2021 will mark seven consecutive years without an increase in American Maritime Officers membership dues or in initiation fees charged to applicants for AMO membership.
This was an easy call for the AMO Executive Board, which agreed that there was no need to hike dues or initiation fees, which together represent the principal source of our union's operating revenue. AMO dues rates remain the lowest among the three merchant marine officers' unions.
AMO has since mid-2015 closed nearly every month with an operating budget surplus. This money is added to cash reserve and investment accounts as it accumulates. This year is projected to end with an operating budget surplus at or above $1 million.
There are two factors driving AMO's sustained, positive financial state:
- One influence is sound management of union assets at AMO headquarters, where waste, extravagance and redundancy are targeted routinely, and where significant savings were achieved over time through salary cuts for the top four AMO officials, restraints on unnecessary or inefficient travel, realignment of property maintenance, limits on holiday bonuses across the board and other measures. Since January 2015, AMO has had no need to withdraw from investment accounts to meet payroll and to pay routine bills.
- The second factor is greater membership compliance with their financial obligations in the deep-sea, Great Lakes and inland waters sectors - more and more AMO members and applicants for AMO membership are maintaining "good standing" with timely dues payments directly by check or credit card or through authorized deductions from AMO Vacation Plan benefits.
The AMO Executive Board's authority to determine whether or not to increase membership dues and applicant initiation fees each year is provided in Article V (Finances) of the AMO Constitution.
As always, I welcome your comments, questions, opinions and perspectives.
November 5, 2020