The business methods within the union are further assurance of democracy. "The power of the purse" must be kept in the hands of the members in both the collection of dues and in the control of expenditures.
The I.W.W. does not accept the "checkoff" system, where the bosses act as bankers for the union by taking union dues out of the worker's wages and handing them over to union officials. We believe that the checkoff short circuits direct control between union members and their elected representatives.<</p>
It reinforces the idea (which management would like to foster) that union dues are just another unpleasant tax deduction from the paycheck. It makes the union seem more like an outside thing (such as an attorney) that we hire, rather than our own organization that we participate in and control. Furthermore, it involves management in internal union relationships that are none of its business.
If union treasurers received a check from the company for dues collected by checkoff, they might be more concerned with the goodwill of the company than the goodwill of the members. With that revenue they could hire their friends to control the union meetings, and keep themselves in power running the union as a mere dues-collecting agency in the interests of the company and union officials.
On the other hand, where there is no checkoff, the way dues are paid is a direct indication of the members' satisfaction (or lack of it) with their representatives. Union officials who don't want to listen to members, or who don't want to try to serve their members most often want the dues checkoff.
Then, if they do something the membership doesn't like, they are not faced with lagging dues payments and delinquent members. Direct collection of dues establishes that much more contact between members and officers. For all these reasons the I.W.W. does not accept the checkoff.
Instead, the I.W.W. has devised a simple and convenient system for the collection of dues by delegates on the job--a system which is proof against dishonesty in handling funds and which permits shop committees and job branches to know the union standing of every member on the job. All delegates and officers must make a report to the branch meeting. They have their accounts audited by a committee elected at each meeting. With this practice it is necessary to handle business to the satisfaction of the members.
No assessments can be levied except when approved by a referendum of those who have to pay them.
Next page: No Clique Control