- Are there initiation fees to join the union?
- How much are dues?
- What are dues for?
- Are dues tax deductible?
- I’ve heard that I can lose my job if I don’t join the union.
- What is the difference between being a member and not?
- Why isn’t there a representative from Bedford Hills on the Executive Committee?
- Can I apply for the Medical Assistance Fund?
- Can I apply for a grant from the Professional Development Fund?
- Who do I turn to if I have a problem?
- How can I help?
Are there initiation fees to join the union?
How much are dues?
Dues are 1.75% of your gross earnings.
What are dues for?
The majority of the money paid in dues doesn’t go to our Local – it gets forwarded to both the AFT and NYSUT, our parent unions. What’s left after that is what is in the treasury of the Local, to pay for copying, postage, a bank account, etc.
Are dues tax deductible?
Most of them are (the part that goes toward representation). If you complete an itemized tax return you can claim a deduction.
I’ve heard that I can lose my job if I don’t join the union.
That’s a misunderstanding, but one that is related to a reality. What MAC and MMC Administration agreed to in the collective bargaining agreement is what is called an “Agency Shop.” That means that anyone covered by the collective bargaining unit has the choice to become a union member or not. But those who decide not to join the union still must pay their “fair share” of what it costs to represent them. All bargaining unit members are required to pay the equivalent of membership dues, either through a “dues check-off” (where it is automatically deducted from your paycheck) or through remitting the amount directly to the union. If a bargaining unit member refuses to sign the “dues authorization form” (which gives MMC permission to automatically deduct your dues) AND also refuses to personally remit dues to the union directly, then thirty days after the implementation of the contract (or thirty days after hiring), the Union will request that MMC terminate that individual’s employment. So, nobody HAS to join the Union and nobody HAS to authorize that dues be deducted directly from their paycheck. But everyone MUST pay the amount of money it costs to represent them and if they don’t do that they WILL lose their job.
Isn’t that unfair?
Not really. Union representation costs money. The gains the union was able to negotiate in the contract will apply to everyone. Similarly everyone — member and non-member — is entitled to equal representation by the Union. Any adjunct faculty member, tutor, or accompanist who needs to use the grievance procedure, for example, will get exactly the same attention, advice, and support from the union regardless of whether or not they are a MAC member. What WOULD be unfair is to expect ONLY members to shoulder the financial responsibilities of union representation and let everyone else have a “free ride” so to speak.
What is the difference between being a member and not?
Non-members are known as “Agency Fee Payers.” Practically speaking that means that although Agency Fee Payers are entitled to the exact same representation as members, they are not entitled to have a voice in the union. Only members can vote on union matters, run for office, etc. Financially speaking, Agency Fee Payers initially pay the same amount as members do (either by automatic deduction or through personally remitting the monies to MAC). However, at the end of the year, Agency Fee Payers may request (in writing) that they be refunded what amounts to a small portion of their dues. The monies they get back cover the amount of their dues which went to things that were NOT directly related to the Union’s representation of them. Agency fees, therefore, are the “fair share” portion of representation. Legally, agency fees cannot include monies MAC (or NYSUT or AFT) used for things like political lobbying or organizing workers elsewhere. The difference, which can’t be calculated in advance (that’s why Agency Fees payer wind up getting a small refund) is a very small amount of money, probably somewhere around a few dollars a year. Generally speaking, only people who are philosophically opposed to unions or are followers of certain religions (like Jehovah’s Witnesses who often abide by certain restrictions about the types of organizations they can belong to) choose to become Agency Fee Payers instead of members.
Why isn’t there a representative from Bedford Hills on the Executive Committee?
The Constitution Committee felt that the Bedford Hills program’s Adjuncts would be fairly represented on the Executive Committee by any elected Adjunct.
Can I apply for the Medical Assistance Fund?
Applications for the MAF are sent out via email at the beginning of the calendar year.
Can I apply for a grant from the Professional Development Fund?
Yes you can. The application form is here.
Who do I turn to if I have a problem?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
How can I help?
A Union exists for its Membership. One of the most important aspects of unionization is the ability of the individual or small voice to be heard, and for us to help each other. Participation is the key to that. Contact us at email@example.com and we’ll see how we can help each other.