Are SHARE Dues Worth It?


Paying union dues is an investment in yourself and in your co-workers. Dues pay the cost of maintaining an important network among SHARE members at UMass Medical School. As with any investment, it’s important to re-evaluate how the costs compare to the benefits.


On average nationally, union employees make more money than their non-union counterparts. Union members tend to have better benefits, and the pay gap is smaller for women and minorities in union environments, as calculated by federal agencies such as the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as non-profit, non-partisan think-tanks such as the Economic Policy Institute.


When we run our own numbers, we find that the trend holds here, too: SHARE members gain more than non-unit employees . . . even taking the cost of dues into account. If you consider raises at UMMS in recent years, and compare a SHARE member and non-unit employee who started at the same rate, you will find:


  • In the first year, the SHARE member does less well (when you subtract dues from income), but then catches up and passes the non-unit person, however,

  • The SHARE member has gotten more frequent raises, and

  • The SHARE member has gotten bigger raises – the difference in any particular year is small, but the differences add up, so that

  • Each year, the advantage of being in SHARE grows


For example,a SHARE employee who begins her UMMS career making $14 an hour quickly leapfrogs a non-union employee who starts at the same rate. [[insert link to math]]. In her first year, the SHARE member started out behind by $419  (because of the cost of dues). However, with her first raise, she begins to catch up, and brings home $1,317 more in the second year. The cumulative effect of raises over five years means that at the end of that time, the SHARE member has $3,355 more in the bank.


That’s the easiest mathematical difference to draw, just counting raises and dues. It overlooks the advantage of other financial benefits, such as overtime, the grandfathered personal day, the childcare fund, structure raises, predictability of raises, etc.

As a SHARE member, you can take advantage of other, non-financial benefits as well:

  • A community where we take care of each other,

  • Advocacy and Problem-Solving,

  • Support during layoffs

  • Ability to input when there are work changes,

  • Input on contract negotiations,

  • Information sharing,

  • Lobbying, and more . . .


You can visit the [[SHARE Advantage Calculator]] to better understand the difference that SHARE membership has made for you individually. Or contact the SHARE office with questions.


Final paragraph: “The Court’s ruling in Janus will have far-reaching implications. It will determine how effective unions can be in the future, but the case is about more than that. This case is about whether a small group of wealthy donors and corporations is able to rewrite some of the nation’s most fundamental rules to serve their own interests at the expense of the public good. Public-sector workers provide critical services on which every community depends. These workers care for our children and aging parents, keep us safe, and keep our streets clean. Attacking their wages and benefits will not only hurt them but the local communities where these services matter most. If the Supreme Court is persuaded by these powerful corporate interests to prohibit unions from collecting fees from the workers they are required by law to represent, working people and the communities they serve will suffer the consequences.”


B. link to another article from the Economic Policy Institute explaining the fairness of fair share fees:


C. link to another article, also from the Economic Policy Institute, about middle class jobs and unions: which includes: * “The steady decline in unionization over the last 40 years has led to rising inequality and stagnant wages for the American middle class. Not only do union workers earn higher wages, unions have strong positive effects on the wages of comparable nonunion workers, as unions help to set standards for industries and occupations.”

* Chart1 showing declining membership and increasing economic inequality * Another link with an additional chart2: