Why am I paying for Union dues?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by waloshin, May 19, 2011.

  1. waloshin macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    #1
    I am working as a Summer Student at a mine, and have to pay $60 a month for Union dues, plus $200 for joining the Union.

    Now why I question this is we don't get any benefits of the Union, we don't get medical, dental, nothing.

    So why are the summer students paying for nothing?
     
  2. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #2
    I don't think you know what role the union you are in provides. That much is clear

    Why don't you ask your hr person? You would get a much more accurate answer on the matter
     
  3. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #3
    Why not ask the shop steward that question? Clearly you have little grasp of unions and perhaps they'll enlighten you.
     
  4. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #4
    Can they force you to join? I am strongly opposed to unions so would refuse to join if there was one in my workplace, which thankfully there is not.
     
  5. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #5
    Not joining a union has implications with your coworkers and management. Also depending on the collective bargaining agreement you may have to
     
  6. glocke12 macrumors 6502a

    glocke12

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    Jan 7, 2008
    #6
    Years ago I was in the same position. I wasn't an intern, but a regular employee.

    I saw no benefit of joining the union and paying outrageous union dues, and once I saw how the dues were spent (lavish parties, expensive gifts to long term employees, etc), I saw even less reason to join.

    End result? I was looked down upon and harassed at times by fellow employees, and when layoffs came i was the first to go.
     
  7. 0007776 Suspended

    0007776

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    #7
    You said you where working in a mine, so at least if you go underground at all, you are getting a lot of benefits, mines aren't the safest places to work, but unions have forced them to be safer. So I'd say surviving the summer working there is worth the cost of the union dues.
     
  8. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #8
    This is why mostly. While I agree with other posters the value of a union is no longer there. Not joining a union when there is one there is usually not a good idea. Plus you have no protections with management and you will be the first to go on layoffs.
     
  9. glocke12 macrumors 6502a

    glocke12

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    #9
    Yep...I hate to say it but sometimes it is better to not fight it and "go with the flow".

    If you are working in a high risk area like a mine, the last thing you want to do is make waves with your co-workers.

    If it were me Id talk to the shop steward and just explain that your a college student working there temporarily and that you do not see what advantage joining the union gives you. If he reacts negatively just go ahead and join, and chalk it up as a life lesson.
     
  10. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #10
    Do you intend working there again after this summer? Do you really care all that much if your co-workers think you are a bit of a tool? If the answer to these two questions is no then refuse to join.
     
  11. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #11
    And go back to coolies setting blasting charges.

    No thanks.

    I agree that some unions have gone too far, but don't throw out the baby with the bath-water.
     
  12. eawmp1 macrumors 601

    eawmp1

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    Feb 19, 2008
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    FL
    #12
    Now that you are in college now, it's time to learn how the world works. You need to research trade union history to get a better understanding on why you, as a worker, might need union protection: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_union
     
  13. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #13
    Some unions???

    True back in the turn of the century employers were taking advantage of workers. Today not so much. Instead we see unions striking for double digit raises (when most of us are dealing with pay cuts or pay freezes). They're whining when employers want the employees to pay their fair share for healthcare while the rest of us pay through the nose.

    No, any examination of most if not all unions show excesses and extremes that are out of touch with reality.
     
  14. eawmp1 macrumors 601

    eawmp1

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    #14
  15. barkomatic macrumors 68040

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    Manhattan
    #15
    Please, employers take advantage of workers now more than ever. As imperfect as unions sometimes are, you'll be far worse off if all unions were destroyed. We would go back to dangerous working conditions, and very poor--if any -- benefits for most people within a decade. It's not that unions ask for excessive wages/benefits--its that the standard of living in the U.S. has virtually collapsed due to years of policymaking that has deregulated and benefited private companies while gutting programs like public education. Do you really want your kids to be taught by a teacher who makes $12 an hour and has no health benefits? What kind of a person do you think those wages might attract?

    You should be more upset with those politicians whose policies have eroded the standard of living. I've seen people complain endlessly about excessive oil company profits, tax subsidies or highly paid CEO's while also outraged about unions. That's a contradiction really. You're telling me that a company that pays out $200 million or more to its CEO can't afford to provide health benefits to its workers? please.

