Per capita tax increases by 30 cents, dues by 60 cents

Compared to wage increases, union dues increases are minimal

SINCE 2002, THE AVERAGE monthly wage for unionized workers has increased from $3,090 to $3,489 — a monthly increase of $399. During the same five-year period, Boilermaker union dues have increased by an average of only $4.80 per month.

Wages vs. Dues, 2002-2007

Increase is less the previous 4 years

THE BUREAU OF LABOR Statistics (BLS) has announced a 1.3 percent average increase in hourly earnings for the manufacturing industry from July 2005 to July 2006. As a result, the International raised its per capita tax in 2007 by 1.3 percent (30 cents) and monthly union dues by twice that amount (60 cents), effective Jan. 1.

These increases are in accordance with the Boilermakers’ Constitution. Article 12.2.2 states the monthly per capita tax will be adjusted annually by the BLS average percent increase in earnings for manufacturing, rounded to the nearest nickel.

Article 31.2.2 states that monthly union dues will increase by twice the annual adjusted per capita tax increase. Applying the 2005-2006 BLS 1.3 percent increase to the 2006 per capita tax rate of $20.65 equals 28 cents (30 cents when rounded to the nearest nickel), making the 2007 per capita tax rate $20.95 effective Jan. 1.

Monthly union dues vary by division, but the average rate increased by twice the annual adjusted per capita tax increase (two x 30 cents = 60 cents).

The automatic dues increase was created by convention action in 1973, and has been in effect since 1975 so that revenue will keep up with inflation. Prior to that time, conventions had to vote for all dues increases. When they met only every four years, that meant they had to try to predict wage growth and expense growth over the next four years (now it’s five). By making the increase automatic and pegging it to rising wages, they ensured rises in revenue kept pace with inflation and did not create a hardship on members since the increases were linked to wages.