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Strengthen your local while providing valuable benefits to your members

NYSUT Member Benefits endorses various group programs available for purchase by NYSUT local associations or their employers and benefit funds. These programs are typically bargained for with the employer or purchased by a benefit fund.

However, given the challenges in bargaining and the fact that many benefit funds may have trouble increasing their funding (or your local may not have a benefit fund), we’re now seeing local associations pool their local union dues for the purpose of putting a group plan in place for their members.

The Value of Group Programs
Those locals that have chosen to purchase and implement group programs not only bring valuable benefits to their members at a heavily discounted rate, but also demonstrate to their membership the additional benefits of being a union member – along with your union fighting for better contracts, safer working conditions, fair pay, and professional learning opportunities.

Locals that do not expect to be able to add group programs through the bargaining process, do not have a benefit fund or are not able to increase funding to a benefit fund may be interested in bringing their members together to purchase a NYSUT Member Benefits-endorsed group program directly through their local.

Many of the Member Benefits-endorsed group programs available for purchase are also available for purchase on a voluntary basis by individual members. However, the power of a group program can significantly reduce the cost of these programs per member – making it an incredible value.

Popular Group Programs
Two of the most popular group programs available to be purchased by the local are our endorsed Group Access Legal Service Plan and Group Financial Counseling Program. To enroll in these programs on a voluntary basis, the cost would be $85 and $260 per year, respectively. However, if either of these programs is purchased as a group program (in which all members of that local would be covered and paid for), the cost of these programs is only $35 each – a significant savings for your members!

So how would a local association go about implementing this strategy? In some instances, your local may already have amassed some finances from the regular collection of local dues that could be utilized for the purchase of a group program. In other cases, your local’s constitution and bylaws may provide the local with the option of increasing its dues for certain ventures such as this.

The overall process is quite simple. A NYSUT Member Benefits Benefits Coordinator can present either of the aforementioned programs for your local’s consideration. If warranted, a representative of either of the programs can also attend to present and answer questions about their respective program. If your local decides to purchase a group program, NYSUT Member Benefits and the program provider will work closely with your local to implement the program AND promote it to your membership.

How Does This Strengthen My Union?
Simply put, these types of programs are normally not available to the general public. You must be both a NYSUT member and member of your local to participate in these group programs. The power and savings that go along with implementing a group program provide your local with a unique cost-savings strategy. Typically, this brings the members of the local together to learn about the programs available; implement or launch a new program; schedule will preparation or financial planning days; or even vote to determine whether a program should be implemented to your membership.

Below is a quote from a Local President that has implemented this strategy and introduced the Group Legal Service Plan to their local’s membership.

“The Saratoga Adirondack BOCES Employees Association decided that assisting our members by purchasing the Group Legal Service Plan was another opportunity to support our membership. We have held four days of Will Sign-Up & Signing Days thus far. Our membership has been very pleased that they are able to get updated wills, powers of attorney, living wills, and health care proxies for themselves and their spouses. We have heard repeatedly how grateful they are to have had this service provided for them. Members have also taken advantage of other components such as the legal advice offered by the Law Firm of Feldman, Kramer & Monaco. We have been very pleased with the program and are looking to expand into another group plan next year to increase the services that we provide to SABEA members.”

What About Other Endorsed Programs?
While NYSUT Member Benefits endorses a variety of other group programs, many are insurance programs that may require different premium amounts per member and must adhere to certain compliance requirements. These programs may pose some challenges if implemented solely by a local association.

How To Learn More
For more information about this process or the various group programs available to your local, please contact the NYSUT Member Benefits representative covering your region. Click here to access this information (and scroll down to the map at the bottom of the page).