The Union: How Your Union Dues Are Spent -- RSMC

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Wednesday May 12 2004

In January 2004, all Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers (RSMC) received a pay increase and started to be covered by Employment Insurance and the Canada Post Pension Plan. Also, all RSMC started to pay union dues to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW).

Every month, all RSMC pay 1.67% of the wage component of their salary to CUPW in the form of union dues. This payment is tax deductible when you complete your income taxes for 2004.

Good Value For The Money

As a CUPW, member you will receive excellent services and representation, including:

· Information and communications

· Shop steward and social steward representation

· Grievance and arbitration representation

· Health and safety information and representation

· Assistance in matters of Employment Insurance

· Workers' Compensation

· Work schedule consultations

· Contract negotiations

· Political campaigns and lobbying on postal, national and international issues

· Union life insurance

All of the union dues received by CUPW go towards paying the costs of representing you and providing services to you and other members of the CUPW. There are also provisions in the collective agreement and the Canada Labour Code that require Canada Post Corporation to assume the costs of union representation in specific circumstances. In addition, the union has negotiated some separate funding from Canada Post that enables the union to provide exceptional services in fields of education, child care, job creation and service expansion.

You Are the Union

While membership in CUPW entitles you to union representation, it is important to recognize that none of these services could be provided without the active participation of CUPW members. It is the willingness of members to volunteer to be union stewards and run for executive positions that makes the union strong and effective. Without the union and membership participation in campaigns and activities, we would be at the mercy of management.

Contact a local representative about becoming active in the Union.

Where the money goes*

Each RSMC pays 1.67% of salary to CUPW as union dues. For every $1.00 spent by the union, the breakdown is as follows:

· 25.9¢ Local Union Rebates: This money is used to pay costs incurred by your local union. CUPW locals pay the cost of affiliation to their local labour councils, some education, communications and various services. Many local unions have offices and some larger locals have full-time officers. Each local union submits a detailed budget to the membership for approval. Information concerning all financial dealings is available to the membership.

· 3.7¢ National Union's Reserve Fund: This money is set aside to be used in case of emergencies or unforeseen circumstances. Any use of this money requires a two-thirds majority vote of the National Executive Board prior to being spent.

· 3.4¢ Life Insurance: CUPW provides free life insurance to all members in good standing.

· 9.1¢ Arbitration, Professional and Legal Fees: Unlike most unions, CUPW National pays the cost of grievance-arbitration.

· 1.6¢ National Committees, Trustees, Appeal Board: National committees work on the following issues: work measurement, women, human rights, health and safety. These committees meet periodically and their mandate is described in the CUPW National Constitution.

· 3.2¢ Negotiations: This money goes to negotiations for the Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers (RSMC) unit and the urban postal operations unit at Canada Post as well as negotiations for private sector bargaining units.

· .5¢ Labour and Coalition Support: CUPW recognizes that our success depends upon the success of the struggles of other unions and other groups representing the interests of working people.

· 1.5¢ Affiliation Fees: CUPW National pays for the costs of affiliating to the Canadian Labour Congress and Union Network International.

· 2.8¢ Operating Expenses, National Headquarters: This includes telephone, rent, library, maintenance, repairs, furniture, rented equipment.

· 3.5¢ Operating Expenses, Regional Offices: This includes telephone, rent, library, maintenance, repairs, furniture, rented equipment, gas, cars.

· 2.8¢ Printing, Postage, Union Newspapers: This includes printing, postage and the cost of producing and sending CUPW Perspective and regional papers.

· 4¢ Salaries and Fringe Benefits, National Elected Officers: This includes 7 National Executive Committee members and 11 National Union Representatives. Fringe benefits include pensions, statutory benefits, premiums, disability insurance, Workers' Compensation.

· 6.4¢ Salaries and Fringe Benefits, Regional Elected Officers: This includes 8 National Directors, 16 Regional Officers and 21 Regional Union Representatives.

· 10¢ Salaries and Fringe Benefits, National Office Staff: This includes temporary technical assistants, research and communications specialists, translators, computer technicians, office administrator, administrative assistants, data records assistants, bookkeepers, assistant bookkeepers, accounting assistants and purchasing and printing assistants.

· 4.2¢ Salaries and Fringe Benefits, Regional Office Staff: This includes administrative assistants and temporary technical assistants.

· 1.1¢ Travel, National Headquarters: This includes the cost of travel, per diem and mileage of officers and staff at National Headquarters.

· 2.1¢ Travel, Regional Officers: This includes the cost of travel, per diem and mileage.

· 2¢ Regional Education Seminars: This does not include national education paid for out of Paid Education Funds negotiated with employers.

· .6¢ Internal Organizing: This includes union campaigns. There is also $800,000 for external organizing which is funded separately from union dues.

· .5¢ Special Funding: CUPW National provides special funding to promote women's participation in union activities, participation of members in human rights forums. It also subsidizes child care costs for members participating in union functions.

· 5.3¢ Constitutional Meetings: This includes presidents' meetings, referendums as well as National Executive Board, National Executive Committee and Regional Executive Committee meetings. It also includes money put aside for national convention.

· .9¢ Computerization: This includes the cost of updating and maintaining the union's computer systems

· 3¢ Depreciation, Interest, Insurance

· 1.9¢ Other: This includes many small cost items.

* Not including expenses from funds negotiated with employers such as Appendix T , education, childcare, and international postal fund