Membership Dues and Benefits

Membership dues support member activities and causes. They allow us to operate on an even footing with large corporations and influential executives.  They allow us to face attacks by entrenched political forces that would rather not answer to anyone about anything.  They allow us to field a staff of field representatives that monitor contract implementation and member concerns on individual worksites. They allow us to organize and administer independent benefit programs which provide a secure future for our members and their families.

Our dues structure has two components; a local monthly fee and an hourly payroll check off.

  1. Each member is responsible for paying his or her local monthly membership dues.  Local 1503 monthly dues are $30 per month and are due on the first of each month.  Dues are payable at the 1503 Local Office or can be paid via credit card over the phone.  Many members find it convenient to set up an automatic payment plan using their financial institutions electronic bill-paying capability.  These dues pay for the costs of owning/maintaining an office, hiring office staff, communicating with members and underwriting the costs of projects determined by members at the monthly meetings.  Local officers are volunteers and serve without compensation.
  2. Members authorize employers to deduct an hourly deduction to underwrite the costs of union membership.  This hourly check-off goes to the Northwest Regional Council and International UBC to support union services and interests that can only be achieved on a larger scale. :  Currently this check-off amounts to about $1.31 per hour for a journeyman carpenter.
  3.   These services include:
    1. Negotiating contracts and agreements with small contractors  to multi-state construction corporations
    2. Maintaining regional offices, training facilities and their staffs
    3. Hiring and managing union field representatives versed in employment law and our work contract
    4. Managing benefit programs for members of local unions
    5. Identifying and responding to political threats to union membership
    6. Promotion of economic initiatives that would benefit union carpenters
    7. Marketing the benefits of our union to employers and employees
    8. Public education and advocacy for all working Americans

So, penciling it out, the costs of membership would look something like this:

In one 40 hour workweek a Journeyman union carpenter will currently expect to earn approximately $1,304 gross in salary and benefits. Over that same period of time he or she will pay approximately  $50.00 in dues, or roughly $240.00 per month.  Under our current contract that monthly cost would be recouped in less than seven hours of work.  For that expense the union carpenter receives the following benefits:

  • Membership in an International Brotherhood dedicated to protecting the employment rights and living standards of its members.
  • A voice with management for establishing workplace standards and conditions
  • Access to a portable portfolio of benefits which follows the union carpenter from employer to employer, location to location: a portfolio which is established independent of a specific employer and is jointly managed by signatory contractors and union representatives.  These benefits include:
    • Transportable healthcare coverage.  Earn it with one employer, take it with you to your next job.  Every day you work as a union carpenter you earn credit towards you and your family's healthcare coverage.  120 hours of work in a month buys you a month’s worth of coverage.  Work steady and you can bank up to 3 month’s coverage.  Few individuals could purchase comparable medical coverage for what they would pay in dues as a union carpenter.
    • Dental Coverage.  Union carpenters and their families are covered by a good dental plan.  If one of your family members needs dental work our plan will cover much of the cost.
    • Pension Coverage.- Your carpenter pension will allow you to plan for a secure retirement.  Carpenters work hard, and it takes a toll on the body.  Our pension plan works to insure that professional union carpenters will be able to afford retirement before their bodies become fully worn out. As you work your pension grows in an independent account  insulated from economic swings, company fortunes and management policies.  Trustees from union and signatory contractors insure that our pension program observes federal obligations and will be around when retirees count on it.
    • Vacation funding. –Part of your benefits package is a credit towards paying for a vacation.  For each hour you work $1.50 is automatically deducted from your wages and deposited into a vacation account.  This total grows over time and can be distributed to you several different ways over the course of the plan year.  Plan to take a distribution when its convenient for you with the knowledge that you’ll have the funds to enjoy yourself.
  • Training and Skills Enhancement-  Most jobs change over time. Sometimes whole professions go away.  Sometimes they  morph into a whole new way of accomplishing work.  The carpentry trade is no different.  Twenty years ago lasers were practically unheard of on the job site.  Computer assisted drafting, project management software and tilt-up buildings are all new spins on traditional building methods.  .Our programs have provided industry leading training in industries ranging from healthcare safety protocols to silicon industry construction techniques.  Our programs help members grow and develop valued construction management skills. The bottom line is that union carpenters have the support to gain new skills which keep them efficient and employable.