Often, I get asked this question, “If dues are being taken out of my check, am I not a full Union member?” The answer is a resounding, NO. Let me explain the difference between a Fair Share and a Union member.
Joining a Union is Your Choice
As Don Radtke, Treasurer of the C.C.C.T.U. explains, “Fair Share is a political compromise to allow employees to not be in a union but at the same time share in the cost of negotiating and protecting the contract that benefits them. Fair Share dues [are] handled and used the same way as full member dues except for any portion which is for politics.” Dues are being taken out and go to the function of the Union. That is true. However, Fair Share members cannot vote either in local or C.C.C.T.U. elections, or on Contracts. Voting rights are for Union member only. Furthermore as Radtke asserts, your dues will not be used for politics, if you are a Fair Share member. If you are a full dues paying Union member dues will go toward politics “that help protect your bargaining rights, promote funding for colleges, and protect our pensions” (Radkte).
But, You Need the Power to Vote
The power to vote, however, is crucial. With your vote, you can refute a Contract that is being negotiated and force the team back to the table. We attempted this at the Harold Washington College Chapter and definitively defeated the last Contract at our chapter, but sadly, for numerous reasons this defeat was not the case at other campuses. However, that power is yours.
In addition, we have chapter and C.C.C.T.U. elections coming up in early March. Now is the opportunity to vote in a new leadership that will represent your interests; and, you can only run if you are a Union member in good standing.
If you want to vote during the upcoming Union elections, you must sign up by January 31st.
Will Your Dues Go Up Once You Sign Up?
No. Your dues will not go up.
A few weeks ago, I had manila packets delivered to all Fair Share members both at Harold Washington College and the District campus. If you are at H.W.C., return the forms to room 612 or room 629.
If you are at District, I can pick up the packet from you, or you can drop off the packet at the Security Lobby. There is a wooden box to the left of the desk if you face Jackson Street. However, I have no problem picking up the packet from you personally. You can text me at 312-371-3774; send me your floor or office location. I will be visiting the District campus this Tuesday, November 26th, from 11a.m. to 1:30p.m.
Once you fill out the packet, I will FAX your form into the Union office. New members then get approved at the House of Delegates and Executive Meetings. Afterward you will receive a white packet, many of which I still need help delivering (unsubtle hint floor reps).
I highly encourage you to sign up. If you have further questions, feel free to call or email me.
Jesú Estrada, Ph.D.
H.W.C./District Chapter Chair, Local 1600