Members Vote to Maintain Current Dues Rate at CGE Winter 2014 General Membership Meeting
CGE’s Winter 2014 General Membership Meeting (GMM) was Thursday, January 30th. The GMMs are large meetings, held once per term, where CGE members vote on major decisions. The biggest decision for the Winter GMM was whether to keep CGE membership dues at their current rate (2.00% of each member’s GTA or GRA salary) or lower that rate to 1.83%. Following the success of the CGE Recognize All campaign, CGE has experienced an increase in revenue from an additional ~900 bargaining unit graduate employees. While the increased bargaining unit size does increase costs, it still produces a net surplus under current budget conditions. For this reason, the CGE Executive Council convened the Dues Committee to reconsider the current dues structure and recommend a new rate. The Dues Committee recommended to the CGE membership a new dues rate of 1.83%.
The Dues Committee arrived at this number by first calculating a “business as usual” budget for the new, larger bargaining unit. They then projected revenue with the new bargaining unit and calculated a ~$90,000 annual surplus under “business as usual” conditions. During the dues committee process, a number of potential expenditures outside of the business as usual projection were identified as possibly benefiting members, including a) moving moving to a new office location that is accessible and not flood-prone; b) increasing the total FTE of CGE employees; c) increasing CGE’s member services, such as potentially administering our own health care plan; and d) increasing reserves in order to maintain CGE operations in case of a budget crisis if the anti-union (so-called “Right to Work”) ballot initiative passes in November of 2014.
A dues decrease from 2.00% to 1.83%, as proposed by the Dues Committee, would result in an annual savings of around $12-$40 for every GTA or GRA, but would still mean a surplus of approximately $42,000 per year for CGE to invest in some, but not all, of the expenditures listed above. After an informative and impassioned debate, the vote was held: the proposal to lower dues from 2.00% to 1.83% was rejected by a narrow margin, 27 nays to 26 yeas. Many members expressed concerns about budget uncertainties given the upcoming anti-union ballot initiative, and others felt that given the relatively minor savings for individual members, the money could be better utilized by pursuing more of the improvements mentioned above.
Any CGE member may propose a change to the dues rate and bring that proposal to the CGE membership for approval. According to the CGE constitution, Article XIII, Section 1, “Regular dues shall be fixed by a majority vote of members present at any regular membership meeting, provided notice of the contemplated dues change has been announced at least one month in advance.” If you are interested in proposing a dues rate change or have any questions about the process, please contact CGE Organizer Ashley Bromley (firstname.lastname@example.org) for details.