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Though there is a lot of diversity in union structures, one common form consists of a local union with a large amount of autonomy but bound to the rules and policies of the national or international union of which it is a member.  A union may also contain intermediate bodies between the levels of the local and the national, such as a state or regional federation.  For example, the Wisconsin Science Professionals (WSP) is a local union, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is a national union, and AFT-Wisconsin is a state federation.  The local has its own constitution and bylaws, and in general, sets its own policies.  As part of AFT, WSP is required to pay a portion of its dues (called the per capita) to AFT-Wisconsin and to AFT.  The role of the state federation is to service the locals, publish a newspaper, form alliances with other unions in the state, and act as a lobbying group with the state legislature.  This last role is of great importance for public employees whose employers are dependent upon the state for funding.  The national union sets the overall program of the union, hires a staff of researchers, lawyers, lobbyists and the like, who service the locals, help the union secure new members, lobby various political bodies, and promote public support for members and their professions.


WSP currently maintains affiliations with AFT-Wisconsin (the state federation for AFT), AFT, the South-Central Federation of Labor (SCFL), and AFL-CIO.  These affiliations allow WSP to leverage the larger Union membership to work toward common goals.  


Please see our affiliates' Web sites for additional information on their activities.




6602 Normandy Lane
Madison, WI 53719-1081

 AFT (American Federation of Teachers)

       AFT-Public Employees


       South-Central Federation of Labor