What Are Union Dues?


Quick Answer

Union dues are the recurring payments a worker makes to obtain membership in a union, which typically focuses on a specific profession or type of work and offers the members specific benefits or privileges. The fees serve as a funding source for the union to cover its various activities and functions, which may include purchasing equipment or paying for special services.

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Full Answer

Unions are a common aspect of many skilled labor or trade industries and offer their members many benefits, though workers are under no obligation to join any union. The dues are a regular fee, often paid monthly or annually, to cover a worker's membership in the organization. They may require separate payments directly from the worker or appear as an automatic deduction from paychecks. Paying these dues allows the union to amass its own funds, which it then allocates to procure goods and services for the benefit of all the members, as well as covering other operating costs.

The primary purpose of unions is to create a collective bargaining unit for workers of a specific profession, such as teachers or electricians, to form fair agreements with employers. Some employers form contracts with unions to only hire its members for jobs, which in turn allows the union to secure fair compensation and benefits for the workers. Unions also help combine the efforts of workers to bring awareness to unfair business practices and lobby for new legislation in some areas.

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