There are always good reasons for more money to have more money. To paraphrase Unionist Sam Gompers said, "More is better!" (http://thinkexist.com/quotes/samuel_gompers/)
Regarding the Council 220 proposal: As a Local President, I don't see that we do not get much help from the Council. I have sent the Council President several emails asking him if he will testify to a deal he made with SSA which SSA interprets in a way to preclude our Service Representatives in Muskogee from working overtime in Tulsa ODAR. He has refused to reply. They don't send us minutes of arbitration committee meetings, national meetings with SSA, national meetings with the other Union components (General Committee meetings and conference calls). The Council President left the National contract bargaining for all 50,000 of us to work on individual political campaigns. We ended up with the 2005 contract which had a lot of give backs in employee rights and Union rights. I don't think Council 220 has demonstrated that it will use an extra $1 per member per month any more wisely than it has used up the $100,000 it had in savings.
Regarding the National proposal, I have nothing in writing and have only heard things. As Local President, I am much more inclined to provide more money because I know what National is doing: mostly lobbying on various employee issues, not the least of which are (1) our pay raise (2) our statutory employee rights and (3) health insurance...specifically that funding the economic recover and health insurance for the uninsured and underinsured is NOT going to result in lower pay, less health insurance coverage and much higher health insurance premiums. I don't call or email them unless I need help with something for our members. I can say that when I have phoned and emailed National Representatives and our National Vice President, they respond to my emails and return my phone calls. That makes all the difference in the world to me and why I can support a smaller increase spread out over the three years between this convention and the next in 2012.
If you email them, they can truthfully reply to you that there is NO REQUIREMENT that the local pass on the increases. That is true. Practically speaking, if we do NOT, we will not have money to visit offices, pay for postage for the newsletters, pay for anyone to travel anywhere, let alone pay an arbitrator. A Union without a newsletter, a local that doesn't visit offices, a local that doesn't do arbitrations…well, that ain't much of a Union. If both increases go through as proposed, just to run in place, we'd have to raise local dues $2.50 a pay period. That comes out to 17.9 cents a day or 2.25 cents per hour (8 hour day). Well, a penny here and a penny there adds up. I see the value we will get for our money at the National level, not at the Council 220 level.
Please feel free to use the form on the home page to email your opinion on the increases to Council 220 and your regional officials.
Let us know what YOU think.
Ralph de Juliis, President
AFGE Local 2505