The Representatives Assembly: A Year in Review
With new leadership at the helm of the UConn-AAUP, there has been a consistent effort to work towards a more member-driven union often called the organizing model. This model encourages members to be active in their Chapter, exercise their voice in Chapter operations, and help shape their union. An example of this shift has been the formation of the Representatives Assembly who has served in a vital role in informing and educating their unit colleagues while providing input and direction to Chapter leadership during these historic contract negotiations.
In the last year, the Assembly members have been relaying information to their colleagues on terms discussed in negotiations, seeking feedback on those terms from their fellow faculty members and bringing them to the leadership. Overall, we are seeing members take charge and responsibility for the work of the Chapter. Members of the Assembly have encouraged their colleagues to attend negotiation sessions as observers per the negotiated ground rules, a unique opportunity in a unionized setting. The Assembly has elected a faculty Speaker and Vice Speaker to run the Assembly in keeping with the spirit of a member-driven union. The Speaker and Vice Speaker have seats on the elected UConn-AAUP Executive Committee and express the concerns of the representative body. The Assembly has been instrumental in mobilizing faculty to attend our Fall Lecture Series or our rallies on Academic Freedom and the definition of “the University”. These actions were attended by faculty, staff, and students who cared about the working conditions of faculty. As a result of this participation and these actions, the UConn-AAUP has been able to succeed on many issues at the negotiation table including, Academic Freedom, Shared Governance, Department Head Selection, Student Evaluations of Teaching, and maintaining the Tenure Appeal process in the contract.
Additionally the Assembly has been helpful in encouraging all faculty to become active members of the Chapter and joining the National AAUP. As a result of these efforts from staff and representatives, membership has risen by 6%.
I urge you to ask how you can enhance your involvement; by becoming a representative on the Assembly if your department does not have one; by joining the National AAUP; or by continuing to be informed what is happening across the University and higher education as a whole.
Remember this is not the union but your union. Let’s keep moving forward together.
To inquire further about the Representatives Assembly, please email Chris Henderson, UConn-AAUP Internal Organizer
Representatives Assembly Training/Meeting 4-17-15
Representatives Assembly Luncheon/Training Presentation 2-20-15
Representatives Assembly Manual-February 2015 Edition