Per capita tax to increase 60 cents in 2009

Constitution calls for monthly union dues to increase by twice that amount

THE BUREAU OF LABOR Statistics (BLS) has announced a 2.84 percent average increase in hourly earnings for the manufacturing industry from July 2007 to July 2008. As a result, the International will raise its per capita tax in 2009 by 2.84 percent (60 cents), and monthly union dues will increase by twice that amount ($1.20), effective Jan. 1, 2009.

Compared to wage increases, union dues increases are minimal

Union members make nearly $900 more a month than their nonunion counterparts

SINCE 2004, monthly union dues paid by Boilermakers have increased a total of about $5, on average, while the average monthly wage for unionized workers in the manufacturing industry has increased by $464 — from $3,384 to $3,848.* In the same period, nonunion wages have increased by only $303 a month, from $2,652 to $2,955,* an advantage of $893 for union workers in wages alone.

Wages vs. Dues

* 2008 figures not available at time of printing. July 2008 BLS average wage increase of 2.84% used to make 2008 estimates

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 2007-2008 BLS 2.84 percent increase to the 2008 per capita tax rate of $21.60 equals $0.6134 (60 cents when rounded to the nearest nickel), making the 2009 per capita tax rate $22.20 effective Jan. 1.

Monthly union dues vary by division, but the average rate will increase by twice the annual adjusted per capita tax increase (two x 60 cents = $1.20).

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, convention delegates 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.