Your dues provide for a paid representative to assist the union in negotiating a fair contract and then enforcing this contract for it’s duration.
The Locals from the State of Oregon are served by a Council which in turn is served by the International. The council has several caucuses where like minded members can work together for the benefit of workers. There is a Conservative Caucus and a Green Caucus.
Your dues are also used for political purposes because AFSCME endorses pro labor candidates and initiatives regardless of party affiliation. There is a political rebate available once a year.