Locals cannot survive without an adequate dues structure and Locals that do not have an adequate dues structure are in violation of the AFGE Constitution.
The current bi-weekly dues for AFGE Local 1206 are $20.00 per person, per pay period. Each AFGE Local pays AFGE National $20.91 & NVAC #53 $3.00 per month per dues paying member. The dues we pay are for AFGE to represent us in Washington, DC in the form of full-time lobbyists who lobby for our interests on Capitol Hill. AFGE is the largest non-political lobbying organization on Capitol Hill, as opposed to the special interest groups you might hear about on a regular basis for various political issues.
The Local’s operating expenses are paid for with the remaining dues money. The three main functions of a local are 1) representation, 2) organizing and 3) legislation. To do any of these things well, we need support from our members and we need to grow the size of our Local.
Representation is the function of representing employees who ask for assistance from our Local. We have to train people who want to represent our co-workers as Stewards. Training requires the cost of attending classes, which includes the expense of the class and training materials, travel costs and per diem costs. No one wants an inexperienced Steward to represent them. Also, training does not stop after the first representation class. AFGE offers training for all facets of representation. Training our Stewards and Officers obviously requires resources.
Organizing is the function of building the local. We have added many new members in the last couple of years. However, due to the fact that many of our co-workers are at or near retirement age, we are losing members almost as quickly as we are gaining them. AFGE Local 524 routinely pays incentive bonuses to new members and the current members that recruit them. Again, this effort requires resources.
Lastly, legislative and political efforts are the efforts we make with our elected officials to advocate on behalf of our co-workers. The phone calls to Capitol Hill, off duty and off the work site, are the no-cost portion of this effort. Face to face meetings, especially on Capitol Hill, requires resources for travel and per diem expenses, in addition to the support from AFGE staff to prepare our Stewards and Officers for their meetings with elected officials and their staffs.
We hope this explanation of what dues money is used for will help answer questions of how much the dues are and what they get used for.