A proposal to change FAUW’s dues structure

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

—A message from Dan Brown, FAUW Treasurer

FAUW is proposing to change the way we calculate dues. Currently, each faculty member represented by FAUW pays 0.525% of the average base salary for faculty members at their rank. Under the proposed flat percentage system, each faculty member would pay 0.525% of their own base salary. This proposal was passed unanimously by the Board of Directors in June 2018 and will be voted on by FAUW members in October 2018.

Why we want to change things

Right now, as tenure-track/tenured faculty are promoted, their dues increase in recognition of their higher salaries, but salaries also vary within ranks (particularly for lecturers, who have the same rank throughout their careers), and yet all faculty at the same rank pay the same dues.

At our 2018 spring general meeting, a member suggested that this method is unfair because it means that less well-paid faculty subsidize their more well-paid colleagues. We agree.

Standard deviations in base salaries at most ranks are around 10%, but closer to 20% for lecturers because the length of time they’ve been here varies more. The effective dues rate for lecturers ranges between 0.4% and 0.65%, with higher rates for more precariously employed colleagues.

There is also the perverse disincentive to going up for promotion to full professor since FAUW dues go up (by $14.20/month, currently), with no accompanying increase in salary.

If we move to a flat percentage rate, then each member’s dues will be based on their salary alone rather than the salaries of everyone else at their rank.

Voting on this change

Voting on this change will take place October 15–19. This will give the University enough time to implement the change for January 1, 2019. Voting members will receive a link to the online ballot by email the morning of October 15. You will also be asked to vote on a change to section 13.5.11 of the Memorandum of Agreement at the same time. 

More information

Please read the following sections for more information. If you had additional questions, your Council member can ask them at the Council of Representatives meeting on October 17, or you can contact a Board member.

What does this mean for members? For FAUW?

Roughly half of our members (those with salaries above average) will see their dues go up, and roughly half (those with salaries below average) will see their dues go down if we make this choice. Your dues will probably change by less than $10/month. (Our chief negotiator computed this at my request.)

This change will have no effect on FAUW’s finances: our total revenue will be unchanged. Our intention is to put this into effect starting January 1, 2019.

You probably want to see some numbers

The current dues system

Monthly dues are 0.525% of the average annual base salary for a given rank, divided by 12, and rounded to the nearest five cents.



Monthly dues




Associate professor



Assistant professor









The proposed dues system

Monthly dues would be 0.525% of a given members base salary, divided by 12, and rounded to the nearest five cents.

Annual salary

Monthly dues











An assistant professor with a $100,000 salary would have dues of $43.75/month, not the $53.90/month they currently pay. An associate professor with a $170,000 salary would have dues of $74.40/month, not their current dues of $68.20/month.

How do other faculty associations compute dues?

Most other university faculty associations don’t assess dues the way we do.

  • University of Toronto Faculty Association (non-unionized): “Currently employed regular members of the Association shall pay annual fees based on a percentage of their salary.”
  • York University Faculty Association (unionized): “annual dues shall be expressed as a fixed percentage of each individual member’s annual base salary rate…”
  • McMaster Faculty Association (non-unionized): “calculated using a mil rate agreed to by the membership.”
  • Queens University Faculty Association (unionized): “Dues are a percentage of members’ salaries. The current rate is 1.0%, which includes membership in CAUT and OCUFA.”

Many faculty associations don’t report how they compute dues, but I couldn’t find any that compute them the way we do.

Questions and concerns you might have about the switch

1. I don’t want FAUW to know my salary!

We don’t know your salary. The only FAUW representative given a salary spreadsheet is our chief negotiator, who uses this information in the collective bargaining process; this information isn’t shared with the rest of FAUW. This won’t change.

All we need is the list of members who have paid dues, and the total amount of dues at each rank; we need this information to calculate our dues for OCUFA (the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations) and CAUT (the Canadian Association of University Teachers). Human Resources has promised that they will supply this information if we change our dues structure, and we still won’t know your salary.

2. I don’t want my dues to go up!

We understand that. However, generally speaking, junior faculty are currently subsidizing senior faculty, and we appreciate your support in moving to a more equitable system. Again: Your dues will probably change by less than $10/month.

3. Are your dues going up or down, Dan?

Mine will go down a couple percent; my salary is a bit below the average for my rank.

4. Is this all part of a plan to raise our dues?

No. FAUW’s dues are sufficient for our needs, and we are building up a good reserve to protect ourselves if we need to fund serious fights with the University.

5. What other problems will this solve or create?

FAUW is exploring representing research faculty (people with titles like “research associate professor”). Because there are so few at any given rank (there are approximately 30 research faculty in total), if Waterloo hired a research assistant professor at an unusually high salary, our current calculation method would result in higher dues for all other research assistant professors. With a flat percentage, we wouldn’t see that effect. This effect already happens for clinical lecturers, by the way.