The University has agreed that all professional unit members who don’t join the union must pay an “agency fee” for services rendered.  That is so because when the union wins a benefit, it applies to all professional unit staff, and the union must represent everyone regardless of union membership status.  Though union dues are slightly more than the agency fee, the vast majority of professional staff have in the past chosen to join the union, with good reason.

Below is a comparison of rights and benefits:

                    

UNION MEMBERS     
AGENCY FEE PAYERS

Covered by union contract; can get help from union with contractual matters

Covered by union contract; can get help from union with contractual matters

Can participate in all PSU votes

Can only vote on contract ratification

Can serve on PSU committees and help set union’s priorities

Can hold no union office or influence union’s direction

Are covered by $1,000,000 insurance policy which protects against lawsuits connected with your employment

Excluded from coverage

Benefit from group purchasing discounts on auto, homeowners and life insurance, mortgage refinancing, vision care, tax preparation

No benefits

Have access to reduced admissions to over 1,000 museums, theaters, stores, ski areas, and more

No reduced admissions

May receive free legal advice and representation in areas such as employment discrimination, unemployment, retirement, civil rights violations, privacy issues, workers compensation

No free legal services
(beyond contractual representation)

Are entitled to assistance in defraying legal costs incurred in defending against charges of crimes alleged to have occurred in the course of employment

No assistance

Have access to reduced-fee legal services for non-employment legal problems

No access to this program

This past year, the MTA/NEA full-time agency fee was $3 per week less than the full union dues rate.  The largest difference in cost between agency fee and union membership is for the political advocacy that the union engages in.  For example, MTA staff in Boston lobby the legislature to provide adequate funding for the university.  That is something that union members, but not agency fee payers, pay for.  Most people on campus, however, see this as one of the most important things the union does to try to maintain the best possible university.