Dear Alma — is it true that if there’s a union at UIUC, I’ll be forced to join it? — Scared of Jimmy Hoffa
Dear Scared — No, you do not have to join the union unless you want to. It is true that under law, the faculty union will have a duty to represent you in contract negotiations or in grievances, whether you voted for it or not, but you will not be forced to join. However, if you want to have a say in how the union works, or to vote in union elections or vote on a proposed contract, you will need to be a member. Under Illinois law, non-members can be assessed “fair share” dues to cover the cost of bargaining and representation. These dues, sometimes called “agency fee,” are decided between the union and management in contract negotiations. Dues are never used for political donations, despite propaganda to the contrary. Members can make voluntary contributions for that if they wish, just as you donate, if you wish, to Community Shares or the U of I Foundation.
p.s. Jimmy Hoffa is still dead.