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Dear Employees,

Throughout the past few weeks, we’ve had questions about union dues. Paying dues is a reality for most union- represented employees. Even in right-to-work states like Arizona, most employees who are represented by a union pay dues. Dues do not “buy” or guarantee better pay and benefits—in fact, under a union contract, employees can get more, the same, or less than what they currently have. Knowing that, it’s important to look at how union dues could impact you and your finances.

The cost of being a union member is significant. According to SEIU-UHW’s 2017 LM-2 (the financial statement it filed with the U.S. Department of Labor), the organization charges a $100 initiation fee and the range for dues is $33.50 to $154 a month, with an average member paying $74 a month. Next year, UHW dues will increase to a maximum of $174 a month. That’s a lot of money over time, especially when you take into account how much money you could earn by investing it into retirement.

Below, you’ll see two graphs that illustrate how much money you could pay a union over 30 years in contrast to how much you could earn if you invested it into your retirement. The information is based on a savings rate of 5 percent annual growth (which is at the low end of the 5 to 8 percent average rate-of-return range for 401(k) plans, according to Investopedia, August 2018).

  • If you make $12 an hour, over the course of 30 years, you could pay the union $14,976, or you could earn approximately $34,826 by putting the same amount of money into your retirement.
  • If you make $35 an hour, over the course of 30 years, you could pay the union $43,680, or you could earn approximately $101,572 by putting the same amount of money into your retirement.

With union dues, consider both the short- and long-term impact on your finances.

If you have any questions about union dues, Dignity Health’s 403(b) program or other matters, please let us know.

Linda Hunt
President and CEO
Dignity Health
Arizona Service Area
Mark Slyter
President and CEO
Chandler Regional Medical Center
Mercy Gilbert Medical Center
Patty White
President and CEO
St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center
St. Joseph’s Westgate Medical Center