For those who have attended one of our recent union workshops, you are familiar with the three aspects of how unions advance the cause of their members: collective bargaining, political action, and organizing.
For those who haven’t had a chance to be at one of our workshops or learn much about unions or how the TAA works (and if you haven’t, stay tuned because we’ll have future workshops), succinctly put, unions advance the interests of their members by an overlapping combination of these three aspects. Through collective bargaining, we negotiate a contract that codifies our rights and privileges, at various times making big and incremental gains. Through political action, we work to affect the authoritative decisions of the structures of public institutions where those decisions affect our interests. As a special note here, as a union of public employees, the democratic political process affects us greatly. We also build power through organizing, the actions of strategically connecting together ideas, resources, and people.
Through our union, we can make gains for ourselves as grad student workers, taking on the issues that affect us – and we do this through these three aspects. One of the best examples of how we can do this uniting together all three while mobilizing and activating all corners of our union is through a “contract campaign.”
A contract campaign works toward achieving goals and priorities by activating and mobilizing members, culminating in action on the issues we deem most important to us. The concrete end of working through the means of the three aspects of unionism is a contract. With the 2009-2011 contract negotiations upon us, the imperative of running a contract campaign is staring us square in the face.
To put together a strong, effective contract campaign, we’re kicking off the planning and execution of such a campaign with an education and strategy session next Monday. At the session, we’ll go through three quick educational components on a) our current contract b) how our collective bargaining process works and can work and c) narratives of past struggles and victories and how this might translate to a 2009-2011 contract campaign.
We need you there to help our union build a strong contract campaign. The session will take place on Monday evening at the Memorial Union (TITU). We’ll have more details as we figure things out – but we’ll definitely have free food and beverage for all. So if you have questions or want to RSVP (and we do ask that you RSVP), please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you then!