All academic student employees benefit from the contract our union wins through collective bargaining, but not everyone is a member. Joining the union as a dues-paying member is a great way to support our work, both by contributing to our funds for organizing, and by contributing to our membership numbers, which prove to be very significant when we go to the bargaining table.
Membership is for life, but you only have to pay dues when you are working within the Unit (as an Academic Student Employee). So you get all the benefits even as you move between teaching, research, and fellowship. (Although you can join our campaign to give GSRs Unionization rights).
To join, you pay a one-time Initiation Fee (currently $10). All ASEs pay a percentage of their wages in Fair Share Fees (1.07% as of Nov. 1, 2014, or about $25/month for a 50% position), but for approximately $7 more a month (1.44% as of Nov. 1, 2014) you can be a member (and part of a strong student-worker movement).
You can join by downloading a membership card, filling it out, and returning it to one of the Berkeley Head Stewards, dropping it off at the union’s office, or bringing it to a monthly membership meeting. Cards are available in pdf here: http://www.uaw2865.org/membership/join/