AFGE’s total E-Dues membership surpassed the 10,000 enrollee milestone for the first time in October, thanks to locals’ concerted efforts to protect our union’s financial resources by switching members to AFGE-run dues deduction system. The hike constitutes more than 300% increase in enrollees since our scale-up efforts were kicked into high gear in August.
During the past few months, several locals have intensified their efforts to get all their members to enroll in E-Dues. Local 31 in Cleveland, Ohio, is no exception.
The local, which represents Department of Veterans Affairs employees, has moved up quickly the past few weeks to stand at number 2 among the locals with the highest number of E-Dues members. The local has 545 members enrolled in E-Dues as of Oct.18, but it’s not stopping at that.
“We want to take the number one spot,” said Local 31 President Darryll Bell.
The local’s E-Dues push began late July. Once the e-board made the decision to switch to E-Dues, the local stopped processing new members through traditional payroll deduction and started signing new members up through the AFGE-operated system.
It also generated and mailed a letter of explanation to the entire membership to notify them that the local was converting to E-Dues and why. The letter was sent along with a How-to-Join-AFGE-in-4-Easy-Steps flyer, which the local found to be very useful in explaining to members how to enroll in E-dues.
The letter became a primer to get the conversation started when the local held its E-Dues events. Once members understood how the system worked, they switched.
“What we also started doing too is doing a lot of one-to-one conversations,” Bell explained. “This was also a tool we used to increase our mapping because we had to go to each and every area.”
The local, which represents employees at the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center, 13 outpatient clinics, and a few other VA facilities, also recruited people to enroll members on weekends and second and third shifts so that they can reach out to everyone in every location.
It recently had a week-long event with the help of district and national staff and was able to sign up more than 100 E-Dues members. District 6 National Vice President Arnold Scott, District 6 National Representative Hope Berndt, and District 6 Legislative and Political Coordinator Dave Sheagley have been coming down to help with these week-long drives.
Bell said switching to E-dues is critical considering the Trump administration’s ongoing efforts to cut off dues deduction governmentwide.
“We understand what this is. This is union busting by default,” he said. “It’s imperative that we take control of our finances because there’s no way you can make a rule about how we collect our own dues as long as we allow the agency to collect the dues. They can determine the rule, like we have to sign everyone up annually. We can no longer afford to operate in that fashion.”
He added, “We have to make sure that the federation remains financially stable in order for us to provide the representation that we do and also to fight some of these legislative battles.”
Local 31’s Tips for Switching to AFGE E-Dues
- Get informed. Locals must understand how the system works in order to explain it to members. This is an excuse to talk to every member that you have.
- Set achievable milestones.
- Mail a letter of explanation to members along with the How-to-Join-AFGE-in-4-Easy-Steps flyer.
- Food always draws people in. Use raffles to give away small gifts like gift cards and AFGE paraphernalia.
Have questions about E-Dues?