Why Membership Matters
1. Why should I join SHARE and pay dues?
Membership makes our union stronger – and numbers matter. Everything we accomplish as a union comes from SHARE members and SHARE staff working together. SHARE member leaders choose their focus, and level of participation, depending on their interests. SHARE staff time is spent supporting that work: organizing, developing and supporting leaders, helping SHARE members with workplace issues, negotiating contracts, maintaining our website, lobbying about GIC health insurance and retirement benefits, answering questions, etc.
SHARE staff time is paid from the dues that members pay. Without income, SHARE would be able to accomplish a lot less.
2. Where do my dues go?
SHARE at UMMS is part of a coalition of local unions that pool their resources, called the New England Organizing Project (NEOP). (The other local unions are SHARE at UMass Memorial, the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers, and the Union of Social Workers at Cambridge Health Alliance.) NEOP is part of a nation-wide union called the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
About 2/3 of the dues go to NEOP. NEOP pays the SHARE staff, plus rent, postage, office supplies, etc. (For more details, see Union Income & Expenses)
The other 1/3 of the money goes to AFSCME in Washington, DC to support organizing, research and lobbying. No dues money goes to political candidates.
3. What do I get for my dues? Is it worth it?
Yes, union membership is more than worth the dues. Strictly speaking, the only thing you get for your dues is a voice in decisions that affect you, but having that “seat at the table” makes all the difference.
Over the last 20 years, SHARE members have used their collective voice to negotiate about their pay, benefits, and work rules. There are a lot of advantages to being in SHARE, but let’s start with one – Raises. SHARE members’ pay has increased faster than non-unit employees’ pay, and the higher amount more than makes up for the dues. (see The SHARE Raise Advantage)
4. Besides better annual raises, what are the other advantages of being in SHARE?
SHARE members get other financial benefits: we have negotiated structure raises, a childcare fund, overtime rules, grandfathered personal day, etc. SHARE members also get non-financial benefits: a community where we take care of each other, problem-solving for work issues, a free college benefit, support during layoffs, input when there are work changes, input on contract negotiations, support and advocacy, information sharing, lobbying about the GIC health insurance and retirement benefits, etc.
5. What do I have to do as a SHARE member?
That gets back to the voice question. Some SHARE members are actively involved in talking to coworkers, setting priorities, strategizing about how to achieve our goals, and supporting other members when needed. Others might get the updates, share an idea, or come to a union event when asked, but don’t spend a lot of time day-to-day on the union. And others just pay their dues to support the work that is being done on their behalf.
Everyone, active or not, gets the raises and other benefits negotiated in the contract, representation if there is a work issue, and the knowledge that someone is advocating for them. The more people who participate in the union, the more effective it is. Whatever your level of participation, we are glad you are with us.