By Art Przybylowicz, MEA general counsel
Maintaining “member in good standing” status is extremely important to ensure that you are entitled to all rights, privileges and advantages of MEA membership.
Only members in good standing are able to:
- Be elected to or hold office at any level of the Association, including as delegates to the MEA and NEA Representative Assembly
- Attend, participate, and vote at Association meetings
- Serve on commissions or committees of the Association
- Receive the full range of legal services offered through the MEA Legal Services Program
As a result of action taken by the MEA Representative Assembly on Oct. 5, there is now a single specific definition of a “member in good standing.” That phrase has been used in many local constitutions and bylaws and in the MEA governance documents for many years, but until now, there has not been a single, agreed-upon definition.
A member in good standing must first be an active member of the Association. That means that the person must be a member of a bargaining unit represented by an MEA affiliate that has signed a continuing membership application. Thus, new employees are not active members of the Association until they sign the continuing membership application. Active members automatically continue their membership from year to year, unless notice of resignation is provided to the Association in August.
In order to be a member in good standing, an active member must be timely in the payment of dues.
The Representative Assembly adopted a dues transmittal policy, which sets forth the portion of the annual dues that must be paid each month. Because many MEA members pay dues over a 10-month period, from September to June, while others work and pay dues over an 11 or 12-month period, the Representative Assembly established different payment schedules for those members paying over 10 or fewer months and those paying over 11 or 12 months.
Under both payment schedules, the first deadline for making a dues payment is Oct. 31. For those members paying over 10 or fewer months, at least 10 percent of the annual dues payment must be paid by Oct. 31, while those paying over 11 or 12 months must have paid at least 9 percent of the annual dues. By Nov. 30, for those paying in 10 or less months, at least 20 percent of the annual dues obligation must be paid. For those paying over 11 or 12 months, at least 18 percent must be paid. Those minimum percentages continue by 10 percent per month for those paying over 10 or fewer months and by 9 percent for those paying over 11 or 12 months.
Those members on e-dues will automatically meet these minimum requirements by the draws taken each month. For those who prefer to pay by check, there are many options that will satisfy the dues obligation to be a member in good standing. If a member prefers to make a single annual dues payment by check, the member will be in good standing for the entire year by paying the annual dues before Oct. 31. For those who prefer to pay in two installments, the first payment should be made by Oct. 31 and the last payment by March 31. Monthly payments are also acceptable in amounts that will meet the payment schedule.