FAQs on AAUP/AFT Affiliation

When did the AAUP vote to affiliate with the AFT? When does the affiliation take effect?

The delegates to the Biennial Association Meeting voted to affiliate with the AFT at the June 2022 meeting. The affiliation took effect on August 1, 2022.

Why did the AAUP and the AFT pursue this affiliation?

The AAUP is a strong organization with a long, proud history. Our standards and policies have shaped US higher education. Over the past few years, we have seen an increase in chapter organizing in both advocacy and collective bargaining settings. Much of this organizing has been the result of our joint organizing partnership with AFT. This organizing partnership has been good for AAUP and AFT, but, more importantly, it has been good for the profession. It has resulted in increased unionization in R1 and flagship institutions and has led to over 20,000 faculty being jointly represented by the AAUP and AFT. There is more to be done, however, and we believe the best way to continue to grow is to work more closely with the AFT to build a stronger, more inclusive movement. Higher education is under attack—austerity, attacks on knowledge and expertise, and increased legislative intrusion into the academy. The AAUP has the expertise to tackle these problems, and the AFT has the resources at the national and state level. Working with the AFT, we can ensure that AAUP professional standards and principles are recognized on more campuses. Importantly, through our affiliation with the AFT, we will be affiliated with the AFL-CIO and our collective bargaining chapters will have affiliations with AFT state federations—organizations with clout in state capitals and in Washington, DC.

Isn’t AFT a K-12 teachers union? What do AAUP members have in common with them?

AFT’s Higher Education division represents over 270,000 higher ed employees. About 148,000 of them are tenure-line faculty, adjuncts, graduate employees, and academic professionals. The AFT has been a leader in addressing some of the most serious challenges facing higher education, including precarity in faculty employment and the student loan debt crisis. Beyond this, the AAUP and the AFT share culture and values and a mutual respect for each other’s organizational strengths. We share a commitment to education as fundamental to the functioning of a democratic society. As the legislative attacks against teaching history have shown, in many cases, K-12 and higher education are facing the same challenges. We can best fight them as a unified front.

What does it mean for the AAUP to become affiliated with the AFT?

Through this affiliation, the national AAUP becomes a “national regional council” of the AFT. As an affiliate, the AAUP maintains its independence and autonomy—as do our chapters. AAUP members will continue as full members of the AAUP with all the rights and privileges that go with membership. The AAUP will continue to have its own national governing Council, officers, constitution, and Biennial Association Meeting and AAUP chapters will continue to be governed by chapter constitutions. The AAUP maintains sole authority over its budget, programs, and staff. The AAUP also maintains sole authority over the Redbook, the promulgation of professional standards, investigation and censure/sanction and over its committees. All AAUP members will also become members of the AFT/AFL-CIO, with all the rights and privileges that go with membership in the AFT.

Does this affiliation mean that the national AAUP will no longer be a professional organization?

No. The national AAUP will continue to be a 501 c(6) professional organization and will continue to advocate for the profession as a whole and for higher education in service of the common good.

I am a current AAUP member. Does this affiliation mean I will also be a member of the AFT?

Yes. As of August 1, 2022, all current AAUP members are, by virtue of being a dues-paying AAUP member, also AFT members with all the rights, privileges, responsibilities and benefits that go with being AFT members. AAUP members will also continue as full members of the AAUP, with all the rights and privileges that go with being an AAUP member.

I am an AAUP advocacy member. Will I have to pay dues to both the AAUP and the AFT?

No. You will continue to pay AAUP dues at your current dues rate to the AAUP. From this, the AAUP will forward to AFT your AFT per capita.

I am the leader of an AAUP advocacy chapter. What changes for the chapter?

AAUP advocacy chapters will continue as is and will continue to have access to all the programs and services of the AAUP. For purposes of participating in the AFT convention, AAUP advocacy members are part of a large AAUP national AFT local. If your advocacy chapter would like to become a chartered AFT local, you may choose to pursue that process. It is not required, however.

I am at a solo AAUP collective bargaining chapter. Will I have to forward per capita separately to AFT?

No. If you are a member of an AAUP collective bargaining chapter, you will continue to pay your dues to your AAUP chapter/union. The chapter forwards a portion of your dues to AAUP. From this, the AAUP will forward to AFT your AFT per capita and so you will also receive an AFT membership.

I am the leader of an AAUP solo collective bargaining chapter. What changes for the chapter?

All AAUP solo CB chapters will continue as charted chapters of the AAUP. AAUP CB chapters will also receive charters as AFT locals and will have all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of chartered AFT locals, including being able to have voting delegates on the floor of the AFT convention and vote in AFT conventions. As a chartered local of the AFT, CB chapters must be members in their AFT state federations, and in the state AFL-CIO and central labor councils (where they exist). AAUP solo CB chapters will pay the state federation per capita at a special rate. The AFT also requires that AAUP/AFT chapters have an annual audit or financial statement that is submitted to the AFT and presented to the chapter members.

My solo AAUP collective bargaining chapter can’t afford state federation or state AFL dues. Can we opt out?

One of the important results of this affiliation is the participation in AFT state federations and in the AFL-CIO at the national, state, and local level. These two organizations are vehicles for exercising power nationally at the state level and are the best way to work in solidarity with our colleagues in K-12, public employment, and other sectors. We do recognize, however, that not all chapters will be able to absorb this expense immediately. In order to assist chapters with making this transition, the AAUP Council has set up a CB chapter assistance fund. Solo AAUP CB chapters will be able to apply to this fund for help covering these new chapter expenses.

I am an officer in the AAUP state conference. What does this mean for us?

AAUP state conferences will continue to be governed by internal AAUP policy. Many states also have AFT state federations. We believe that there is a real opportunity for state conferences and state federations to explore opportunities for working together and collaborating on a shared agenda for higher education, including in the state legislature. The two national organizations look forward to working with our conferences and state federations on these opportunities.

I am an officer at a joint AAUP/AFT chapter. What does this mean for us?

Your chapter will continue as a joint AAUP/AFT chapter with all the rights and benefits that go with being a joint chapter. As a result of this affiliation, your colleagues in AAUP chapters around the country will join you in being dual members of both the AAUP and the AFT. Another practical result of this affiliation is that the national AAUP and AFT will be able to coordinate more closely on services and programs for our joint chapters.

The faculty at my campus are considering unionizing with the AAUP. What does this mean for us?

Once your unionization drive is successful, your CB chapter will be an AAUP/AFT joint chapter and will receive all the rights, benefits, responsibilities, services, and support that goes with being members of both organizations. You will not lose the support you are receiving from the AAUP, but you will gain access to support from the AFT.

What happens to national staff? Will AAUP staff now be employees of the AFT?

No. AAUP staff continue to be employees of the AAUP, and the AAUP will retain the sole authority to manage its staff and programs.

Will this affiliation impact the staff at my chapter or my state conference?

AAUP chapter and state conference staff will remain employees of the chapter or state conference and the chapter or state conference will retain the sole authority to manage its staff and programs.

Will AAUP national dues increase as part of the affiliation?

No. national AAUP dues will continue to be governed by the AAUP’s policies on dues and will not be affected by this affiliation. 

I still have other questions. How can I get those questions answered?

Members can see detailed information here (log in required).