DELEGATES MEETING re:PER CAPITA INCREASE
BACKGROUND – The current per capita paid to Council 57 by Local 2620 is $26.30 for FT members and $16.55 for half time members and $12.10 for those who work less than half time.
The current per capita paid to Council 57 by Local 2620 is $26.30 for FT members and $16.55 for half time members and $12.10 for those who work less than half time.
Local 2620 currently pays Council 57 about $105,000 every month in addition to paying AFSCME International and multiple local labor councils about $63,000 per month. The income to Local 2620 is about $143,000 a month. That means for every $1.00 of dues we collect from our members only about $0.45 comes to the Local. Council 57 has proposed to increase the per capita by $8 and had come to the board of Local 2620 to explain the increase at our January 2019 board meeting. The board had voted almost unanimously to oppose the increase.
COMMENTS FROM DELEGATES
- There is concern about the lack of specificity about the hiring of the in-house attorney to serve the council to take legal expenses off locals’ budgets. Different locals pay their own attorneys for arbitration and other work. There was no clarity as to which locals would be served by the attorney and how one attorney was to serve 24,000 members and who would make decisions about what matters go to arbitration or get the attention of the attorney.
- There is lack of specificity about how the increases were intended to be rolled out for each local as increases varied between locals. There was concern that if the timing for the increases was flexible, locals would delay paying the increases until the end of the two years.
- There was no business plan presented with the proposal for the increase in per capita. A raise of $6 would take the income from dues beyond the $1.1m that was said to be lost income from Janus. An increase of $6 would increase per capita income to Council 57 by $1.728m. There was no explanation why this sum was necessary or how it would be spent beyond the “fluff,” as one delegate put it, that is in the attachment.
- The Council has about $3 m in reserves, some of it presumably built up over the years from the attrition of business agents and administrative staff. These vacancies had not been backfilled for the past two years. Instead the Council has hired managers and directors. There was no mention of how this reserve (which was from savings caused by these vacancies) would be applied to help tide the effect of Janus.
- Council 57 has not presented a plan for the Council together with the locals for organizing post-Janus to recoup the losses due to Janus and to prevent further losses. Surely this is area where the Council needs to take the leadership role. It was suggested that the Council join with the locals to reach the former fair share payers and not sit idle. Thus far, there has been no plan. Instead the Council has applied for funds and deployed resources (its organizing staff and director) to assist other unions (not within the Council) to organize and increase membership.
- Many locals are already in deficit. How are they going to fund the per capita increase without financial ruin. The local leadership is the face of the union to the ordinary member, not the Council executives. How will members be convinced the union helps them when they don’t see the locals due to lack of funds for their activities? Organizing has thus far been done at the local level with no support from the Council.
- The directors on the Council 57 board were not all agreed with the proposed per capita increase. They were all invited to share their views and why they opposed the per capita increase. Those who supported it said we need the increase to plug the hole left by Janus and said it was time to increase per capita because there had been no increase since 1999. Those who did not support had alternative proposals which included a joint organizing effort by the Council and locals to get new members to offset the loss of fairshare revenue.
- No other union has proposed a per capita or dues increase since Janus. There is no precedent for the damage such a move may cause the locals. The timing of the proposed increase is poor, coming immediately in the wake of Janus. Members who are already on the fence about the unions do not need Koch brothers to convince them to quit the union. The union would have done so itself.
An update will come soon. Stay tuned!