RESEARCH ASSISTANTS UNION
COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS OF AMERICA, AFL-CIO, LOCAL 1104
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Why do I have to pay dues?
Organizations are allowed to charge dues as a way to raise money to pay for expenses. These expenses typically include overhead, such as rent, office supplies, and the like, as well as salaries of officers. Money is also used for other expenses, such as annual Stewards’ Appreciation dinners. Money unions also donate to campaigns for local and national politicians, as well as to relief agencies, such as the Red Cross.
2. How is the amount of dues I must pay established?
The amount of dues is charged by Local 1104, Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO (“Local 1104″) is established by its By-Laws. It is currently 2% of base salary. For Research Assistants, Local 1104 is charging 1.5& for the first year.
3. How can the amount of dues that is charged be raised?
The By-Laws of Local 1104 are specific on this point. Dues may be charged only by a majority of those voting on the question by secret ballot referendum or by a majority secret ballot vote in meetings where a quorum is present, if the meeting has been advised on bulletin boards at least fifteen days in advance of the meeting, or by notice mailed to each member at least fifteen days in advance of the meeting.
4. How can you pay dues?
Dues are generally paid via a payroll deduction from the employer. In the private sector, a payroll deduction or authorization card must be completed and signed by the employee authorizing the employer to deduct dues from his/her paycheck. The signed authorization is revocable. This procedure is set forth in the collective bargaining agreement.
Employees can also pay dues directly to Local 1104.
5. What if I do not want to pay for the union’s political activities?
There is a procedure for members who object to the union using their dues money to fund political candidates they may not support. The case Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO v. Beck, 487 U.S. 735 (1988) establishes the principle that employees do not have to pay for a union’s political activities they do not support. Employees who object to full dues are generally called “Beck objectors” or “agency fee payers”. This is also set forth in the collective bargaining agreement. You can read more in the webpage of National Labor Relations Board.
To invoke your rights under Beck, you must notify Local 1104 that you wish to be a Beck objector. You pay the full dues during the year. At the end of the year Local 1104 calculates the percentage of the money it spent on political activities. That percentage is then applied to the dues it collects and, for Beck objectors, that percentage is refunded. In general, it is approximately 15%.
The letter of objection should include name, address, social security number, CWA Local number and employer.
Objections must be sent to:
Agency Fee Administrator
Communications Workers of America
501 Third Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001-2797
6. Who is considered a full member?
Member who pays full union dues are considered full members. Full members are entitled to vote on internal union matters, such as contract ratification.