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Extending the dues waiver for unemployed members

by James M. Landis Jr., Chair, ACS Committee on Membership Affairs
July 4, 2016 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 94, Issue 27

James Landis
Credit: Linda Wang/C&EN
A photo of James Landis.
Credit: Linda Wang/C&EN

Did you know that the American Chemical Society offers special benefits for unemployed members? Unemployed members can tap into a host of valuable benefits and services to help them get back in the workforce. And members in good standing may qualify for a dues waiver for unemployed members, allowing them to renew their memberships and keep their member benefits at no cost. Some of the benefits that help ACS members get back in the workforce include the following:

▸ Free registration to ACS national meetings, and registration fees of $25 at regional meetings.

▸ Special discounts for ACS Professional Education courses and ACS Leadership Development System workshops, both online and in person.

▸ Access to the SciFinder program for unemployed scientists, which provides up to 100 SciFinder activities for personal use yearly. ACS Publications also offers access to 25 digital articles.

▸ Membership to the ACS Network, an online resource for connecting and communicating with friends, colleagues, and potential employers.

▸ Free access to ACS Career Services, including attending career fairs, participating in career workshops, and receiving guidance from ACS career consultants, who provide résumé reviews, job search strategies, and interviewing tips.

▸ Free access to InterviewStream, an online tool designed to sharpen interview skills, as well as access to the ACS Online Job Club, which meets virtually via web conferencing every other Tuesday.

▸ Free access to the ACS Salary Calculator.

Expanding this benefit to a third year prevented 179 members from being removed from membership in the society.

▸ In addition, the ACS Member Insurance Program offers deferred premium payments for unemployed members. Unemployed members also continue to have access to all of the standard benefits of ACS membership.

The Committee on Membership Affairs (MAC) is a standing committee of the ACS Council that is assigned to promote membership recruitment and retention in ACS while ensuring that present members receive membership benefits and services at the highest levels possible. Part of this involves proposing and maintaining the bylaws for categories of membership and dues for the society. One of these categories is “unemployed.” In times of unemployment, a member may contact the national office and request a waiver of their dues while they are looking for work. Currently, the bylaws of the society allow the member to have dues waived for up to two years.

Consecutive years unemployed

One year of unemployment 882

Two years of unemployment 331

Three years of unemployment 179

During periods of economic dislocation such as the Great Recession and the globalization of the chemical industry, a person’s job search may take a lot of time. The Committee on Economic & Professional Affairs (CEPA) suggested that ACS’s bylaws be changed to allow unemployed members of the society to remain as members without paying dues for a period of up to three years.

In 2015, MAC examined this proposal and prepared a market data study in which unemployed members were informed that they could request a third-year dues waiver. As a result, MAC obtained the below data:

Expanding this benefit to a third year prevented 179 members from being ­removed from membership in the society. Although this is only a small portion of membership, MAC considers this to be a worthwhile change to the bylaws because it is “the right thing to do” for the members.

As a result, MAC has prepared a petition to amend the ACS bylaws to make this a permanent change. This petition will be presented to the ACS Council at the ACS national meeting in Philadelphia in August. Please let your local section and division councilors know if you are also in favor of this change.

MAC welcomes your input, and all comments will be taken into consideration. We especially appreciate feedback concerning the following:

▸ Current MAC activities and initiatives.
▸ Pending petitions for changes in the ACS constitution and bylaws.
▸ Nontechnical benefits available to ACS members.
▸ Member recruitment and retention activities.
▸ Initiatives that MAC should be pursuing.
▸ Ways to increase the value of ACS membership.
▸ You can contact us at Please include your name and ACS member number, if applicable.

Members who need to request the dues waiver for unemployed members can contact ACS customer service today by e-mail at, by phone at (800) 333-9511, or by fax at (614) 447-3671 and let us know how we can help.

Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS.


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