Letter from Union President to clarify some confusion about your Union dues

Dear 121RN Member at Pomona—

I’m the new President of your Union. I work at Dignity St. John’s Regional Hospital—where, like you, we went to the brink of a strike last year to defeat takeaways pushed by our hospitals’ ownership.

I’ve learned that there is some confusion at your hospital about the dues we pay to finance the work that we do.

Let me start by reassuring you that there is no increase to our dues. A vote of our full membership is required to set our dues rate, which was and remains 1.65% of regular wages (there are not dues deducted from differentials, etc.).

The only change in 2021 is the lifting of the cap that had been placed on the dues deduction for the highest earning members. Having a cap means that those of us with the highest wages have been paying a lower percentage of our income in dues than our co-workers who earn less. In 2014, we, your Union’s Executive Board decided on a plan to gradually lift the cap that had been placed on the dues deduction for higher earning members. After we voted on this to make it fair for everyone, we put the issue to a vote of the full Union membership, which passed. You can see the original flyer here from Executive Board members showing support for this important decision to invest in our Union and to create parity among all members.

To ensure that this change didn’t become disruptive, the lifting of the cap was rolled out in steps over 6 years, with complete restoration of equal dues for all members in February 2021.

Whenever we talk about dues, it’s always important to remind ourselves what they pay for. Click here.

For example, I understand that one of the biggest victories that your colleagues on your Bargaining Team won last year was fighting off the hospital’s plan to freeze night and weekend differentials. If you had no union, hospital management would implement it…you will feel the worth of this win for years to come. Without this victory, it could cost some members over $40,000 in the next ten years.

And don’t take your current pay for granted: since you first formed your Union 17 years ago, RN wages have gone up roughly 60% on average. But if you were fresh out of Nursing school back then and continue as a Clinical Nurse II today, your wages went up more than 177% thanks to your Union-negotiated scale and Union-negotiated raises.

Looking ahead, let’s make no mistake: 2019 won’t be the last time that our hospital management comes at each of us demanding cuts that put shiny new expansions and financial reports ahead of patient care. They’ll be back, and when they are, we’ll stand shoulder to shoulder for patient care and the next generation of nurses, just like we always do.

Thank you for your commitment to continuing to build the strength of our Union, and for the work you all do.

In Unity,

Dr. Nina Wells, DNP, MSN-NE, RN, PHN
President, SEIU Local 121RN

P.S. Also to clarify, only 1.65% of your recent raise will go toward dues. In other words, for someone earning $55/hour, the December raise is going to be worth more than $3,000 over the coming year (probably much more than with weekends, OT, etc). 1.65% of that will go toward your dues, or less than $1 per week.

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