Tag Archives: union plus

Union Plus Bachelor’s Degree Completion Program

If you and your family are mostly hunkered down due to the coronavirus, you may want to consider taking advantage of an amazing opportunity from Union Plus. A program Union Plus is currently offering can be life-changing for those who have a desire to complete their college education (bachelor’s degree) online at little or no cost.

Union members (in good standing) and their family members can choose to participate in the Union Plus Bachelor’s Degree Completion Program. Students who enroll for the 2020-21 academic year can complete their entire degree online with no out of pocket cost for tuition, fees, or e-books.

If you have completed your bachelor’s degree, there may be someone in your family who has not. The free college benefit is open to full dues-paying members in good standing and their families or retiree members. Families are children (or stepchildren), grandchildren (or step-grandchildren), spouses, domestic partners, financial dependents, siblings, and parents, including in-laws. “In partnership with Central State University, a respected and accredited institution, this flexible, 100% online program gives you the ability to study on your own schedule,” according to Union Plus. “In addition, your courses are transferable to other schools.”

Currently, the program is offering three areas of study: teacher education, business administration, and criminal justice. Hopefully, more areas of study will be offered at a later date. According to the program, students must have an associate degree or 60 or more credits in the area of study to enroll. Students not meeting this threshold can enroll in the free associate degree program. Students needing prerequisite classes can enroll in programs through the free college programs with Eastern Gateway Community College.

The program is now enrolling for fall classes. Get started by calling 888-897-9671 or enrolling online at www.unionplus.org.

AFM International Executive Board Votes to Endorse Biden for President

On Friday, August 7, the AFM International Executive Board (IEB) met by Zoom meeting to discuss the possibility of endorsing a candidate in the upcoming US presidential election. All IEB members were present for the meeting.

The IEB is very much aware that we have a diverse membership that has views that cover a wide political spectrum. Any endorsement of a presidential candidate is bound to be controversial with a portion of our membership.

As labor leaders, it our responsibility to share with the membership which candidate we feel will be the better choice regarding labor issues. Who will be the candidate most likely to support working men and women and the ideals of the labor movement? Who will be the candidate most likely to make appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that will hopefully result in increased NLRB decisions favorable to musicians? (Presidential appointments to the NLRB must be confirmed by the US Senate.) Who will be the candidate most likely to restore the fairness of the original social contract that served working men and women so well contributing to the creation of a robust middle class rather than the current failing low wage/low prices contract that has forced so many families into poverty? Who will be the best candidate to lead us through the pandemic crisis that has devastated musicians’ ability to go to work and make a living?

For these and other reasons, the IEB voted unanimously to endorse the Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

union plus

Union Plus Programs and Department of Professional Employees

Union Plus

Unions are all about improving the quality of life for hardworking men and women. The contractual gains enjoyed by bargaining unit members have a direct correlation to the solidarity within the unit. We are strongest and able to achieve maximum results in bargaining when we act together as one. Simply put, collective action translates into better contracts.

There are many ancillary benefits that come from being a union member. One such benefit is access to Union Plus. In 1986 the AFL-CIO founded a nonprofit organization called Union Privilege. The Union Plus programs harness the collective buying power of 13 million union members and their families offering a variety of exclusive consumer benefit programs. Credit card, mortgage, auto insurance, life insurance, and accidental death and dismemberment insurance are just a few of the programs offered by Union Plus. Participating in some of the programs bring additional benefits such as strike, mortgage, and hospital assistance, as well as credit counseling with a free budget analysis, savings on prescription drugs, and discounts on movie tickets, car rentals, gifts, and flowers.

A little known benefit is the Union Plus Scholarship Program. Since the program’s inception in 1991, more than 2,800 union families have benefitted from the $4.2 million awarded to students who want to begin or continue their post-secondary education. This year I am pleased to announce that we have an AFM recipient from Local 105 (Spokane, WA). Kristin Joham will be receiving a $1,000 scholarship. She was one of 160 recipients. Congratulations to Kristin! 

Next year’s scholarship application deadline is 12:00 pm (Eastern Time), January 31, 2018. More information about Union Plus scholarships and other Union Plus programs can be found on the UnionPlus.org website.

Department for Professional Employees

In 1977 the AFL-CIO formed the Department for Professional Employees (DPE) to meet the growing needs of professionals who are unionized. The DPE has 23 national union affiliates who represent more than
4 million professional, technical, and highly skilled workers. Musicians, actors, engineers, teachers, nurses, psychologists, and computer scientists are among those represented. DPE meetings provide a forum “to discuss matters of common concern and coordinate efforts to address them.”

Under the DPE umbrella is the Arts, Entertainment and Media Industries (AEMI). Entertainment unions that are AEMI affiliates meet regularly in New York City where we discuss issues that impact the entertainment industry such as federal funding for the arts (NEA, NEH, CPB), visas for artists entering the US and/or Canada, legislation that impacts Internet usage, and airline policies for musical instrument carry-on. These issues are important to musicians and AEMI enables the arts and entertainment unions to speak to the federal government with one clear and consistent voice.

Recently, I attended the DPE General Board and Quadrennial Election meeting in Washington, DC. I feel honored and privileged to have been elected one of the nine general vice presidents who serve on the DPE Executive Committee. I look forward to representing the AFM on the DPE Executive Committee and bringing our issues and concerns to that forum.

Assistance for Union Plus Storm Victims

Union members who participate in Union Plus programs (credit cards, insurance, mortgages, etc.) and live in areas impacted by the recent severe storms and widespread flooding in Texas and Oklahoma, may be eligible for financial assistance. Disaster Relief Grants of $500 are available to help participants who live in Harris, Hays, and Van Zandt counties in Texas, and Cleveland, Grady, and Oklahoma counties in Oklahoma and are facing financial hardship due to this devastating natural disaster. The money does not have to be repaid.

To qualify for a Union Plus Disaster Relief Grant, a union member must:

  • Have been a victim of the severe weather in counties designated by FEMA as qualifying for individual assistance.
  • Have experienced a significant loss of income or property within the last six months due to the disaster.
  • Have had a Union Plus Credit Card, Union Plus Insurance policy, or Union Plus Mortgage for at least 12 months with the account or policy in good standing (be up-to-date on payments).
  • Describe his or her circumstances and document the income or property loss.

To apply for a disaster relief grant, Union Plus participants can call: 1-800-622-2580 (Union Plus Credit Card) or 1-800-472-2005 (Union Plus mortgage or insurance: 1-800-472-2005).

Union Plus Mortgage and Credit Card holders may also be eligible to receive payment extensions or other special help.