Welcome to the information page about the Illinois Education Association’s new Graduated Dues Structure. Here we will try to answer questions you might have about how the new dues structure came to be and how it will affect your dues in the coming year and for years after. In addition, please take a moment to watch the video below to see the differences between the old and new structures. And at the bottom of this page, you will be able to calculate your dues based on your pensionable salary. As a reminder, this new structure applies only to the IEA portion of your union dues.
Graduated Dues Structure
First up, how did we get here?
At the 2022 IEA Representative Assembly, 72 percent of delegates agreed to fundamentally change the dues structure. In 2023-24 the structure will change from a budget committee/board of directors’ recommendation to the IEA-RA to a formula-based dues amount with each member categorized into 10 dues bands based on their prior year reported creditable earnings to the applicable retirement system.
Prior to this, IEA had one dues amount for full-time certified employees, support professionals paid half the amount of certified employees and higher education adjuncts, in general, paid a quarter of what certified members paid.
For instance, in very general terms, if full-time certified paid $100 in dues, then support professionals paid $50 and most adjuncts paid $25.
Dating back to at least 1985, delegates to the IEA RA have been trying to change the dues structure, saying it wasn’t fair for someone who earned more to be paying the same amount in dues as someone who earned less. It was debated at the RA at least 19 times in various forms. And in 2022, a fundamental change to the dues structure was adopted by the IEA-RA.
An easy way to understand the new structure is by looking at similarities to the federal tax system where there are brackets into which people fall, depending on their income, and the amount they pay is based on that bracket. As a result, some members may pay a moderate increase in dues and others may see moderate decreases.
What is the IEA Representative Assembly?
The IEA Representative Assembly (or RA), if you’re not already familiar, is the governing body for the IEA. Each year, about 1,100 members, who are elected by their peers to represent them, gather at a policy-setting meeting to determine the direction of the organization. They review proposed changes to the IEA’s legislative platform, budget and bylaws in a democratic process. Each of these actions is guided by standard processes because IEA is an organization led by its members.
How will this work?
This is a fundamental change to the way dues are assessed. Governance committees and staff have been working the implementation of the new dues structure and working with the state’s pension systems and others to put it into place.
There will be a ramping element to the full implementation. While this will mean moderate changes to dues amounts, the increases and decreases are gradual based on the phase in language in the bylaw, which indicates it will be fully in place in six years.
What does it mean?
With this new system, the IEA budget will no longer drive the dues, the dues will drive the creation of the IEA budget. A budget is a guide. That guide helps IEA plan for the future and assess its current financial health. It is good practice to review the budget and to compare it to the money coming in, as well as money being spent, to determine whether the budget is accurate, or needs to be adjusted. The bylaw will project the annual dues revenue.
What does this mean for me?
Q: Will I see drastic changes in my dues?
A: In addition to the proposed bylaw amendment, the RA delegates adopted a gradual implementation of the new dues structure over a six-year period. Once members are fully on board, equitable changes in dues become more predictable. Potential bylaw changes would need to be brought forth and approved by the IEA RA to address any dues increase concerns moving forward.
Q: If everyone has the same services, how do you justify “large” dues increases for some members?
A: The intent of the introduction of this bylaw change was to make our organization more equitable, where in the past, it could be described as more equal. An example you may have heard before is this: “Equality is giving everyone the same pair of shoes. Equity is giving everyone a pair of shoes that fits.”
Many of our members who earn less money were paying a much higher percentage of income in dues under the old system. While percentage of income is not equal across dues bands, those percentages are much closer than they were under the old dues structure.
Please take a moment to enter your current IEA membership category and 2021-2022 reported creditable earnings into the calculator to see how this change might affect your IEA dues.