Some MCPS members of Local 500 pay more in union dues than they do in Maryland income taxes.... over 6% of their income goes for dues to Local 500. Just ask a Grade 4 food service worker or a bus attendant. Others pay less than 1% of their income for dues. Just ask someone at the top of the supporting service pay scale ... like the Local 500 President, Merle Cuttitta.
We have been able to change the dues structure of the local union by a single vote for almost four years. Our current union president has been blocking the change for three years. She opposed any dues rate changes long before that.
Stephen Poor proposed a successful amendment to our union constitution in 2000 that allows the Fair Dues Committee to bring an amendment for fair dues to the Constitution Committee at any time of the year. Merle Cuttitta opposed that amendment then, announced she would vote against it in the referendum of 2001, and opposed the entire idea of a sliding scale for Local 500 dues in the election of 2001. Since then, despite the overwhelming approval of the members for a dues system that relieves lower paid members in MCPS of the high due rates we charge, she has refused to bring a proposal to the members of our Union.
Outside MCPS is a different story. Newly organized groups in Baltimore and Washington, DC have been given DUES RATES AS LOW AS $12 PER MONTH. When pressed for an explanation, she wrote that these new members receive low wages and do not have good retirement benefits. They need relief from high dues, she reported. She set the DUE RATES TO AS LOW AS 1/4 OF THE DUES PAID BY MCPS MEMBERS. There is no authority for her to do this in the Local 500 constitution.
A new food service worker or a new bus attendant will make about $6,000 this year. They will be covered by a State of Maryland pension system rated 48th of the 50 state retirement systems. New contracts for some of the workers just organized by Local 500 in Baltimore call for them to make $40,000 this year. Who is the low paid worker in this circumstance? Why not the MCPS food service worker or bus attendant?
College professors in Washington, DC have been promised dues set at ½ the rate for MCPS members. It is even promised on our Local 500 web site.
Why won't Merle Cuttitta describe food service workers, bus attendants, and others with low income in MCPS in need of relief from high dues? WHY ARE HER DUES REMAINING AT 1/6 THE LEVEL OF INCOME PAID BY LOW WAGE MCPS MEMBERS?
FOR A CHANGE