USW Dues Calculator Shows Workers How Little they Get for their Money

The United Steelworkers union recently released a “dues calculator” on its website. After employees input information, the calculator tells them how much they owe the union on a weekly basis. Here is how it works:

          Calculation 1          Gross Weekly Earnings

                                            Multiplied by 1.45% = Dues Amount 1

          Calculation 2          Gross Weekly Earnings

                                            Divided by Actual Hours Worked

                                            Equals Average Hourly Earnings

                                            Multiplied by 0.6461 = Dues Amount 2

          Calculation 3          Take the lowest amount from Calculation 1 or 2

                                            Add $0.02 per actual hour worked

                                            Equals Total Weekly Union Dues

The law of unintended consequences leads me to believe that employees will be nonplussed after running their calculation. Employees will know how much they pay the USW each week and will reflect on what the USW did for them that week. If the union didn’t do anything for them personally that week, employees will view the dues as a waste of money. Employees in right to work states may leave the union, while employees in forced unionism states may object to paying full dues and/or petition for a deauthorization election. On behalf of employers everywhere, thank you USW.

Matt Austin owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 285-5342 or email him at