In addition to the everyday benefits of union membership (a strong contract, for instance!), PROTEC17 is working on expanding our member benefits program this year, including adding a new professional development fund (PDF).

Over the years, we’ve heard about our members’ interest in training opportunities to help them in their jobs or to advance their careers, so last year the PROTEC17 Executive Board approved development of this fund and has allocated $10,000 to it for 2019.

The PDF operates on a first-come, first-served basis and as a reimbursement program. Members can request up to $200 per year for job-related coursework, training, conferences or seminars for which they paid out of pocket. Only direct educational expenses can be considered – the fund cannot be used for travel-related expenses.

To apply, members must submit the PDF application, which asks how the activity supports your professional goals, our new membership application (to update our records), confirmation of your registration for the educational activity, and an invoice or itemized receipt showing your payment. Applications are now available at

Within a week of being announced, 20 members had already applied for funds. Steven Farnell, an Information Technology professional at King County was the very first to apply. He was excited to take advantage of this new benefit:

“It took me years to pay off my student debt after college, and it convinced me that I don’t want to accumulate debt for an education. The idea that the Union could help fund education and advanced training for me is a great benefit.”

Given the nature of his work and the speed at which technology changes, Farnell knows he needs to stay on top of his skills. Coursework and trainings are a great way to do that.

Some of your union contracts (Portland and King County, for example) may contain articles that designate funds for job-related learning, too. Ask your Union Representative if there is such a provision in your contract. You may apply to use both funds if, for example, you find two separate training activities, or an activity costs more than the fund’s limit.

Stay tuned for more information on additional benefit programs, like our annual scholarship program for dependents of members, and a discount program (in development!) on things like insurance and amusement park tickets.

We are very proud to support our members’ professional goals in this new way. If you would like to apply for the PDF, please visit our member benefits page: If you have additional questions, please contact Communications Director Deidre Girard at 800-783-0017, ext. 130 or