    That being said, I'm not sure why that mining union world force a temporary summer student to join, but my guess is that it might be an overzealous effort to prevent union busting. In the past, companies would hire masses of temporary workers to undermine the collective bargaining power of the full time workers. It's a messy business.

    Are you being paid?
     
  16. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020

    Liquorpuki

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    City of Angels
    #16
    It's possible that union negotiations are the sole reason they actually have student jobs where you're working. If this is the case, you'd owe the fact you have a summer job to the union and should pay them instead of piggyback off their work.
     
  17. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #17
    This has the odour of a "glass house" question.

    Unions in the States will be under constant attack, because their labour competitors in other countries do not have that constraint.

    And Capitalists dislike not being able to make money.
     
  18. samiwas macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2006
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #18
    Yes, all unions are like this. All union members everywhere in the country get massive pay increases and great benefits at no cost to them.

    In my union's last negotiation, the employer didn't want to cave to the whopping 4% or 5% wage increase (Something like $20.25 an hour to $21.00 an hour. I don't even remember what the result was.

    I am offered health insurance through the union...at over $11,000 a year for the middle-range family plan (just me and my wife). The more I work, the more the employer pays into the pot...but no way would I ever make that kind of moolah. Even at my full pre-tax wage, I would have to work for over 13 forty-hour weeks just to pay the cost of insurance. The employers contribution is much less than my wage.

    And lavish parties and such. HA. Our union office is smaller than my bedroom at home, and the people who run it can barely afford to eat.

    Not all unions are money machines. Union dues that I pay go towards paying the business agent and office manager (very little), paying the rent and utilities for the office, funding the legal defense pool. Once in a while, they might have a small gathering, but certainly no lavish parties.

    As to the OP...the amount you are paying seems pretty normal, but it would depend if you were working full time and getting paid or not. I guess it depends on how much they are paying you and what you are getting. I know that in addition to $260 yearly dues, I have 5% taken out of my paycheck for work dues. There's also an option to just pay $50 and no dues, but there's very little chance you'll ever get a call to work. For your $60 a month, you'd have to make only $1,200 a month at that rate. I certainly hope they are paying more than that, even if you are a student.
     
  19. Surely Guest

    Surely

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    Los Angeles, CA
    #19
    I'm just glad that I moved to the US so that my still can watch South Park online.
     
  20. Plutonius macrumors 604

    Plutonius

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    Feb 22, 2003
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    New Hampshire, USA
    #20
    Because you are subsidizing the full time workers and the full time workers make the rules.

    Just wait till you are no longer a student and start paying serious taxes (assuming you earn a good wage). Then you will ask "how come I'm paying high taxes and not getting much in return" (especially when you see all the other people essentially not paying taxes but getting most of the benefits).
     
  21. aramosc macrumors regular

    aramosc

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    May 4, 2011
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    San Diego, CA
    #21
    If you are working for the summer you should opt out of the union.. Unions represent the workers and will negotiate better working conditions for the people represented by it.. In my experience unions have been a pain and they never did anything for me. but that could be because we were a hospitality company and the union we were members of was a massive one that could not care less about us.. but anyways for a summer you should save your 200 and 60 bucks a month because they will most likely not do anything for you in the course of the summer
     
  22. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #22
    If it's a "closed shop", his only option is not working there for the Summer.
     
  23. aramosc macrumors regular

    aramosc

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    May 4, 2011
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #23
    true.. but it's worth asking before going ballistic against the union..
     
  24. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    #24
    Not worth the agro and potential blowback. Find out what the union offers and take advantage if you can to clawback some of the fees. If you don't join, there is also the possibility of the employer renegotiating your wages downward. Btw, any chance of a strike at the mine? That might make being outside the union "interesting".
     
  25. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

    KnightWRX

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    Jan 28, 2009
    Location:
    Quebec, Canada
    #25
    I've never had a union provide me those benefits, it was always the employer that did. Are you under the mistaken impression that these are paid for by your Union fees ?

    I've always paid separately for dental/medical/etc.. on top of Union fees. Union fees pays for my delegates to get time off from their normal job to represent me and my collegues and negotiate with the employer during renewals of our labor contract.
     

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