Union dues made job unaffordable

In October of 2007, I joined Quality Food Center as my part-time job. When I started work, the management at Q.F.C. failed to tell me that I would be obligated to be a member of U.F.C.W. Local 21. Despite my dislike for unions, I originally put up with it because I needed money.

Every month Local 21 would take $22.50 out of my checks. Although my original wage was $8.25 an hour, I would have to work a lot more just so I could make minimum wage after union dues. I realized that a non-union worker earning minimum wage makes the full $8.07 an hour, required by the state of Washington; on the other hand, a Local 21 worker would have to work 125 hours per month just to average $8.07 an hour, after the union fee.

The results may equal minimum wage but the hours to reach that point are too substantial. Plus, Q.F.C. wouldn’t let me work more than 30 hours a week. On a monthly rate, I couldn’t work more than 120 hours.

If I had a maximum schedule, I would still be short five hours of making minimum wage. Therefore, as a Q.F.C. employee, it was impossible to make minimum wage. During my union days, Local 21 took two “initiation” fees ($75 apiece) from two of my checks. After one had been deducted the $75, my hourly wage amount added up to $3.67 per hour; and after my other check had been decreased from the “initiation” fee my hourly wage was a meek $0.17 per hour. I eventually quit my job; the reason was 100 percent Local 21.

Jeffers Baxter


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