What are the UFF membership dues, and who determines them?
Membership dues are currently 1% of your regular gross salary. The dues rate is set by the UFF Senate, a state-level body in which each UFF chapter is represented by senators elected by the chapter. By participating in UFF-UF governance, you can have a say in the dues structure.
Most of your dues go to UFF’s state and national affiliates, who provide staff and legal support in contract negotiation and enforcement, offer expert advice in interpreting legislative initiatives, and use their lobbying power to communicate faculty concerns to the legislature, the governor, Congress, and the general public. For details on how much of your dues goes where, see “How are my dues spent?” below.
Some of UFF’s most significant accomplishments—such as prevailing over the attempt in 2002 and 2003 to dissolve UFF’s collective bargaining agreements—were possible only with assistance from our affiliates. Legal assistance for the 2002-2003 battle alone would likely have cost more than UFF could have afforded on its own, but UFF received these services free of charge because we are a paying affiliate of these larger organizations.
What do we get for uniting and paying dues through UFF?An organization of professional peers that stands up for higher education
- A legally binding collective bargaining agreement that has brought the faculty set promotion raises and ensured health and retirement benefits, academic freedom, and intellectual property rights
- Lobbyists, lawyers, and bargaining and arbitration experts at the local, state and national level
- Full representation for members if contract enforcement or legal assistance is necessary
If 1% still seems like a lot for these benefits, some other things to keep in mind are:
- If you take advantage of the various members-only benefits, you may recoup some of the costs of your union dues in direct benefits.
- Some or all of your dues may be tax-deductible as an itemized business expense.
- You may elect to have your dues are taken out of your paycheck every two weeks, which may lessen the sting.
- If your salary is even 1% higher than it would be in the absence of UFF, that difference may essentially pay your dues for life.
- Your UFF dues may be viewed as an investment in your career, rather than as an expense.
- Your UFF dues are probably higher than the dues for your discipline’s professional association, but that association does not bargain for your salary and other terms of employment, and does not enforce your contract rights.
How are my dues spent?
A percentage of dues collected by UFF in each fiscal year is returned to the local chapters (“chapter rebates”) the next fiscal year to support bargaining, contract enforcement, and other chapter operations, while the rest is allocated to the statewide UFF organization and its state and national affiliates.
In 2016, the percentages of dues sent to the chapters and the other organizations were:
UFF Statewide: 33% (a portion of which is rebated back to this chapter)
Florida Education Association: 32%
National education affiliates National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT): 33% (combined)
AFL-CIO and Florida Central Labor Councils 1%
The figures above are percentages of total dues collected; the percentages for each individual member’s dues, other than the percentage returned to the chapter, depend on the member’s salary.