The Difference Between Fair Share and Full Union Members: Why You Should Join the Union

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?

Black and Gold H.W.C. Local 1600 Logo
Remember when our school colors got changed without our input? Though not necessarily Union related, it would have been nice to vote on that decision.

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.

In Solidarity,

Jesú Estrada, Ph.D.
H.W.C./District Chapter Chair, Local 1600


Important Information about Our Sanctioned Meetings

District LogoDear Union Sisters and Brothers,

Yesterday at the General Membership Meeting, Perry Buckley informed us that we would continue to have our sanctioned meetings as we have done for the last 30 plus years.  Apparently, he met with Chancellor Hyman last week, and she was quite upset, not that Perry had raised the issue, but that no one had informed her of this attempted policy implementation.

She said this policy wouldn’t be an issue, but it might be in the future, and sisters and brothers, I will be more than ready if they try to attack our meetings again. 

Furthermore, I have asked Stephanie Tomino to sanction a meeting at our District campus on Thursday, December 12 at 2p.m., after the Board Meeting action.  I just sent the request at like 3:00a.m. and will let you all know as soon as I hear back.  Either way, we are moving forward with this meeting, so stop in District Sisters and Brothers.  I will provide sandwiches and sodas and will give Professional Contracts to members in good standing.

All 1600 members from Harold Washington College and District are welcome to attend.  I expect officers to be there, if their schedule allows.

In Solidarity,

Jesú Estrada, Ph.D.
H.W.C./District Local 1600, Chapter Chair

Support Our Security Sisters and Brothers, C.C.C.L.O.C., and 1708

Dear Union Sisters and Brothers,Harold Washington College Logo

The week of Monday, December 9th through December 13th, we are doing a solidarity campaign with the various Unions (C.C.C.L.O.C., 1708, and our own security sisters and brothers) to support the various ongoing contract negotiations and oppose Biometrics.  Wear red that week or a red item.

I will also be handing out quarter cards explaining why we are wearing red, which you can post on your cubicles and in your offices.  In addition, I am in the process of having a quarter sheet designed that illustrates our discontentment with Biometrics, a system that would require all workers to scan their fingerprints when they come to work.  This is a 2.1 million dollar system that criminalizes us–pegs us as “time thieves”–and destroys our academic integrity.  No union was consulted before implementing this system and bringing these Big-Brother-style machines into our colleges.

Enough is Enough!

We say NO to Big Brother Attacks on Workers!

On Thursday, December 12, at 9a.m. at 226 West Jackson, we are asking that you attend the Board of Trustees meeting wearing red.

We also ask that you email or call C.C.C. Vice Chancellors Laurent Pernot ( and Stephanie Tomino (, 312-553-2987) to express your general disgust with a system that puts savings over our dignity as workers and above our institutional integrity.

Health Benefits, Now!  Living Wage, Now!

                                                     FAIR CONTRACT, NOW!!!

District Logo:  Fight the Power!

In Solidarity,

Jesú Estrada, Ph.D.
H.W.C./District Chapter Chair, Local 1600

"Union, Every Day"