Two ALPA Family Members Awarded Union Plus Scholarships

Union Plus has awarded $150,000 in scholarships to 121 students representing 42 unions, including two children of Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) members:

  • John Atsalis of Exeter, NH, whose father is Capt. Konstantinos “Dino” Atsalis, a member of DAL Council 66, has been awarded a $500 scholarship.
  • Victoria Bledsoe of Eagle River, AK, whose father is F/O Craig Bledsoe, a member of FDX Council 79, has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship.

“During these challenging economic times, with college tuition rising and many working families struggling just to get by, we’re pleased to be helping some of the labor movement’s most promising students achieve their college dreams,” says Leslie Tolf, president of Union Privilege, the organization that provides an array of Union Plus benefit programs for union families, including the scholarship program.

This year more than 5,000 applications were received from students representing all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Canada.

Meet the 2010 ALPA Honorees

No one can accuse John Atsalis of coasting through college—or life. His ambitious dual major in international relations and quantitative economics at Tufts University combines his interests in government, politics, history, and economics. Three years of careful study toward completing his undergraduate work have only cemented this deep thinker’s belief that unions such as ALPA serve a vital role in advancing the interests of the workers and the nation. “Unions allow the collective action of labor to resolve grievances with management,” he says, “and to provide better wages and benefits for each member.”

Victoria Bledsoe is graduating third in her high school class, which indicates a tremendous commitment to academics. But despite all the studying, she’s somehow found time for other worthwhile pursuits. She led a drive to deliver 600 Christmas stockings to low-income children, volunteered with the local Boys and Girls Club, and has led efforts to provide food relief to needy families. In fact, Victoria has done so much volunteering that she’s been honored with the President’s Volunteer Service Award and a statewide faith-based service award. She says her work ethic and commitment to service came from her parents, who give time to both their unions and their community. Her father, Craig Bledsoe, is a member of the Air Line Pilots Association, and her mother, Ruth Ann Bledsoe, is a member of AFA-CWA Council 30.

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 1,900 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:

  • College Savings Grants to help families save for their young children’s futures;
  • Scholarships to help union members and leaders finish their degrees at the National Labor College with an affordable, flexible, and convenient online program; and
  • Scholarships to obtain a Green Workplace Representative Certificate from the National Labor College.

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, entertainment, and AT&T service. Union members can visit to find out which programs their unions offer.