Dues for the Motion Picture Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700
Union dues are the regular payments members make to support the organization’s administrative costs. Editors Guild members pay dues on a quarterly basis and on a sliding scale; those working in higher-paid classifications pay more than those working in lower-paid classifications.
When a group of previously non-union employees take action to organize with the Editors Guild, no non-member employee is required to join the union or to begin paying any dues until after a union contract goes into effect. (In some organizing campaigns, including the campaign to organize VICE Media, the Guild will offer waivers of initiation fees to employees who need to join because their previously non-union shop organizes.)
Sliding-scale quarterly dues are calculated as a fraction (8%) of an employee's contractually-specified minimum weekly pay, which goes to fund Local 700, plus a flat per capita fee that goes to fund our parent union, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.
The chart below provides an illustration of how the Guild's sliding-scale dues work. The column on the left represents the contractual minimum weekly pay rates for some of the classifications we represent; the column on the right shows the corresponding quarterly dues rates.
Unlike other forms of representation that you can purchase -- by hiring an agent or hiring a lawyer to represent you, for example -- union representation does not operate on a fee-for-service model. Although dues are necessary to fund the organization’s staff, facilities, and projects, members are not simply hiring the union to act on their behalf.
The strength that we have derives not from the monies members pay, but instead from the solidarity members show. When the Guild negotiates a strong contract for a group of employees, the strength of that contract chiefly comes not from the expertise of a professional negotiator (although the Guild does indeed employ experienced and talented negotiators on its staff) but instead from the leverage the crew generates through its cohesion and commitment. Dues keep the lights on, but it’s solidarity that powers the union.