UAW retired members finance their own structure through voluntary retiree dues. These dues make their programs self-supporting. Since the Constitutional Convention in 1966, retirees have pledged that the UAW would not have to use active members' dues to support the retired workers' programs. Our retired members have kept faith with that pledge.
Originally, retiree dues were $1 per month. However, in 1986, the retirees went to the Constitution Committee entirely on their own and proposed changing the $1 per month voluntary dues to $2 per month. They explained that the retirees could not achieve their goals or continue to run essential programs on the current $1 per month. The Constitutional change was overwhelmingly approved.
Retirees are not required to pay dues, but today 75 percent of the retired members pay $2 per month in voluntary dues. Of theses dues, 35 percent stays in each local union retired workers chapter, 25 percent goes to the regional retired workers fund and 40 percent of each dollar goes to the UAW Retired Workers Department for their efforts on behalf of retired workers. Some of these efforts would be for collective bargaining, legislation, communication, education and representation on issues affecting seniors and retirees. The entire program of the UAW retired workers' movement is financed by retirees' voluntary dues.
Spouses or surviving spouses may request to become associate members of the retired workers chapters. Surviving spouses are also encouraged to participate in the voluntary dues program.
We now have almost as many retired members as active members. Retiree dues support all of the activities of the retired workers -- programs and are now more necessary than ever before.