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USW 8599

To opt out of USW 8599 dues:

  1. Enter your information into the form below and click “submit.”
  2. On the resulting page, click the link to open your customized form. You will also receive an email with a link to your form.
  3. Print the form. If you check the appropriate box about needing a printed version, we’ll mail you a copy of the form.
  4. Sign and date the form.
  5. Mail the completed form to the address at the top of the form. We highly recommend sending it via certified mail.

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United Steel Workers (USW) Local 8599 is the designated union for the classified employees and school site aides of the Fontana Unified School District. USW 8599 represents approximately 1,700 workers.

For years, public employees in California have been forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment, allowing unions to take their members for granted. However, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that public employees can no longer be required to financially support a labor union against their will. Janus v. AFSCME, 585 US (2018)

The decision found,

“The First Amendment is violated when money is taken from nonconsenting employees for a public-sector union; employees must choose to support the union before anything is taken from them. Accordingly, neither an agency fee nor any other form of payment to a public-sector union may be deducted from an employee, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay.”

Consequently, public employees may decline to pay these private organizations without losing their jobs or employer-provided benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens after I send my resignation to the union?

You should receive an acknowledgement of your request from the union within a few weeks.

Because it has a financial interest in continuing to withhold dues from your pay, the union may contact you and attempt to persuade you to keep your membership. Their sales pitch may include untrue claims and scare tactics. It is a good idea to try to document any questionable claims made by union representatives. Do not be bullied! If you stand your ground, there is nothing the union can do to retaliate against you for opting out.

Monitor your paychecks to make sure the dues deductions stop. Contact the union if the deductions continue more than a paycheck or two after you submit your resignation request.

Contact us for assistance if for some reason the union refuses to process your dues cancellation request.

How much are USW 8599 dues?

Based on federal filings, the average member paid about $154 in dues to USW 8599 in 2019.

Will the union continue to represent me if I opt out?

Yes. USW 8599 has been empowered by the state to represent those in your workplace. Employees are not allowed to negotiate their own compensation or handle their own grievances with their employer, nor can they hire another person or entity to represent them.

In exchange for this unusual benefit, USW 8599 is legally obligated to represent all employees in the workplace, including those who choose not to join the union as members.

Consequently, the collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the union and your employer will continue to set the terms and conditions of your employment and the union will continue to represent you in grievances, contract enforcement, discipline assistance or other proceedings governed by the collective bargaining agreement.

Will I lose wages, health care, retirement or other benefits if I opt out?

No. All provisions of the collective bargaining agreement between the union and your employer will continue to govern your employment. Your wages, health benefits, retirement and anything else governed by the collective bargaining agreement will remain unchanged if you opt out of USW 8599.

How will my relationship with the union change if I opt out?

While the terms of the collective bargaining agreement will still govern your employment, as a nonmember, the union may choose to prevent you from participating in internal union affairs, such as attending union meetings or voting in union elections, including contract ratification votes. Unions also commonly withhold any special “members-only” deals or discounts the union has arranged for with businesses. You may no longer receive the union newsletter or similar publications.

Why do people opt out of the union?

People have many reasons for not wanting to support the union. Some simply do not believe the services the union provides are worth the dues it charges. Others may find the union’s one-size-fits-all agenda does not serve them well because they are new to the profession, have a specialty that is not acknowledged in bargaining, or they believe their effectiveness is undercompensated. Some resent the union’s role in enabling and defending underperforming employees. Many find the union’s political activity and use of dues to advance partisan causes, candidates and ideology distasteful. Still others believe that union officials are corrupt and unaccountable to their membership.

Unions representing public employees are not governed by the usual consumer protection or anti-trust laws, so abuses are common. Unions can charge whatever they wish. They can spend dues money on anything they want. Often, they do not have to disclose how dues money is spent to members. They can speak for employees without consulting or informing them. They can injure some members’ interests while advancing the interests of others. Unions even have the ability to prevent employees from getting help in their workplace from other sources. They are not governed by any obligation to provide quality service, and almost never have to seek approval of the people they represent in an election to continue as the exclusive representative.

Sometimes people have a faith-based objection to unions’ expenditures. To learn more about some of the major public unions’ expenditures in light of common faith beliefs, click here.

How does USW 8599 spend my dues money?

USW 8599

USW 8599 collected $260,565 in dues and fees from its members in calendar year 2019, according to reports the union must file with the IRS.

In 2019 alone:

  • $3,713 went to affiliate organizations, including the USW headquarters in Pittsburgh to support its massive political, economic and social agenda. USW regularly supports a host of controversial organizations.
  • $90,281 was spent on travel, conferences and meetings.

USW 8599 paid 16 employees in 2019. By the end of 2019, USW 5899 had accumulated a stockpile of $124,000 in spare cash.

USW 8599’s most recent IRS 990 reports are available here.

A portion of the dues paid by USW 8599 members goes to support USW District 12.

USW District 12

USW District 12 collected $15,025 in dues and fees from its members in calendar year 2022. District 12 has no paid employees, and it has accumulated a stockpile of $174,672 in spare cash.

USW District 12’s most recent LM-3 reports are available here: 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016.

Lastly, a portion of the dues paid by USW 8599 members also goes to support the headquarters of USW.

USW Headquarters

USW collected $310.7 million in dues and fees from its members in calendar year 2022.

In that same year:

  • $9.3 million was spent by USW on divisive political candidates, causes and lobbying.
  • $6.2 million was paid or contributed to various organizations, many of which are ideologically driven.
  • $6.3 million was spent on airfare, hotels and travel for union staff. This includes a $2.8 million expense for lodging and catering at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
  • $5.9 million was spent on attorneys and private consultants.
  • $790,000 was spent on food and catering.

USW paid 993 employees in 2022, 486 of whom were paid six figures. USW president Thomas Conway was paid $243,985.

As of the end of 2022, USW had accumulated a stockpile of $251 million in spare cash.

USW’s most recent LM-2 reports are available here: 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016.