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Why Be A Member?

Unions Built the Middle Class

America’s labor unions have led the fight for working families, winning protections such as the 8-hour day and the 40-hour week, overtime rights, and access to health care and retirement security. Today, the fight continues both to retain these vital rights and to ensure a fair minimum wage, and a safe and healthy workplace. [36 Reasons To Thank Unions]

On average, union workers earn 28% more than non-union workers and are 62% more likely to have employer-covered health coverage. The 15 states with the highest salaries - including Rhode Island - are those with the strongest collective bargaining laws and the highest percentage of union membership. The states with the lowest salaries and lowest membership tend to have no collective bargaining rights. [Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.]

It's the "U" and "I" in Union that Makes Us Strong

Thanks to unions like the National Education Association RI {NEARI}, members benefit from better wages, fairer working conditions, and a voice in the workplace.

As a dues paying member, your union dues are used to fund the various activities which the union {CCRIPSA} engages in and the services that it provides its members. This collection of funds supports the union's governance which allows the union to represent members, engage in grievance procedures, and negotiate collective bargaining contracts.

The funds also allow the union {CCRIPSA} to be affiliated with state {NEARI} and national {NEA} bodies which can provide members greater leverage and benefits; such as legal representation, legislative lobbying, professional development, and discount programs.

Union Dues are Tax Deductible:

United We Bargain - Divided We Beg

Collective Bargaining is the pragmatic process through which employee and employer representatives meet at the bargaining table as equals to exchange positions, solve problems, and reach a written contract. The mutual exchange of positions is followed by an agreement – typically addressing compensation, hours, and working conditions – binding both groups to their decisions. All union members draw the same benefits, rights, and protections under their local contract.

As a Collective Voice - when members act together - they present a strong, united front to management at the bargaining table and beyond. As a member, you have the right to participate in the decision-making process of your local {CCRIPSA}, state {NEARI}, and national {NEA} unions — including ratification of contracts, election of local, state, and national union leaders, and other key decisions.

Through Collective Action, we can impact those who vote on education policy by participating in the Association’s political endorsement process of candidates for state or federal office. When our union is strong, we have better working conditions, and our students have better learning conditions. Together, we can advocate for issues that impact Rhode Island's middle class, students, and all workers.

The Benefits of Being Union

Member Representation

Through years of collective bargaining, all CCRIPSA members have benefited from the various policies and procedures, compensation, and working conditions that have been negotiated with administration. This process gives members a voice within CCRI and helps make the college an attractive place of employment.

If any member feels that they may need representation, the union's Area Representatives and Officers are available to represent the member.


(If called into a meeting with management, and you reasonably believe that the meeting or interview may lead to discipline, read the following when the meeting begins.)

If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or affect my personal working conditions, I respectfully request that my union representative, or officer, or building representative be present at this meeting. Until my representative arrives, I choose not to participate in this discussion.

Fringe Benefits

Article VI: CCRIPSA members are eligible for the following fringe benefits:

  • Retirement Program
  • Group Life Insurance
  • Disability Insurance
  • Tax Deferred Annuity Program
  • Travel Reimbursement
  • Health Insurance
  • Tuition Waiver

Additional information can be found in the CCRI Employee Handbook[BROKEN LINK].

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Leave Provisions

Article IX: CCRIPSA members are eligible for the following leave provisions:

  • Sick Leave
  • Bereavement Leave
  • Military Training Leave
  • Jury Duty
  • Maternity Leave
  • Parental Leave
  • Special Time-Off
  • Personal Days
  • Leaves for Professional Meeting and Conferences
  • Leaves for Professional Development
  • Sabbatical Leave
  • Study Leave
  • Vacation
  • Paid Holidays
  • Special Sick Leave
  • Advance Sick Leave.

Additional information can be found in the CCRI Employee Handbook[BROKEN LINK].

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Sick Leave Bank

Letter of Understanding #4: Dues paying CCRIPSA members who contribute to the “Sick Bank” at the beginning of each calendar year may be able to access the sick bank in the event of a catastrophic illness or injury that has caused a member to exhaust all of their accrued paid leave. Administered by a Sick Leave Bank Committee, a member in need may be granted up to the number of hours from the sick leave bank that are needed by the employee either to return to work or to become eligible for coverage by the College’s Total Disability Plan.

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Expertise and Legal Protection

NEA’s organizers, researchers, policy analysts, lobbyists, attorneys and communication specialists can help with on-campus organizing, using financial and policy analysis during bargaining, and more. As a dues paying member, you are represented by experts and union attorneys in matters beyond the contract, such as changes in Department of Education policies or health care reform.

NEA's legal service protects members subject to dismissal or severe sanctions, and covers every member with a $1 million liability policy. NEA counsel has addressed the Supreme Court on behalf of academic freedom and affirmative action in admissions, and has weighed in with the National Labor Relations Board to advocate for the rights of graduate employees.

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Impact on Public Policy

NEARI lobbyists represent your interests in the legislature and public policy arena. NEARI and NEA work at every level to ensure members and students are treated fairly, and the opportunity to access a quality public education is available to all. Whether it's lobbying at the Statehouse or action in Congress, the power lies with an informed membership.

You can make your mark by becoming a cyber-lobbyist by contacting your Local and State Officials and/or by signing up to be an "NEA Education Insider" for the latest on the national political scene.

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Professional Development

You can take part in free professional development offerings and labor advocacy training, such as:

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Save Money

As a dues-paying member, you can save hundreds of dollars a year in almost every area of your life. From insurance to student loans, vacations, technology and more, your state and national unions offer a wide range of discounts that continue to grow each day, such as:

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