At our Executive Committee meeting last Friday, the EC unanimously voted to approve a change to our bylaws on dues collection to give TAUP the flexibility to use an alternative method to collect dues temporarily if circumstances arise that constrain the collection of dues through the usual method of payroll deduction. It is now up to you to vote on these proposed changes; a change to the bylaws requires the approval of 2/3rds of those voting. You can vote here and the specific changes can be found below, but first, I want to explain the challenges that have moved us to propose these changes:
Adjuncts voted to join TAUP over two years ago, yet Temple is still working on a method for their payroll dues deductions. The contract guarantees that automatic dues deduction will be phased in by Summer II of this year. But adjuncts should want and do want to pay their share as soon as possible. To do this for this semester, due to the great variations in adjunct compensation and complications in finding a collection system that will accommodate us, we may need to set a flat rate based on the base rate negotiated in the contract. Passing this provision would allow us to use this flat rate if needed, for up to one year.
We have seen attacks both in Pennsylvania and outside it on automatic dues deduction for public-sector Unions. For instance, in the most recent legislative session, PA Senate Bill 166 aimed to make it illegal for dues to be deducted for political action funds, even though these contributions are entirely voluntary and dues are never used for contributions to political purposes. The bill was defeated, but the vote was close (90-102).
There is reason to believe that not only will it return this coming session but that there may be proposals to outlaw ALL automatic dues deduction. This has been proposed in Texas, Michigan, and Alabama in the wake of Wisconsin’s notorious Act 10, which in 2011 outlawed automatic dues deduction, among many other assaults on Unions. We must be vigilant and ready to resist such attacks, which will not stop anytime soon.
If this were to happen in Pennsylvania, TAUP needs the flexibility to institute other ways of collecting dues–again, only for a limited time. Any proposal to change the structure of dues beyond a year would have to gain the direct approval of the membership for such a change, as the bylaws normally require (see clause 1, below).
Let me be clear that this change, if approved, will not increase TAUP’s dues. We just want to ensure that we are not crippled financially if automatic dues deduction were to be prohibited.
Other changes are more minor. We no longer offer a reduced first-year rate, so that clause is no longer relevant, and has been eliminated from the new language. We also correct an error in the text; adjuncts do not pay pass-throughs, which are increases in the per capita fees we pay to our state, national, and international affiliates. These increases are already built in to the per caps that adjuncts pay.
The proposed changes are in red:
1. Changes in the dues structure must be made by the membership voting by secret ballot. The proposed change must be distributed to the members no fewer than twenty-one (21) days prior to the balloting. A simple majority of votes cast is required for passage of changes to the dues structure.
2. Annual TAUP dues shall be:
a. Untenured faculty, Probationary Librarians and Academic Professionals – 0.85% of base salary;
b. Tenured faculty, Librarians on regular appointment, and post-probationary Academic Professionals – 1.1% of current annual base salary.
c. The upper limit to TAUP dues shall be based on the average salary of a full professor at Temple University, as reported annually in the AAUP publication Academe. This limit shall be adjusted every July 1 following the publication of ‘Academe’s’ annual salary survey.
d. Those who are on half dues currently for the first year will continue at that rate until their first year is up.
e. In addition to above percentages, dues will include all constitutionally mandated increases passed on to TAUP by our affiliate unions since 2002, in accordance with the constitutions of the AFT and AFTPA.
f. For adjunct faculty, 0.55% of base monthly pay, plus required per capita fees to our affiliates
and all accumulated pass-throughs from affiliates.
3. In exigent circumstances, such as the absence of or removal of automatic dues deduction for one or more constituencies in TAUP, an alternative mode of collecting dues can be substituted for one (1) academic year if this alternative is unanimously approved by the Executive Committee. Any extension of this change requires the approval of membership as per clause 1., above.