Media Center

Jul 12

ATU Family Members Awarded Union Plus Scholarship

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Union Plus has awarded $150,000 in scholarships to 130 students representing 43 unions, including three children of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) members, in the 2011 Union Plus Scholarship Program.

  • Hanna Choi of Portland, OR, whose father Yoo-sik Choi is a member of ATU Local 757 and whose mother also is a union member, has been awarded a $2,000 scholarship.
  • Jean Choi of Portland, OR, who is also the daughter of Yoo-sik Choi of Local 757 and whose mother also is a union member, has been awarded a $2,000 scholarship.
  • Amber Simpson of Chicago, IL, whose father Tevell Simpson is a member of ATU Local 241, has been awarded a $500 scholarship.

“During a time when the labor movement is under attack, helping union members and their children achieve their educational goals is critical. This year’s scholarship recipients appreciate that their unions provide family-sustaining benefits, a voice in the workplace and a path to achieve the American Dream,” says Leslie Tolf, president of Union Privilege, the organization that provides an array of Union Plus benefits for union families, including the scholarship program.

Meet the 2011 ATU Honorees

Hanna Choi, now at Harvard pursuing a degree in musicology, is an exceptional student with wide-ranging interests. She is a graphic designer, a violinist, a drummer and a member of the Harvard Pan-African Dance and Music Ensemble. Last year, she traveled to Alabama to help rebuild a church that had been burned in a racial hate crime. Her goal is to work with young people, imparting to others the lessons of service, compassion and social justice that she learned when she was young. “Without the support of my parents and their unions, I would not be where I am now,” she says. Hanna’s mother, Soon Choi, is a member of AFT.   

Jean Choi is a high achiever like her sister Hanna, but she also is very much her own person. An accomplished cellist, she also enjoys piano and golf. A member of the National Honor Society, Jean cites the program’s four pillars of scholarship, leadership, service and character as being principles she emulates in her own life. As an example of leadership, Jean founded a quartet which has performed in churches and at fundraisers at no charge. With a father in ATU and a mother in AFT, Jean says, “There is no doubt that our parents’ unions played a big part in my growth thus far.”

Amber Simpson is a college student who plans to pursue graduate degrees in medicine and public health. “I am committed to addressing the health disparities existing in under-represented groups and under-developed communities in the U.S.,” she says. Her career goal is to investigate, research and treat ailments affecting vulnerable and diverse populations. Amber knows that one important public health issue is access to health insurance, and she is grateful for the strong union health benefits she grew up with. Unions’ strong advocacy for workers and quality care, she says, “continues to motivate me to join a union someday.”  

Learn More About the Union Plus Scholarship Program

Union Plus Scholarship awards are granted to students attending a two-year college, four-year college, graduate school or a recognized technical or trade school. Since starting the program in 1991, Union Plus has awarded $3 million in educational funding to more than 2,100 union members, spouses and dependent children. Recipients are selected based on academic ability, social awareness, financial need and appreciation of labor.

In addition to the Union Plus Scholarships, the following benefits help union families afford higher education:

  • Scholarships to help union members and leaders finish their degrees with an affordable, flexible and convenient online program at the National Labor College.

Discounts of 15 percent to 60 percent on college and graduate school test preparation courses from The Princeton Review. Includes classroom, online and private tutoring for the SAT®, ACT®, GMAT®, LSAT®, GRE® and 

  • MCAT® as well as college affordability and admissions online courses. Visit or call 1-888-243-7737.
  • New education rebates for Union Plus Credit Card holders. Cardholders now can qualify for rebates of $50, $125 or $250 for eligible education purchases—including college textbooks and tuition—with their Union Plus Credit Card.

Visit for applications and benefit eligibility.

Other programs include mortgage and finance benefits, safety net and insurance benefits and even money-saving offers on Goodyear tires, car rentals and AT&T wireless service. Union members can visit to find out which programs their unions offer.