1. It's the single best way to improve your working conditions, wages, health care and other benefits. Joining the Guild gives you a voice in the union as we help determine your wages, vacation and personal time, work environment and other terms of employment. It makes sense to support an organization that fights for you.
2. Only union members can vote on proposed contracts or other key matters, participate in our bargaining priorities survey, or serve as a Guild officer, committee member or negotiator.
3. You'll be eligible for free training in crucial skills such as video editing. Guild members and their relatives also are eligible for annual scholarships for college or career training.
4. You'll get access to union-only discounts and deals on dental, legal and other services, credit cards and life insurance, car rentals, Disney World hotels and more, mostly through our parent union, Communications Workers of America. More details are available at http://www.unionplus.org/
5. The union maintains online discussion groups that help members get advice, learn from colleagues in other states and exchange information about a variety of problems and issues. Only members can post to the discussion groups.
6. Joining shows the AP you are a dedicated professional, serious about spending a good part of your career here.
7. It shows that you stand side by side with your many colleagues who are union members _ about 70 percent of staff working 15 hours or more per week. Current members include 10 Pulitzer Prize winners, dozens of Beat of the Week winners and many domestic correspondents.
8. Unions are about strength in numbers. Joining will boost our clout at the bargaining table, in pursuing grievances and in fighting on other issues. Nonmembers dilute our strength, and AP has said during bargaining that nonmembers support the company's proposals.
9. The Guild supplies support, including legal assistance, if you have issues with management. When employees are unfairly targeted, the union can ask an independent umpire to return employees to work with back pay. Employees have no such recourse in non-union workplaces.
10. Dues amount to only about 2.5 hours of your straight pay each month, and overtime pay and differentials you earn are not touched. That's a small price for a union that brings you yearly raises, annual wage scale increases for those early in their careers and new benefits with each new contract, while holding down health costs. Contracts over the years include: company matches to retirement plans; good health benefits; protections from arbitrary dismissals; severance payments; fully paid life insurance; increased job training; paid paternity and adoption leave; same-sex partner benefits; more vacation and holiday time off; increased sick time for newer employees; more reasonable work schedules; sabbaticals after 10 years' service; an employee assistance program and high mileage reimbursement.