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Question: How do I pay my dues while I’m out on Company Offered Leave?
Short Answer: Contact your Local Lodge Secretary-Treasurer. Your Secretary-Treasurer is the best person to talk to about all things related to union finances. Your Secretary-Treasurer can also help you find out if you qualify for special rates, automatic payroll deductions, and other assistance. (You have to be out of work from the first of the month to the last day of the month in order to get reduced fees. Again, talk to your Secretary-Treasurer for more information.)
News flash: not everyone loves paying dues. But with everyone pitching in, we have been able to do some remarkable things. Before the pandemic hit, we raised our wages and protected the health care and pensions of thousands of airline workers. These wins have led to stronger bargaining positions for thousands of additional airline workers.
Importantly, we’ve helped create safety measures and policies that keep us and our passengers safe. We have not suffered involuntary furloughs. We haven’t experienced the kinds of deep pay cuts and benefits reductions that non-union workers have faced. Unlike non-union employees, we have earned ourselves critical time to prepare for whatever our companies plan to do.
Non-dues paying employees at other airlines, meanwhile, have been the victims of mass layoffs, pay and benefit cuts, and worse.
Protecting the advantages we have isn’t easy, and it isn’t cheap. No single employee can possibly cover the costs alone; workers simply must work as a group in order to stand a chance.
To put it bluntly: if we weren’t paying dues, we would have been furloughed or laid off long ago.
A typical grievance that goes into arbitration might cost airline workers (as a union) $10,000 to litigate. That’s $10k for each instance where we need to enforce our contracts. Negotiating a union contract with a major airline is another expensive project that requires strong financial support. Additionally, workers need to pay people for the work they do. A typical union salary for a local lodge president in the IAMAW is around $100 per month. Union members who work for their lodge need reimbursements for the work they do on “lost-time.” These payments to union activists are fair and necessary. There are also utility bills, rent costs and other expenses that have to be met.
Maintaining your good standing with the IAMAW is required to participate in union activities such as voting in union elections, running for office, benefiting from free college and other programs and discounts, and attending union meetings and conferences.
To find out how you can remain current, just check with your Local Lodge Secretary-Treasurer. They can look at your specific case and take care of all the back-end work for you. You may also qualify for a reduced rate while you aren’t on payroll. Your local Secretary-Treasurer can take care of that for you too. If you need help contacting your Secretary-Treasurer, just ask any local lodge officer or committee member, or send a message to IAMAW District 141.
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There are billionaires who want to use any excuse to take away your paycheck and pension. There are billion-dollar reasons to take away your ability to work at all during the COVID outbreak. But, if we stick together as a union, we can keep what we have, negotiate fairly when needed, and survive much better than we could as separated employees just trying to hold on to our jobs and futures.