This letter is to inform you of a dues increase from $83.00 per month to $86.00 per month on January 1, 2011. As you are aware, the last dues increase was January 1, 2008. Since that time, the Black Book wage rates have increased 8% without a dues increase. Your Executive Board in the past felt that increasing dues to that which is required by the Local 399 Bylaws and International Constitution at a time when the Writers’ Guild was on strike and SAG was engaging in a de facto strike was too great a burden on the membership. However, in the face of significantly increasing costs, we must now impose a modest increase in our dues rate.
Under the Local 399 Bylaw, setting the amount of your dues that was adopted on December 22, 1985, requires that the dues be raised when your wages are increased. Your Executive Board has unanimously decided to keep your dues within reason and only increase your rate from $83.00 per month to $86.00 per month instead of the $95.00 per month and continue to absorb the additional $9.00 per month you could have been charged. We believe this approach gives the local the additional resources it needs to properly represent you while not putting too much of a burden on your families in this period of uncertainty in the financial world.
I also want to assure you that your dues is much less than other locals similarly situated. We are considered a “Special Craft” Local. We are different from general locals in that we rely on the motion picture business for our sole support. There are only two other locals in the IBT which are similar to us. Local 817 in New York and Local 155 in Vancouver. They charge their members a lower base dues rate but their members pay assessments equal to 3% of their gross earnings when they work. I will let you do the math but based upon your weekly earnings, if we went to a similar system, you would pay weekly what you now pay monthly. For example, at Local 817 in New York, they only pay $25.00 a month in dues. However when they work, they pay an assessment of 3% of their gross wages. So if they make $2,500.00 a week, they are assessed 3% which equals $75.00 a week. $75.00 times 4 weeks equals $300.00 a month plus the $25.00 dues a month which totals $325.00 a month. So compared to the other seasonal special craft Locals, New York and Vancouver, we pay a lot less. Again, we believe this modest increase after 3 years without an increase makes the most sense.
Over the years, I have been asked what a member really gets for their dues. First of all, I believe I have assembled a great crew and office staff to service the rank and file. In addition, your collective bargaining agreements are the envy of virtually every other Teamster industry under contract. Your wages are unsurpassed; your Pension & Welfare Plans would cost you thousands per month if not fully paid for by the Producers. This was negotiated for you by the Local. You have overtime and call back provisions never heard of in other industries; and you have a roster which allows you to work at multiple producers rather than being relegated to one employer. We believe our members receive a great deal for the dues they pay and if you think about it, so will you.
Thank you again for your support. We will continue to provide top notch representation at a reasonable price. We are here to serve you.
Leo T. Reed
Please click on the link to see the letter: Dues Increase Letter