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10 Things You Should Know About NEA Higher Education

When you join your local association or union of faculty, staff, or graduate employees, you also become a member of your state and national associations. Your membership in the National Education Association builds our strength and effectiveness. Together, as NEA Higher Ed, we:

1. We provide the power of numbers.

With 3 million members, NEA is the largest labor union in the U.S., representing more than 225,000 faculty, staff, and graduate students. Our collective will is felt from coast to coast—from research universities in Florida to community colleges in Washington State.

2. Exert a Voice on Capitol Hill

Our higher-ed members and lobbyists are fighting hard for a new Higher Education Act that ensures students’ rights to a high-quality, affordable education, and educators’ rights to determine what that looks like. We also are influencing the conversation around faculty research, college access, equitable funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutes, and more.

3. Deliver the Expertise you need:

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.

4. Supply Top-Notch Legal Support:

Our 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.

5. Help You Be a Better Educator:

NEA’s partnership with the higher-ed Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network has produced a robust library of “Thriving in Academe guides. Meanwhile, NEA Higher Ed members also learn from each other in an online EdCommunities, which hosts regular webinars.

6. Hone Your Leadership Skills:

NEA provides a variety of training opportunities and resources, including advanced leadership trainings and workshops at the NEA Higher Ed conference.

7. Keep You Informed:

NEA Higher Ed members get the scoop through the newsletter, the Advocate, and its email companion, the eAdvocate; the peer-reviewed journal, Thought & Action, which members write and referee; and the NEA Almanac of Higher Education, which offers the latest in higher education trends and research.

8. Lead the Way on Progressive Policy:

Recently, NEA leaders voted to dedicate their resources to dismantling institutional racism at every level of education. In higher education specifically, NEA’s Representative Assembly also has committed to equity for contingent faculty, which includes support for the bi-annual Campus Equity Week, and NEA’s Degrees Not Debt campus-based campaigns.

9. Invite You to Get Together:

The NEA Higher Education Conference, which has gathered faculty and staff each spring for more than 30 years, offers workshops in organizing, bargaining, policy, and more.

10. Save You Money:

Maybe you don’t join a union for hefty discounts at restaurants, hotels and car rentals…but NEA Member Benefits also offers financial services around home ownership, student loan repayment, and retirement planning, plus member rates on life, auto, and home insurance, and access to the NEA long-term care program.


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10 Things You Should Know About NEA Higher Education
(PDF, 6.59 MB, 3 pgs.)