LETTERS: Back Stage welcomes letters on performing arts issues. Each letter should include the writer's address and phone number, is subject to editing, and must be limited to 250 words.

Opposes Dues Restructuring

AFTRA members are being asked to vote on "Dues Restructuring," by July 6th. The Union has, at your expense, been firing a steady barrage of printed and verbal propaganda at the membership, stating that this is "fair" and "equitable."

FACT: It is neither fair nor equitable. Members who make more than $21,000 will get a reduction in dues, those who make less will pay an increase.

If this restructuring passes AFTRAN's earning $5,000 per year would pay $23.50 more than they pay now, while AFTRAN's making $35,000 per year would see a decrease in their dues of $21.50, $50,000 a decrease of $44, $90,000 a decrease of $104. It's "take from the poor and give to the rich" again.

It is understandable that after nine years there is need for a dues increase. What is not understandable is why they would increase it at the expense of the lowest earners.

The power elite of our Union would revolt against something like this in a federal tax structure. If they brought their political idealism to their professional life, there would be "fairness" and not this "Let them eat cake" contempt and disdain for those who earn less.

You defeated Merger, you can continue to send the message that low earnings do not mean low I.Q... Defeat this "Dues Restructuring." Send them back to the boardrooms you pay for, to make it a flat, same for everybody, rate on dues, up to whatever cap is necessary. You have the power of the vote....use it.

Bill McGroarty

New York City

AFTRA Replies:

Until now AFTRA dues have been set locally and vary considerably. The dues restructuring plan establishes uniform national dues. Now everyone who earns the same will pay the same, no matter where in the country they live.

That means that a member's dues can go up, go down, or stay the same. Uniform base dues of $116 a year will replace base dues in AFTRA's Locals which currently range from $63 a year to $164 a year.

While a member earning $90,000 a year in New York will pay approximately $100 less, a person with the same earnings in San Francisco or Washington will see yearly increases of $200 and $350, respectively. For instance, if you are a major network news anchor in Washington, D.C., you currently pay $670 a year. But the lowest earner in D.C. pays $154 a year.

To ensure fairness for members paying base dues in New York and Los Angeles, AFTRA limited the basic dues increase to the U.S. Department of Labor cost of living increase since the last dues change almost 10 years ago.

To look only at the impact on one person in one city would be misleading. This restructuring is about making dues fair nationwide.

Elaine LeGaro, President

Dan Ingram, 1st V.P.

Janette Gautie, 2nd V.P.

Anne Gartlan, 3rd V.P.