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July 8, 2011

AFSCME to charge nonmembers $360 per year

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the largest union of state workers, has set its nonmember fee at $13.84 per biweekly pay period -- roughly a dollar less than full-fledged members pay, an official said this morning.

Beginning this month, thousands of non-union state workers will see their paychecks reduced by $10.80 to $14.96, thanks to The Fair Share Act. Passed in 2009 by the General Assembly, the Gov. Martin O'Malley-backed bill kicked into gear after state workers this year approved broad contracts containing the nonmember union fee provision. 

Sue Esty, AFSCME's assistant director, said the nonmember fee is based on a union expense amount that auditors have determined is "chargeable," meaning that it doesn't directly relate to political activities.

Unions like AFSCME say charging nonmembers is a matter of fairness because the contracts they negotiate with the state apply to dues-paying members and nonmembers alike. But some of the state workers who don't want to be part of a union but must now pay anyway say the fees are tantamount to stealing. 

AFSCME bargains on behalf of about 21,000 state workers and only about 8,000 pay dues. This new fees mean the union stands to gain as much as $4.7 million over the next fiscal year, about double what it takes in now. Maryland is one of about two dozen states with "fair share" laws.

AFSCME notified employees of the new fees last month, and more than 1,000 workers have decided to sign up for the union, paying about $389 per year.

Those who decline to be members but haven't objected in writing will pay $360 per year. And those who have objected in writing -- "political objectors" -- will pay about $280 annually. Last week, AFSCME reported that about 610 workers have asked to be political objectors.

The Fair Share Act also enables those with a religious objection to refrain from paying any union dues or fees -- but those workers must provide proof of their religious objection and must donate an equal amount to a qualified charity.

Many state workers who are in bargaining units represented by other unions, including the American Federation of Teachers and the State Law Enforcement Officers Labor Alliance, also are now subject to nonmember fees.

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 11:53 AM | | Comments (17)
Categories: Money and Business


How is this legal Julie?
I f I do not want to join an union why would I be forced to pay fees towards union membership?
This does not pass the stink test.
Sure looks like payola to the union for supporting our champion tax and spend Governor MOM.
Has anybody challenged this in court yet?

Another example of Governor O'Malley 'growing' the economy and 'private sector' jobs. An additional $4.7 million labor payoff/bailout at the hands of working Maryland families. Outrageous.

Well, it's probably easier than sorting out the non-union workers and letting them have whatever working conditions they can negotiate by themselves.

"the Gov. Martin O'Malley-backed bill kicked into gear after state workers this year approved broad contracts containing the nonmember union fee provision."

Oh really?
So a majority of the approximate 21,000 State employees supposedly represented by AFSCME agreed to this?
I don't think so!
This stinks and should be thoroughly investigated, then send Owe'Malley and AFSCME packing back under the rock from whence they crawled!

From Julie: All workers in bargaining units had a chance to vote on contratcs. AFSCME reported about 8,000 did so.

Thank you Julie, but, let's do some math and analysis.
There are presently 8,000 dues-paying members (per the article), and about 8,000 people voted (per your comment).
Are they the same 8,000?
8,000 is 38% of 21,000.
If 38% are generating $2.35M currently (1/2 of $4.7M as projected next year), shouldn't the balance of 62% be generating $3.8M for a total of around $6.2M.
"Figures lie, and liars figure", and this is a scam being forced upon State employees.
Since AFSCME supposedly represents MD State employees then please be so bold as to ask them to release a searchable database of the salaries of AFSCME leadership as has been done with State employees salaries.

I wonder if any of the apoplectic writers so far who feel that this process of paying a share of the cost for negotiations is so corrupt also believe that employees should refuse the benefits of the negotiated contract if they don't want to pay any of the costs to negotiate them?

I guess that would take too much rational thinking or conflict with preconceived notions.

"From Julie: All workers in bargaining units had a chance to vote on contratcs. AFSCME reported about 8,000 did so."

Actually, Julie, this is untrue. Only those workers who were either already AFSCME members OR attended an AFSCME meeting (where they signed up for membership) were allowed to vote.

I am now paying two unions to represent me. This is BS!

Please don't vote O'Malley into any elected office, again! Idiots!

Well George, AFSMCE negotiated a $750 bonus for FY 2012, and union dues for non-members is $360 a year, sooooo, for FY '12 and FY '13, dues will be $720, so these people will see a net increase of $30 for two fiscal years.
And the pathetic 2 and 3% COLAs for '13 and '14 respectively, can easily be avoided if the State does not meet revenue projections, but how will they know they don't meet them until after the fact, that's why they're projections.

"I guess that would take too much rational thinking or conflict with preconceived notions."

I highly suggest you take your own advice and develop some logical, rational, reasonable, and critical thinking skills before you project the lack of same on others.
You either bought this ridiculous party-line 'hook, line and sinker', or you are some shill for AFSMCE.
Union membership is dwindling, its reason, rationale, and effectiveness is passe.

Why is it when I looked at my check $15.52 was taken out for the fair share fees, when the packet that came to me said my fee is to be $13.16? Do they really think that we are stupid? And no I had no vote.

time to move to virginia, they have a surplus

$1.12 less, and you must wait a year before any status change. Have you seen the partisan vitriol the AFSCME Facebook page posts? This is tyranny.

ACTUALLY the $750 "bonus" is to offset the increase in mandatory retirement contributions because the state sucks at handling our money. The mandatory increase is an extra 2% with no added benefits. Unfortunately, the $750 "bonus" will only help offset one year of that increase.

Lets see what we've gotten lately thanks to the Union (which my state agency isn't even ALLOWED to join)

no raises in the last 4 years (including cost of living), furloughs practically every year, and they even took away our 401K match... now they're increasing our mandatory retirement contribution (with no added benefits at retirement).

sounds like we're getting the shaft big time.

Like HELL i'm going to pay union dues when we neither benefit from, nor can EVEN LEGALLY JOIN the union.

Screw you, O'Malley.

What a crock, i have been trying for 3 months to get an answer from the union and had no reply.
I barely bring home 420.00 per week, my job requires a college degree and I have a 800 person caseload. Not to mention my pay goes down every year.

I need that 13.00 fair share fee to live, the union states the fee is the fair share for what they have done for me...WTH???

they havent done anything other than keep reducing my pay! it says this money helps pay for social and recreation activities of the union.. and I cant even afford to go to a movie...

Better wake up... soon no one will want to do these jobs for no money. but there is hope because the economy in Virginia is improving, and in VA I might even be able to have my own home before I am 65 yrs old

whaz wrong non union people you mad because your templar knight erhlich did not win and he was going to save you the dems keep you overrated lazy sneaking out for breaks low on sevices working. Remember do not bite the hand that feed you.

This is CRAP and unconsitional!!!

We get furloughed for the last three years and NOW we have to pay for an illegal union!

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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