Reasons to join the AEU

Strong membership is the key to a dynamic and effective union.

Recruitment is a key part of the AEU sub-branch rep's role. Together, we can work towards 100% union membership in every workplace.

The most common reason non-members give for not being in the union is simply that nobody asked them to join!

Read our handy guide to having a recruitment conversation.

Five reasons to join

  • Protection: AEU membership gives you legal and workplace protection. Facing disciplinary action can be a lonely, stressful and expensive business without the support of your union. We can provide legal assistance and represent you at formal hearings for industrial cases, employment law matters, workers' compensation claims and potential criminal matters.
  • Participation: Union membership gives you a voice in local decisions that affect your working conditions. It's the most effective path to consultation and can mean the difference between being asked and being told.
  • Representation: Joining the AEU builds our collective bargaining power when it comes to negotiating your pay and conditions. We can also provide expert representation should you ever have a workplace dispute, WorkCover claim or appeal to the Merit Protection Board.
  • Professional: The AEU offers members immediate support, guidance and advice. We also run a wide range of professional development, training, conferences and events – from your time as a student to the day you retire.
  • Principles: AEU membership makes you part of the community that won you the working conditions you enjoy today. We are committed to the principles of public education and trade unionism. As part of the AEU, you have a voice on the education and social justice issues you care about.

Building your sub-branch

Some simple approaches to signing up new members:

  • Offer every non-member in your workplace a membership form at least once a year – and more often during industrial campaigns!
  • Keep your approach brief‚ relevant and informed.
  • Host a sub-branch morning tea and invite non-members to see and hear why the AEU is a great community to join.
  • Urge sub-branch members to have a conversation about joining with their eligible non-member friends and colleagues.
  • Share the broad benefits – industrial, legal and professional – of being a member.
  • When the union has a victory‚ celebrate it at work – and point out the benefits that flow to everyone, including non-members.
  • Remind non-members that their member colleagues are wearing the cost of their representation at the enterprise bargaining table.
  • Invite your AEU organiser to address non-members on a particular issue, e.g. legal liability.

Subscription rates

Rates differ depending on membership category and time fraction.

View membership rates

  • Beginning teachers, casual relief teachers and education support staff are all offered special subscription rates.
  • Fees for beginning teachers are discounted by 40% in the first year of teaching‚ 30% in the second, and 20% in the third (excluding the $20 public education levy or GST).
  • ES staff pay 60% of the teachers’ rate, in line with their wages.
  • Early childhood teachers pay only 90%.

Benefits checklist

AEU members have access to services‚ representation and advice relating to:

  • salaries and working conditions
  • contracts and casual employment
  • legal matters arising out of employment
  • financial matters, including superannuation and retirement
  • professional development
  • all forms of leave
  • WorkCover and OHS issues
  • representation in complaints‚ disputes, Merit Protection Board and the Fair Work Commission
  • women's issues, including maternity leave and return-to-work rights
  • private healthcare cover through Teacher's Federation Health
  • discounts via Union Shopper and other deals.

Responding to the cost argument

Some people will say they can't afford to join the AEU.

But when you consider exactly how little the contribution is, union membership is a great deal. For example, did you know:

  • Membership represents just 0.8% of a full-time salary.
  • It's tax deductable, so you'll get part of your fees back through your tax return.
  • One day in court equals four years' membership fees.
  • Pay increases won in the last round of agreements were typically 25–30%.
  • Members get access to Union Shopper, meaning you can easily get your subs back in savings and discounts.
  • Members can join Teacher Federation Health (TFH), saving more than your membership fees when compared to the cost of other health insurance companies.