That depends if you work in a union shop state or a right to work state. in a union shop, you have to be part of the union to work a union job. in a right to work state, you don't have to be part of the union and no not have to pay union dues. laws very by state but most right to work states require the union the represent you like any other unionized job. I doubt they would work too hard on saving your job if you got into trouble as they would for a paying member. the pension is separate from the union dues and should not be effected by the lack of paying them in a right to work state other than your paper work not being as effectively worked on because your not paying the dues. This might change when more computer automated systems are put into place.