Maintaining Good Standing in the Local
One of the primary requirements for being a member of Local 479 is maintaining a status of “Good Standing”. This simply means that you have met all financial obligations to the Local in a timely manner. If you do not meet those obligations you will be considered to be in “Bad Standing” by the Local. Members who remain in bad standing for a period of time will be expelled. Regardless of the amount owed, all outstanding balances are the responsibility of each member. Most members maintain Good Standing throughout the year.
This article will describe conditions that may lead to falling into Bad Standing, the penalties incurred, and how to avoid a status of Bad Standing and eventual Expulsion.
What is Expulsion?
Expulsion is the act of removing a member from the active member roster and the loss of all benefits. Expulsion due to Bad Standing is not a permanent condition; it is possible to reinstate with the local once all financial obligations are met.
Members are at risk of expulsion from the local if they remain in Bad Standing for more than two quarters (6 months).
Verify Your Standing Regularly
The best way to determine your standing is to log into the Member Dashboard website the click the button on the top right titled “My Account”, which will direct you to the “Member Details” page. If you perform the following check every month while you are paying bills you shouldn’t encounter any surprises.
Check Your Account Balance
Look for your Account Balance at the top of the right column of the Member Details page. If the amount shown here is anything other than $0.00 it means that you owe the Local that amount. It does not necessarily mean that your account is in Bad Standing yet.
Dues Status vs Total Financial Status
Your standing with the local can be found in the lower left column of the Member Details page. Depending on your standing will see “In Good Standing” or “In Bad Standing” displayed under the two headings “Total Financial Status” and “Dues Status”.
Dues Status refers to Quarterly Membership Dues ONLY, and will show Good or Bad Standing based on whether your quarterly dues are up-to-date (Good) or in arrears (Bad). Being in Bad Standing because of delinquent quarterly dues will result in Expulsion once you become two quarters in arrears.
New members are required to pay quarterly dues several quarters into the future in order to assure them of uninterrupted Good status during their first year of membership.
Total Financial Status takes into account charges other than quarterly membership dues. It is possible for your Dues Status to be in Good Standing and yet be in Bad Standing due to other charges, like:
- outstanding work dues assessments
- late fees
- bounced check fees
- non-payment of items purchased for an education class, including
To review a breakdown of the charges that contribute to your balance, click the sub-tab “Statements”.
If charges on your account go unpaid for more than 30 days, your account status becomes “In Bad Standing”. The only way to bring your account back into Good Standing is to pay all delinquent charges in full.
What Happens If I Fall Into Bad Standing?
While your account is in Bad Standing you are ineligible to:
- attend General Membership Meetings
- attend training classes
- run for office in Local 479
- vote in elections in Local 479
- receive the Quarterly Dues Incentive Program
- receive a Vacation Fund
- receive free Disability Insurance
- attend member events, like Six Flags, the Holiday Party, etc.
It’s important to repeat that you are at risk of Expulsion from the local if you remain in Bad Standing for more than 6 months.
Invoices differ from statements, as invoices are created when a specific charge is added to your account. You will receive a separate invoice for every single charge. An account statement is created to show you all charges currently on your account, paid or unpaid.
One of the easiest ways to lapse into Bad Standing is to neglect to pay your Quarterly Dues on time. Invoices for ALL FOUR QUARTERS are issued at the beginning on the year, when the first quarter is charged. That invoice will show the future charge date of each quarter. The reason for this is that many members prefer to pay all quarterly dues charges at one time, therefore the local issues one invoice showing all of those charges for the year. You are not required to pay them all at once, though, and each quarter is due 30 days after the charge date on the invoice.
The Quarterly Dues charge schedule is as follows:
1st Quarter (January, February, March) – charged at the beginning of December, due by January 1st, LATE after January 31st.
2nd Quarter (April, May, June) – charged at the beginning of March, due by April 1st, LATE after April 30th
3rd Quarter (July, August, September) – charged at the beginning of June, due by July 1st, LATE after July 31st
4th Quarter (October, November, December) – charged at the beginning of September, due by October 1st, LATE after October 31st
You can pay for any charges assessed to your account on the Member Dashboard website via the “Make Payment” button on the top right corner. Any unpaid charges you may owe the local will be displayed on this page, and you may pay those charges on this page via credit card.
NOTE: Charges that have not yet matured (i.e. quarterly dues charges for future quarters in the year) will NOT display in the Make Payment page on the website. That is because they have not officially been charged to your account yet. If you would prefer to pay for future quarterly dues you should call or visit the office to do so.
As you can see, unlike all other charges, only quarterly dues charges allow 60 days to make payment between the charge date and the assessment of a late fee. All other charges become delinquent 30 days after the charge date. Late fees are assessed to accounts on the 1st of each month, and are only assessed to accounts where charges have gone unpaid for over 30 days.
“I never received an email invoice from the Local.”
Local 479 uses the dedicated email address email@example.com to issue invoices. Gmail and similar email apps sometimes attempt to assist users by automatically moving email messages to holding folders like junk mail and non-focused mail, which may inadvertently cause you to miss important emails from this dedicated email address.
A good way to prevent this is to add firstname.lastname@example.org to your email address book.
Check Your Junkmail
Check to see if your email application has automatically moved emails from email@example.com to a folder other than your inbox. This is most likely the reason you are not seeing your invoices and statements. Our IT department recommend whitelisting the email address firstname.lastname@example.org in your email application by creating a contact with that email address.
Your Contact Information has Changed
Another common problem is when members change their email address or mailing address but do not update that information with Local 479. Members can update this information at any time by logging into the Member Dashboard, clicking the My Account button, and updating the information. Check to see if your email address has been correctly entered in the “Contact Info” page of the “My Account” section.
If your email address is incorrect, you will not receive your paperless invoice. If you are receiving other emails from the local, such as Production Alerts, then you can be certain that your email address is correct in our database and that the problem lies elsewhere.
You Will Not Receive Emails and Paper Statements
If you have elected to receive paperless billing statements you will not receive printed invoices by post. If you have moved and have not updated your mailing address with the Local your invoice will continue being sent to your previous address. It is recommended that you check your standing via the Member Dashboard on a regular basis for your most up-to-date status.
“When are Past Due statements issued?”
Past Due invoices go out around the 15th of every month. You will be issued a Past Due Statement if you have outstanding charges on your account at that time. These notices go out via email to those signed up for paperless billing and by mail to those who requested paper billing. Note that you will not receive additional warnings regarding your account between the initial invoice and a past due statement.
“Do You Offer Auto-Billing?”
For security reasons the current accounting system does not retain members’ credit card security codes, so auto-billing of credit cards is not currently available. However, you may wish to investigate creating a recurring payment schedule with your bank.
“Who do I contact if I have questions?”
As always, please call the office if you need assistance. You will be put in touch with someone who can assist you. As has been stated several times in various places, the email address email@example.com is not monitored. If you have questions please call the office or email a specific employee. (Click here for a list of employee contacts.)