Higher Education Employees

Photo Credit: By MTSUGoRaidersGo (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo Credit: By MTSUGoRaidersGo (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Founded by state employees in 1974, The Tennessee State Employees Association was established to ensure protection, advocacy, and representation for employees of the State of Tennessee.

Our association actively lobbies the state legislature on behalf of all state and higher education employees in TN. TSEA also has a permanent seat on the state insurance committee filled by a representative who speaks on behalf of state and higher education employees.

TSEA’s recent efforts on outsourcing include passage of legislation which requires state government agencies and departments to provide notice to legislators of proposed contracts that will outsource facilities management services within such legislators’ districts. In the future, thanks to this legislation, your local legislators will be able to get involved before an administration makes any final decisions on outsourcing.

We also worked closely with legislators in 2017 on our Public Contract Accountability bill HB944/SB1047, which led to a 2017 summer study hearing on outsourcing. Our bill seeks to expand legislative input into state contracts, increase oversight of state contracts and broaden transparency. Our goal is to work toward passage of this legislation in 2018.

TSEA also offers Advantage Benefit Programs which include discounts for members on computer purchases, a variety of insurance programs, theme park tickets and more.

TSEA Achievements Include:

  • Support standard across the board pay increases to individual higher education campuses for all employees.
  • Mandating Longevity for higher education employees (TCA 8-23-206)
  • Establishing the 401(K) match and requiring all subsequent increases in the match to go to all higher education employees (TCA 8-25-301)
  • Legislated and established grievance procedures across the UT and TBR system for support staff (TCA 49-8-117)
  • Required all higher education employees be included in the law providing for health insurance to the employee and family (TCA 8-27-201)
  • Requires the state to pay 80% of premiums with the employee paying 20%.
  • Extended post retirement insurance to all higher education employees with at least 10 years of service (TCA 8-27-205)
  • Mandated retired higher education employees have access to the medicare supplement provided by the state (TCA 8-27-205)
  • Secured three (3) days paid bereavement leave in the event of death of employees’ spouse, children, stepchildren, parents, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, stepparents, foster parents, or parents-in-law (TCA 8-50-113)
  • Established a sick leave bank for institutions within the state university and community college system of Tennessee, and any of the branches of the University of Tennessee for both faculty and non-faculty employees (TCA 8-50-925, 8-50-926)
  • Required Higher Education employees receive a minimum of 90 days notice at TBR institutions prior to reduction-in-force
  • Fought to keep in place Retiree Health Insurance for employees hired prior to July 1, 2015

Membership makes these changes possible.
Help us continue to protect your benefits and salary.

We Have Members on a Campus Near You!

State Community Colleges

  • Chattanooga State CC
  • Cleveland State
  • Columbia State CC
  • Dyersburg State CC
  • Jackson State CC
  • Motlow State CC
  • Nashville State CC
  • Northeast State CC
  • Pellissippi State CC
  • Roane State CC
  • SWTCC Macon
  • SWTCC Union
  • Volunteer State CC
  • Walters State CC

TN Applied Technology Colleges

  • TCAT Elizabethton
  • TCAT Knoxville
  • TCAT Memphis

State Universities

  • Austin Peay
  • *ETSU
  • MTSU
  • Tennessee State
  • Tennessee Tech
  • UT — Knoxville
  • UT — Martin
  • *University of Memphis

*TSEA Higher Education Chapters


As you can see, TSEA works hard on realistic and effective solutions that pass the legislature and help higher education employees. And with you as a member, we can do even more!

Come be a part of one of the largest independent state employee associations in America! TSEA was founded many years ago by state employees who had a vision of a better future for state workers. Remember, we are not, nor have ever been, subject to control by an organization whose members do not pay taxes in Tennessee or whose interests do not match those of Tennessee State government – which means your issues are our issues. #WeAreYou


Some Important Definitions

Higher Education Membership: Any eligible higher education state employee of the State of Tennessee; such member to be considered a “regular” member

Higher Education Participation: Higher education state employee members shall be eligible to participate in association activities and shall have the same rights and privileges as regular members as applicable to their employment.

Higher Education & Chapter Membership: Any higher education state employee member may choose chapter membership in the county of residence or applicable campus where he/she works.

Higher Education Association Dues: Association dues for higher education state employee members shall be the same per month as all other regular members.

Higher Education Committee (11 members): This committee consists of members from the State Board and the general membership. The responsibility of this committee is to identify and address issues unique to higher education and focus on strategies to grow membership.

The Real Meaning of Higher Education Membership

We often receive calls from active higher education state employees who wonder why they should join TSEA membership. The answer is very simple.

How could you consider not joining the association that will represent you and your family for your entire state career?

Whenever and wherever we have been faced with legislative or contractual matters that would adversely affect our members, this association has responded. TSEA is leading the fight to protect your state employment benefits. For only pennies a day, TSEA works tirelessly to make sure you work with dignity and respect.

To join TSEA, click here. Once you click on that link, you are taken to a secure online membership application. You can also share the link to the application with any coworkers who aren’t TSEA members, and they can sign up instantly online!

Opportunities to Participate

TSEA also offers opportunities for formal and informal interactions with other higher education state employees such as local chapter meetings and annual membership events like Lobby Day, Representative Assembly and Leadership University.

Reaching Out to Others

To be an effective voice for you we need to continue to grow! What can you do?

Join TSEA today and encourage your coworkers to do the same.

Use resources available through your TSEA membership to stay informed about the issues that impact you and your job.

Remember, TSEA was founded and is governed completely by state employees. Join TSEA today!

To receive an application for membership contact the TSEA office at 1-800-251-8732.