Council-Proposed Motion on Dues Increase to be Discussed at Membership Meeting

Having considered at length SAA’s strategic goals and financial resources, the SAA Council voted at its May 2015 meeting to propose to the membership a dues increase to take effect beginning July 1, 2016. The increase would apply to all member categories, would be implemented over a three-year period, and would average between 3% and 3.3% per year. The proposal is based on the Council’s unanimous support for maintaining a growth strategy for SAA as measured by the quality of its member services and the Society’s leadership role on behalf of archivists and the archives profession.

The following briefing paper will be discussed at the Annual Membership (Business) Meeting on Saturday, August 22, from 11:15 am to 12:30 pm in the Cleveland Convention Center, Room 26AB. Voting will not take place at the meeting. Discussions at the meeting will inform an all-member referendum on the issue to be conducted in the fall.

Dues Briefing Paper_2015.pdf270.12 KB
13 Comment(s) to the "Council-Proposed Motion on Dues Increase to be Discussed at Membership Meeting"
gbkw83 says:
No, to new dues increase

I feel that these increased membership dues are detrimental to the organization.  I feel, as some have suggested, that I am not getting the most out of the amount of money I currently pay for my membership. It seems that most items that SAA has to offer from annual meeting, books, and continueing education are priced extremely high.  Some people, have to pay for these items out of pocket (with little to no help from employer).  I think there should also be an additional level of 100k dues fee.


annayev says:
Some thoughts about SAA's current and proposed dues structure


I wonder how many pay their membership themselves versus organizations pay for them. Knowing it will shape my vote. And yes, I think that adding another tire of salary may help to solve a problem. 


eiratansey says:
SAA Membership Survey

Anna --


The 2012 membership survey may answer this question, as it specifically asks about dues reimbursement and institutional members. See especially slide 129.

child2297 says:
Members whose institutions cover cost of dues and events

I support the comments of members who propose revising dues structure to eliminate regressive dues, event fees, and so forth.  Also to be studied and factored in is the role that archival institutions and repositories play, i.e., what portion of SAA income do they cover for their staff who are members?  Perhaps some advocacy needed here? I myself am familiar with underfunded public bureaucratic organizations that simply refuse to support member attendance & dues. We are not the ALA so must be creative--would members have ideas about marketing our serial and monograph publications?  About working with vendors and granting organizations for support? About marketing to (and charging) nonmembers in hosting cities/locations who might want to attend SAA training events? Perhaps about SAA working with regional groups such as MAC to hold joint (but overlapping) meetings and other events, thereby saving travel costs. 

Jeanie Child

susieab320 says:
Understandable yet out-of-pocket expenses are already a burden

I understand the rationale for the dues increase. I can handle a 3% or so increase for a few years but not indefinitely. My concern is due to the cumulative costs I pay for professional organizations. Realistically, I have to pay dues to several professional organizations to provide any significant benefit for my career. I currently have to maintain memberships in SAA, the Special Libraries Association (which is much better for job postings and networking at the local level), my regional archives professional group (MAC), a local archives professional group, and the Academy of Certified Archivists. This adds up to about $500 per year if I pay at the suggested income-based levels (which I do).

Like many professionals, I also must pay my own way for any training and conferences. Training courses are not cheap and usually require me to travel. Conferences aren't cheap either. All these out-of-pocket expenses are limiting my ability to participate in the profession.

I don't oppose the dues increase on principle. However, I think SAA needs to find ways to maximize the value of my membership. For example, shorter, regional meetings would be more affordable and realistic for me to attend than a week-long national conference.  I would love to see the certification process managed under SAA instead of through a separate organization. Paying dues to ACA seems like a total waste; that organization benefits me in no way beyond being able to put two letters on my resume and I've found it doesn't really have much meaning when applying for jobs. I also question why all these regional groups exist in the first place -- they must be providing some value that SAA is not; is there any way to bring about greater unity? I don't know all the political and historical reasons behind this; but it would be helpful to understand.

m.gorzalski says:
Why do Regional's Exist?


I've posted a link to a source with good background information on the regionals.  I think it might answer why some of them exist.  Please see and Session 606 E Pluribus Unum? SAA and the Regionals.

prom says:
In regard to your point about

In regard to your point about historial reasons, it is worth reading Peter Gottlieb's presidentail address from a few years back, published in one of the issues of American Archvist.  He touches on these points and argues for increased integration between SAA and regional associations, among other points.

Chris Prom

blandis says:
Proposed dues structure problematic

I think that Eira makes a great mathematical point that I hope Council will take quite seriously. In spite of the rationale that Mark Duffy explained at the business meeting in Cleveland for not adding a new top salary category to the current $75K plateau, I think this is a strategic mistake. There are increasing numbers of members who make more than $100K and they can afford to pay the highest percentage of their wages in dues. Not only can they do it, they should be eager to share their good professional fortune with their primary professional organization, which has in many ways facilitated their successes. I join Arlene in encouraging Council to figure out a way to add a new dues level at the top of the scale in the current proposal before it goes to a membership vote, and not to kick that can down the road to a future Council.

prom says:
Marks comment

Bill, I wasn't able to attend, but what what Mark's rationale for not adding this.  I honestly don't see the downside to adding a new tier.


Chris Prom

acschi says:
November 2014 document


I have been in agreement about adding another tier at the top end. See especially the first paragraph of the Background section and Appendix B (with thanks to Eira Tansey who shared with me when I had the same question about rationale).

Amy Schindler 

eiratansey says:
Concerns about higher burden on lower-income professionals

I have concerns that lower-income SAA members are shouldering a higher proportion of dues relative to their incomes. My longer form thoughts are articulated over on my website:

abschmuland says:
Dues increase: another tier perhaps?

When was the tier schedule last revised? I don't see anything in the briefing paper that says this has been considered, but I really wish another tier would be added. Starting about 100K and up. Has any research been done into what this would mean? Is the concern that more affluent archivists would stop donating money in other ways? I really worry that we're raising dues evenly across all wage groups when some groups can more easily absorb dues increases than others.

acschi says:
Another tier: definitely


I absolutely join you in supporting the creation of another tier at the $100K level for those long-term academics, managers, and government archivists who are making well over the current $75K top tier starting point. I believe our federal colleagues who are at GS-13 begin at $99-100K.

It would also make sense to establish a routine of considering the creation of new tiers on a regular basis going forward. Perhaps every 8 years? 

Amy Schindler