Explanation of why Membership Dues Increased

Members have asked why annual membership dues for those working full-time rose from $308 last year to $322.50 this year.  The increase includes a $10 emergency assessment from each member.  The assessment was approved by delegates to the Representative Assembly of ACSUM’s nationwide affiliate, the National Education Association.

Funds raised through this emergency assessment will be used to aid locals in states where the rights of union members are under attack.  Maine is one of those states.

The latest attack on Maine labor rights was a bill proposed for the next session of the Legislature by State Senator Ron Collins (R-York County).  It would have made payroll deductions for union dues illegal.  Thanks to hard work on the part of the Maine Education Association and other labor unions, legislative leadership decided not to bring the bill forward.  It is dead for now.

Other pieces of anti-union legislation still show signs of life.  One would limit collective bargaining rights of state workers; another would attack Worker’s Comp insurance; and, Governor LePage recently attacked Unemployment Insurance (or as he says, paying people not to work).

We hope that rank-and-file members agree with Dina Goodwin-Short, ACSUM’s elected delegate to the NEA Representative Assembly, that the $10 emergency assessment was a necessary expense.

In Response to Maine Heritage Policy Center Article

On October 12, the Maine Heritage Policy Center issued a report on compensation in the University of Maine System.  You can read it online at:


By emphasizing large numbers taken out of context, the MHPC report gives the impression that UMS employees were somehow misusing hard-earned tax and tuition dollars.

ACSUM President Tim Pinkham replied in the following letter to the editor, printed in the Bangor Daily News on October 29/30, 2011:

Scapegoated workers

The Oct. 12 BDN reports that University of Maine System employee pay and benefits increased 29 percent between 2002 and 2010. The same article highlighted salaries of over $100,000 and seemed to imply that university system workers were getting rich at the expense of taxpayers and tuition-payers.

For the 800-odd unionized clerical, office, laboratory and technical (COLT) employees who work at University campuses, University College centers and Cooperative Extension offices across the state, this is simply not true.

Between July 1, 2002 and June 30, 2011, COLT employees received negotiated cost of living raises averaging 1.6 percent per year and totaling 16.3 percent, which almost brought total wage increases up to the overall rate of inflation of 26 percent for this period.

COLT employees see to it that bills get paid and students get registered. We work in libraries, bookstores and offices of all kinds. We monitor scientific experiments that bring in millions of dollars in grant funding. We unravel red tape for students and faculty. We are essential to university system functioning.

We are highly skilled. We are not highly paid. Our median annual earnings are about $27,000. The university’s own studies show that many of us are paid at below-market rates.

What the article might have said more accurately is that over the past decade hundreds of hardworking, modestly paid men and women who work for the university system fell a little short in the effort to keep up with increases in the cost of living.

Timothy Pinkham

State president, ACSUM