It takes resources to maintain a strong union and engage in effective representation. Dues provide such resources (see pie chart below for breakdown). How dues are spent by our Local Union is determined democratically by union members. Consistent with the UAW Constitution, our Local Union will have regular membership meetings where financial reports and priorities are presented and discussed.
Most of the work of enforcing the contract and representing membership is carried out and financially supported by the Local Union. A UAW Local Union like ours typically retains more than 1/3 of membership dues for such work, which includes:
- Educating employees about their rights and the union
- Advising employees with problems and supporting them through the grievance process if necessary
- Working to ensure that the University implements all terms of our contract
- Paying for arbitration costs if a grievance cannot be resolved with the University
- Putting on relevant events on topics like visa/immigration rights, taxes, equity and inclusion in science, etc.
- Future contract negotiations
- Local Union advocacy efforts on public policy that supports research and researchers
An additional 1/4 of dues goes to the International UAW’s General Fund, which provides support for contract enforcement and future contract negotiations, as well as new organizing campaigns. The remainder of dues goes to the UAW Community Action Program (3%) and UAW Strike and Defense Fund (44%, though as long as the fund stays over $500 million, which has been the case for many years, Local Unions receive a “rebate” such that the Local retains about 37% of all dues money).
The portion of dues allocated to the International UAW supports Local Unions and members in a variety of ways, such as:
- training support for grievance handling and internal organizing/outreach best practices;
- access to support on legal issues or technical topics like health and safety or benefits;
- support for new organizing campaigns (all the resources that helped us win our union and first contract were paid for by other UAW members over the last several years);
- a stronger political voice alongside 80,000 other academic workers – UAW academic workers in recent years have effectively advocated on a variety of issues of great importance to researchers, such as: increasing federal science funding, the expansion of Optional Practical Training for international scholars, inclusion of postdocs in the 2016 overtime regulations under the Obama administration, filing amicus briefs against the Trump travel bans, expanding the right to unionize for graduate and other academic workers, etc.