The American Industrial Hygiene Association's board has approved a 33 percent dues increase for its approximately 12,000 members effective January 1, 2003, AIHA Treasurer Michael Brandt reported in the September issue of The Synergist.

Dues will rise from $120 to $160.

"The cost to provide AIHA members with the products and services they have come to expect is a full $40 above what AIHA actually charges for membership dues. We then looked back at AIHA's dues history and realized that we have been able to charge significantly less because we were so financially strong - and growing - in other areas of the AIHA operation. That is not so today," said Brandt.

Overall, AIHA is a strong, successful organization, Brandt asserted. In 2001, it gained about 760 new members and had a membership renewal rate of 92 percent. The number of local sections remains at 76, with five outside the U.S. and 33 student local sections.

But AIHA is no different than many businesses operating in what is a down market. That's reflected in the annual AIHCe's 2002 Job Fair, which attracted more job seekers (149) than job postings (89).

Six months into the current year, several key revenue centers remain below budget, according to the 2001-2002 AIHA Annual Report. "It's been a very tight year," according to the report. Treasurer Brandt reported that the AIHA Journal loses more than $500,000 per year, and is being transitioned to an online-only version. "We cannot afford to lose that much money on a single product," he said.

Another money loser, the Academy of Industrial Hygiene's annual Professional Conference on Industrial Hygiene, which AIHA subsidizes, is being given time to make the PCIH more successful.

To make AIHA stronger financially, in 2002 some staff positions were dropped or open positions frozen, and work was outsourced, according to Brandt.

The current fiscal year 2002 budget has been reduced by five percent ($600,000).

In another move, AIHA department managers are now being measured by how they control expenses and increase their customer base through focused marketing and increased sales of products and services.

"In order to survive - no - in order to thrive in this new and unchartered territory, it is necessary for us to examine the external world very thoroughly and to look deep into our own operations very critically," said AIHA Executive Director Richard A. Strano in the annual report.