Union Dues: Follow. The. Money.

It has occurred to me that in amongst all the other issues being discussed regarding the pending legislation in Wisconsin, there is an issue that is perhaps such an obvious reason for the current "to the last man" union attitude that we have missed it entirely.

We have seen much commentary on how this is about eliminating mandatory union dues, and yes, without any question, making dues voluntary will impact the unions.

But in the NYC transit workers dues fight a few years back, dues only dropped 35% inside 18 months.  Now, that hurts, but it’s not catastrophic.  (Compare this to the Indiana unions who saw a membership drop of 92% inside 12 months after Governor Daniels decertified the public sector unions in 2005.)

So, is there something else we’re missing?

Well… consider this: you join a union, you pay dues, you expect something in return.  Unions negotiate your wages, etc., with your employer, so you get return on investment.

But in an age of 0% pay raises — or even pay cuts — where’s my ROI on my $700/year union dues if I’m a teacher?  At what point do I realize that if I just stopped paying my dues, I’d still get my 0% raise, still have to contribute more to my retirement and health insurance, and still get the same number of days off work.

And $700 more in my pocket to spend on my kids at Christmas.