Dues increase explanation: Why our Union urges “YES” vote

AFT 2121 reserves drawn down

AFT 2121 cash reserves have declined significantly from over $400k to close to $100K over the past 5 years of deficit spending. With faculty salaries finally restored, we need to increase the dues rate to reverse this draw-down and to manage increased Union expenditures, including:

  • increases in affiliation fees
  • rent increase of 31% since 2011 with further increases likely
  • passing on of faculty salary restoration/increase to 2121 prof’l staff
  • significant increases in workers’ compensation and health and welfare premiums of AFT staff
  • major overdue upgrade of office computer network
  • maintaining organizing staff as a key part of ongoing 2121 campaigns
  • Increased affiliation fees to AFT/CFT
Current dues to AFT 2121 are 1.26% of faculty earnings and have been at this rate since 2011. Although affiliation fees to the National AFT and to the State CFT have risen by 13%, our Local has not passed through these increases to our members. These affiliation fees have risen to 60% of our Local’s budget, significantly reducing funds needed to run our Union at the local level.
We track the amount of dues revenue our Local receives versus the amount we pay out in affiliation fees to AFT/CFT. Because we have a percentage dues structure, we can sometimes cover such increases by simply growing the faculty wage base. Unfortunately, in the last several years, we have seen both depressed faculty wages and shrinking numbers of faculty. Because of these depressed faculty wages, we have held off increasing the dues rate until now. The result is that our Local owes a balance in its affiliation fees account of $165,666. By increasing the dues rate, our Local will be able to bring this amount down over the next few years.
Affiliation with our national Union has provided invaluable support in recent years. Without CFT/AFT support, we would not have been able to mount the counterattack on the ACCJC after being placed on sanction in 2012, nor would we have been able to organize our successful contract campaign resulting in our contract settlement last July, 2016.
Financially, AFT and CFT have provided:

  • the lion’s share of legal costs for fighting ACCJC in court, now totaling over $1 million
  • 2/3 funding for 2121’s organizing work
  • rebate of CFT dues (36%) for Local’s professional staff
  • CFT/AFT staff support at no cost providing legal and strategic advice

Annual audit of AFT 2121 finances underway

AFT 2121’s finances are currently being audited by an outside auditing firm as required by law and we will publish our financial statements at its conclusion, as well as our current 2016/17 budget.

Our Union urges members to vote ‘Yes’ on dues increase
The election of Donald Trump and the Republican control of Congress is a threat on so many levels. One of those threats is the against the labor movement. Those who want to defeat labor are now considering a national “right to work” law. The Supreme Court will also change in ways that make unions vulnerable.
We need to be ready to fight back and defend the interests of working people and those we work for, our students and communities.
This is the context for our union. Voting for a dues increase will help keep our union strong.

AFT 2121 reserves have diminished dramatically because while AFT National and CFT Statewide fees have increased we have not passed on those increases to our faculty since 2011. At the same time, our Local has invested its limited resources in a high level of organizing in support of the successful contract campaign, the battle against the ACCJC, and to save our college. We have been discussing the impact on AFT 2121 finances and the need to increase dues. Faculty at other CA colleges commonly pay 1.5% in dues.

Last month our rank-and-file leaders voted unanimously to approve bringing a dues increase from 1.26% to 1.5% to a vote of the membership.

Contact AFT 2121 at 415-585-2121 or visit us online at aft2121.org. Follow us on Facebook.
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Phone: 415-585-2121
Email: aft@aft2121.org.
Address: 311 Miramar Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94112