw.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 01:55:18 PM by Pizzabrewer »

TheWifeHalf

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #23 on: May 14, 2018, 03:13:01 PM »
Maybe their grandparents still had a few scrip in the junk drawer?
I have 3, one for each kid, kind of a remembrance of their Grandma.

stoaX

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2018, 01:12:55 PM »
Do the benefits outweigh the dues...I never thought of it that way.  When I took a unionized job years ago the treasurer of the local made it clear that there wasn't a choice.  If you took the job, you joined the union and your dues came out of your paycheck. End of story.

Years ago, there probably wasn't. Some states now have laws against requiring workers to join the union.

It wasn't that there wasn't a legal way of getting out of joining the union, but there was an implied threat to your kneecaps  from the union treasurer and his bodyguard.  Years later the treasurer ended up in the Danbury CT federal lock up for intimidating witnesses. 

pecunia

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2018, 06:18:26 PM »
stoax:

Quote
It wasn't that there wasn't a legal way of getting out of joining the union, but there was an implied threat to your kneecaps  from the union treasurer and his bodyguard.  Years later the treasurer ended up in the Danbury CT federal lock up for intimidating witnesses. 

I've heard stories of East coast unions being tied up with the mob.  Too bad, it gives unions a bad name.  Whereas, the management of the same company could have some sweetheart deals going with the mob and all business won't be given a bad name.  A few examples of bad unions have been used greatly in anti union propaganda. 

Too bad the union members didn't get together and drive the crooked rascals out.

FIREin2018?

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2018, 10:38:02 PM »
Is anyone else a member of a local or national union?  Do you find the benefits of union membership outweigh the costs of the dues you pay?

For example: My situation, I am a member of my local and national educator associations, which offer some benefits but none that I can't really find elsewhere (Car insurance discounts, home loans, bank accounts, etc).  The biggest benefit they offer is a lawyer if a parent suddenly became angry enough to file a suit agains the school (in my position I would automatically be named in the lawsuit).  I can also participate in benefit negotiations each year, but with recent state initiatives the amount of bargaining power we have is becoming increasingly limited (for example, we can no longer negotiate our health care plan). My dues are about $71/month and I'm not sure if it is worth the cost to join again next year.

Does anyone else have similar circumstances?  What kinds of choices did you make and did you find being a part of the union beneficial?
no pension?
usually part of your union dues goes towards the pension.

if you quit the union, your pension usually freezes at the point.
so when you retire, your payout ($x per month) will be at the rate when you quit the union.
payouts per month usually increase every few years so if you stayed in the union, it could be several hundred $ more per month at retirement.

Imma

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #27 on: May 26, 2018, 04:11:38 AM »
stoax:

Quote
It wasn't that there wasn't a legal way of getting out of joining the union, but there was an implied threat to your kneecaps  from the union treasurer and his bodyguard.  Years later the treasurer ended up in the Danbury CT federal lock up for intimidating witnesses. 

I've heard stories of East coast unions being tied up with the mob.  Too bad, it gives unions a bad name.  Whereas, the management of the same company could have some sweetheart deals going with the mob and all business won't be given a bad name.  A few examples of bad unions have been used greatly in anti union propaganda. 

Too bad the union members didn't get together and drive the crooked rascals out.

This sounds scary. My union's offficials are grey haired people in suits who go to church. Many of them have a fulltime job as well as a fulltime position with the union, advocating for individual people. I'm a volunteer myself as well, although only for about 100 hours a year.

We pay Ä20/month for our family membership and having access to the union's lawyers is already worth that money. We've never had to use that, fortunately, but whenever we've not been sure about our legal position we have called them for advice.

Kyle Schuant

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #28 on: May 26, 2018, 04:41:36 AM »
Is anyone else a member of a local or national union?  Do you find the benefits of union membership outweigh the costs of the dues you pay?
Ask members of the American Medical Association, or Bar Association, whether it's good for workers to get together to restrict the numbers of people qualified in their work, and have a say in setting their own pay and conditions.

Of course, a professional association is totally different to a union... ;)

Penn42

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #29 on: May 26, 2018, 08:36:41 AM »
I'm a member of the United Association.  Dues are high, but at the same time my local has bargained for significantly improved wages and benefits than if I were to work for a non-union contractor.  Would it be nice to have those dues in the paycheck?  Sure.  Am I significantly better off funding the hand that feeds?  Yes.

JetBlast

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #30 on: May 26, 2018, 08:58:46 AM »
no pension?
usually part of your union dues goes towards the pension.

if you quit the union, your pension usually freezes at the point.
so when you retire, your payout ($x per month) will be at the rate when you quit the union.
payouts per month usually increase every few years so if you stayed in the union, it could be several hundred $ more per month at retirement.

This depends very much on line of work. Trades like electricians are likely to find it beneficial to have the union administer a retirement plan since there is inevitably a lot of movement between jobs as construction projects start and end. More stable jobs, like teachers and police, are often lumped into larger municipal retirement plans since they can be reasonably assured that the city will still need teachers and police a couple decades in the future. Also, for pensions specifically, if the fund ends up with a shortfall due to bad projections or market conditions then the municipality is on the hook for the extra funding.

TheWifeHalf

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Re: Paying Union Dues
« Reply #31 on: May 26, 2018, 09:40:30 AM »
usually part of your union dues goes towards the pension.

if you quit the union, your pension usually freezes at the point.
so when you retire, your payout ($x per month) will be at the rate when you quit the union.
payouts per month usually increase every few years so if you stayed in the union, it could be several hundred $ more per month at retirement.

Look into how it is done before assuming it is one way or another.  TheHusbandHalf's pension, and union membership have NOTHING to do with each other.