Nearly 200 AFGE locals and counting have declared their independence from government-controlled dues collection and joined the AFGE E-dues system.
Local 910 at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Kansas City, MO, has one of the highest percentages of E-dues members in the federation. In a little over two months, more than 300 members out of 1125 – or more than 1 in 4 – have already switched to AFGE E-dues. And the number is rising every single day.
“Many people have commented how quick and painless it was,” said Dr. Janet Constance, Local 910 vice president and VA psychologist. “In general, people understand why we are doing it. I’m able to tell them, ‘Hey, look. The strength of the union comes from its number and its financial resources. And they are trying to mess with both of those things by taking away our payroll dues deduction. This is union busting straight up. We need to get ahead of it.”
Dr. Constance said her local has made the E-Dues campaign a priority. It has already had seven E-Dues events and has planned a total of 43 E-Dues events and weekly “micro pushes” for the rest of the year.
How do they go about it? They make these events light and friendly with a rotating food theme like free soda, coffee, non-alcoholic margarita and daiquiri, donuts, cookies, candy bars, and popcorn.
Members have been satisfied with the security of the system, said Dr. Constance, and thanks to the training they received, the local has been able to address the few questions that have come up quickly.
In Philadelphia, members of Local 940 voted unanimously to switch to E-Dues. Out of more than 700 members, 170 have already switched as of Aug. 7.
Local President Jim Rihel said his team had presented members with the local’s finances and explained what would happen if the administration cuts off union dues.
“I told them the Trump administration is trying to control how they spend their own money,” he added.
To get everyone enrolled in E-Dues as soon as possible, the local is now calling every single member and asking them to stop by the union office to sign up. It has been a success as 35 people enrolled immediately.
The question that gets asked the most is whether dues will come out just like they did before. The answer is yes – they come out the same day. The only change is where they’re coming from.
Rihel said the process is getting easier every day as AFGE updates the program regularly.
Local 910’s tips for switching to E-dues
- The number one question members have about E-dues is “How do I do it? Help me do it.” So make sure union reps know how to sign people up. Most members need one-on-one help.
- Ask retirees to come in and help sign up people as union reps can only do it during their lunch breaks.
- Stagger your union volunteers’ lunch breaks so there will always be someone to sign people up and answer questions.
Local 940’s tips for switching to E-Dues
- Talk to members face-to-face about what’s going on and guide them through the E-Dues process.
- Make sure you have a tablet and/or a computer available as some members can’t see as well on a smart phone.
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