Member Benefits

AFT PLUS Member Benefits

 AFT PLUS is the name of the member benefit programs available to AFT members and their families. Many of the programs are provided through Union Privilege, the benefit arm of the AFL-CIO; others are unique to AFT and are coordinated directly through AFT PLUS. Explore the site and learn more about the savings and services available to you as a union member.

With access to a wealth of opportunities and resources, the AFT has something for you.

  • Working together, we improve the quality of the services we provide to make our institutions better and stronger.
  • By standing with our 1.5 million members, we make our voices heard on the national, state and local levels.
  • We don’t simply work in a community, we work with our community to better our neighborhoods and achieve social justice for all.

As an AFT member and through involvement in your local union, you have an advantage. You have the power to bargain; the power to negotiate; and the power to change things, win improvements, and achieve goals that matter to you and to the people you serve.

Your advantage also comes with the purchasing power of 1.5 million members. Together, we can access a wide array of high-quality programs and services. This is just a sampling of AFT + member benefits.

For information about AFT + programs, please contact AFT + at 800/238-1133, ext. 8643, or e-mail aftplus@aft.org.

The AFT Benefit Trust has an expense reimbursement/endorsement arrangement with the providers of many of the products promoted. For information about contractual expense reimbursement and/or endorsement arrangements with providers of endorsed programs, please call AFT financial services at 800/238-1133, ext. 4493, or send an e-mail to disclosureinfo@aft.org, or read our disclosure.

 

Membership Information

The American Federation of Teachers, a Union of Professionals has a proud tradition of leadership in higher education, a tradition that began in 1918 and continues to the present. Early members and guiding lights include John Dewey, educator, philosopher and early AFT higher education activist. Ralph J. Bunche, AFT charter member from Howard University, undersecretary of the United Nations and Nobel Prize laureate. Albert Einstein, 1938 AFT charter member at Princeton University. Hubert Humphrey, an AFT member, taught political science before he was elected to U.S. Senator from Minnesota and Vice President to Lyndon B. Johnson.

  • We represent more higher education faculty and professional staff at colleges and universities all over the country than any other union in America.We continue to be a leader in winning collective bargaining contractsthat combines financial gains with advances in professional treatment and sound educational practice.
  • In addition to bread and butter gains, AFT contracts address such issues as tenure and governance, technology and distance education, and intellectual property rights.

Specifically, some benefits of being a Full Member include: Occupational Liability Insurance Plan, which provides coverage for most claims involving employment activities, including litigations from students, College Education Loans and Services, Student Loan Consolidation Program, Mortgage and Real Estate Program, Free and Discounted Legal Service, Health Club Discount, and more! Agency Members must elect Full Membership by completing the Membership Registration card effecting 100% dues deduction.  By becoming a Full Member, your dues will increase only a few dollars per pay period. This is a small price for showing your support of your Union.  Please contact the Membership Chair, Ms. Toni Jennings at extension 4189 or the AFT Office at extension 4511 with any questions or concerns.

 

FAQ @ Member Benefits

Some questions, objections and reasons for not joining the Union are widely shared.  The answers given below are, of course, not the only answers possible, but they’ve “worked” with some people some of the time.

Professionals should not join unions.

Being a “professional” is a matter of preparation, achievement, responsibility, and other similar factors.  A union’s job is to ensure that its members are treated fairly and equitably, be they “professional” employees or “non-professionals.”

Unions protect the incompetent.  That hurts the reputation of the rest of us, who don’t need the protection.

Unions are not involved in the hiring, firing, or evaluating of employees.  That’s the administration’s job, or the job of its designees.  The Union’s role is simply to guarantee that the employee is treated fairly and equitably—that he/she is given due process, for example, in non-reappointment.  In assuring that this safeguard applies, the Union does not “protect the incompetent” but, rather, ensures that the personnel actions originate in cause rather than from favoritism or other bias.

Unions are only interested in money.  They don’t care about anything else.

The AFT, like most unions, cares about a great deal more than money. A quick glance at the Union’s programs and policies will confirm that.

The Union would not be fully representing the faculty and staff at the state colleges and universities if it did not work hard to improve their salaries.

It is beside the point to argue that the desire to be rewarded adequately betrays an insufficient commitment to the ideals of higher education, or to the well being of students.  No one accuses a surgeon of being uninterested in medicine because he/she reaps great financial rewards.  Adequate financial rewards contribute to quality education because they attract good people and encourage them to remain on the job.

We have a rotten contract, etc.

Getting a good contract is in large measure a question of power.  The more power a union has, the better the contract it can negotiate.  Membership is important to power.  Since the very strongest argument that any union can take to the negotiating table is ‘the entire faculty and staff support the union and its demands,’ the Union needs to continue to build membership.

What other reasons can you give me for joining the Union?

Joining is in your interest.  Becoming a full member gives you a vote in all Union matters, including the master contract. Your voice should be heard. The more members we have, the more successful we are likely to be at the bargaining table, in the Legislature, and with the various state agencies whose actions affect our colleges and universities.

I’m paying agency fee.  Isn’t that enough?

No. The fee merely supports the collective bargaining-related costs of serving the faculty and staff and of providing those protections and benefits which must, by law, be given equally to union members and non-members.

What the State—the employer—looks for is signs of commitment to the Union’s negotiating position.  The most basic and significant commitment is becoming a member.

Agency fee isn’t fair; you are forcing me to pay union dues against my will.

The agency fee was enacted by the New Jersey Legislature in July 1980.  Since then, many employee organizations, including the NJEA and AAUP at Rutgers, have negotiated the fee.  The fee is set, by law, at 85% of member dues.

The rationale behind the law is this: The law requires unions to negotiate for all the employees they represent, non-members as well as members. (The Union could not, for example, negotiate a ten-percent increase for members and a four-percent increase for non-members).  Moreover, unions must defend the contractual and other employment rights of non-members as thoroughly and as vigorously as they do the rights of their members.  Since negotiating and enforcing a contract are a union’s principal responsibilities, and non-members benefit equally, the agency fee law recognizes their duty to share in costs of collective bargaining representation.  Without the agency fee, the dues of the members would have to be higher and non-members would be getting a “free ride.”

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