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The Benefits of Joining ATU 843
Posted On: Sep 22, 2020

Benefits of Union Membership

      Union members have the benefit of negotiating with their employer as a group. This basic right gives them much more power than if they were to negotiate individually. On average, nonunion workers have median weekly earnings that are 80% of earnings for workers who are union members. Ninety-two percent of union workers have job-related health coverage versus 68 percent for nonunion workers. Union workers also have a great advantage over nonunion workers in securing guaranteed pensions.

      Through their CBAs and the grievance and arbitration processes, unions help to protect their employees from unjust dismissal. Therefore, most union employees cannot be fired without “just cause,” unlike many nonunion employees who are considered “at-will” employees and can be fired at any time and for almost any reason.

Why Join?

      When considering whether to join the union, individuals should remember that the union was formed and ratified by their fellow employees based upon the principle that everyone who benefits from the collective bargaining process should share in its costs. Simply stated, the well‑being of all bargaining unit employees is improved immeasurably when the union obtains higher wages, better health care and retirement benefits, fairness in the discipline system, and the many other improvements realized in contract negotiations. But it would be difficult to provide such effective representation at the bargaining table without the influence earned through the “nongermane” political and ideological activities of the trade union movement. It is our political work that has brought a more worker‑friendly U.S. Senate and House of Representatives receptive to honest dialogue about such matters as health care reform and the need for changes in our labor laws. And it is our legislative involvement that has prompted the likes of the Family Medical Leave Act and many other important bills both at the local level as well as nationally.

      Any individual thinking of not joining the union also needs to keep in mind the considerable benefits of union membership that will be surrendered. As a nonmember, you relinquish many valuable privileges, including the right to attend and participate in union meetings; the right to run in local union elections and to otherwise nominate and vote for any candidates for union office; the right to participate in the formation of ATU bargaining demands; the right to vote on contract ratification questions; and the right to enjoy the many benefits of the Union Privilege Benefits Program, which offers low-interest credit cards, legal and travel services, prescription drug cards, and life insurance.

      It remains our opinion that all of our organizing and all the legislative, litigation, and similar activities undertaken by the ATU are essential to improving the working conditions of all the employees we represent. Still, as a democratic and law-abiding union, we acknowledge and stand fully prepared to honor an individual’s freedom to choose not to be a member of the ATU and to not support these essential union endeavors.

Union Dues

      Union Dues are calculated as 2.6 your hourly wage or the minimum set by the international (whichever is higher).

      This year the current minimum dues set by the International are $58.80.

      Your monthly dues are collected by a dues deduction process at half the amount per pay check.

      The minimum dues are adjusted by the international annually.

      Dues are calculated by the union and not the WTA

      Dues are evaluated by the financial secretary three times a year and adjusted by step raises

Initiation Fee’s

      Union Initiation Fees are 200.00, Not to worry it is not all taken at once.

      Initiation Fees are payable in increments of 25.00 per paycheck until completed.

      Should you choose to participate in the New Member Class, half of your Initiation Fees are reimbursed back to you from the union.


Contact Info
ATU Local 843
1308 Meador Ave Suite 101
Bellingham, WA 98229

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