Each spring, the TAA membership elects union officers to carry out the day to day business of the union. Any member is eligible to run for office and the term is one year. The elected officers of the TAA sit on the Executive Board along with the chairs of the TAA’s standing committees. The Executive Board meets monthly to discuss union business, make recommendations to be considered at membership meetings and take actions in areas or on issues that the membership has designated.
Co-Presidents: Chance McMahon and Robert Christl
Chance P. McMahon is a sixth year PhD student in Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies with a MA in Hebrew and Semitic Studies (also from UW-Madison). They are writing a dissertation on the appropriation of imperial rhetoric in ancient Jewish and Christian literature as a form of countering empire. They also chair of the Contract Enforcement Committee.
Robert Christl is a fourth year PhD student in the history department, writing a dissertation on the anarchist movement in Spain. Prior to serving as co-president, he was Vice President of the Contract Enforcement Committee and a TAA delegate to the South-Central Federation of Labor. He has also written for Union Labor News.
Treasurer: Tina Treviño-Murphy
Tina is a fourth year PhD student in Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies and worked with the TAA as an undergraduate ally until finally joining as a graduate student in 2015. Her research focuses on objects used for storytelling in social movements (i.e. props), and frankly so does a lot of her activism. As Treasurer, Tina is the unofficial Queen of Quickbooks and can subsist on TAA receipts and leftover coffee alone!
Recording Secretary: Greta Landis
Greta Landis is a second year PhD student in Environment & Resources with an MS in Agroecology. She researches grazing cattle for public grassland conservation, works as a program evaluator for UW-Extension, and has served in the TAA as a department steward in Agronomy. She is looking forward to putting her powers of report-writing with farmers to use as TAA recording secretary this year.
Membership Secretary: Griffin Bur
Griffin is a third-year PhD student in Sociology. His research concerns the process of economic change in development in developing countries. He has worked as a community organizer with Working North Carolina (an AFL-CIO affiliate) and was co-president of USAS-UNC. He joined TAA on his first day of grad school in 2016, served as a steward in the sociology department for the 2017-2018 year, and is happy to join the executive board for the upcoming year.
Our committees carry out the day-to-day work of the union. Getting involved with your union through the work of a committee is a way to ensure that our union works for us as grad student workers.
The chairs or VPs of each committee sit on the Executive Board with the elected officers of the union. The TAA has seven standing committees that plan and oversee various aspects of the life of the union.
What’s involved in being a committee member or committee chair?
- Committee members typically attend one meeting a month and work on projects designed by the committee. Time commitment: 2-6 hours/month.
- Committee chairs typically plan and chair one meeting per month, attend one Executive Board meeting per month, and work on projects designed by the committee. Time commitment: 5-10 hours/month.
- Vice presidents have a few more duties, in addition to those noted under “committee chairs” (occasionally attending staff meetings and assisting the co-presidents when necessary). Time commitment: 10-15 hours/month.
Contract Enforcement Committee
Chair: Youbin Kang and Nâlân Erbîl
The Contract Enforcement Committee (CEC) is devoted to making sure that all graduate assistants have access to the hard-won rights of our contract. If you have a problem in the workplace, contact this committee right away; CEC members will work with you to help find solutions. If a workplace issue of any kind should arise, email the CEC.
If you’re interested in helping your fellow workers, you may enjoy working on the CEC. There is an ongoing need for more member-volunteers for this very important work! Learn more about the CEC here.
Co-Chairs: Rob Timberlake
Stewards are the “eyes and ears” of the union – we bring graduate issues in our departments to the attention of the TAA.
Stewards are the “hands” of the union – we bring campaigns for a better workplace to the attention of the graduates in our departments.
Most importantly, stewards are the “heart” of the union – we inform and engage the graduates in our departments. Rarely does a single graduate worker or department experience an issue in isolation. The more graduates that are active with the TAA, the more power we have to make the university we want.
Stewards unite at Stewards’ Council (StewCo) meetings, where we gather with graduates from departments across the university. At StewCo we share what we have in common and unite to work for the university we want. StewCo meetings occur every couple of weeks and are a great place to start for new members who want to learn more about the the TAA.
Many departments have more than one active steward, but some departments don’t have any. If you’re not sure who your departmental steward is, contact us! Learn more about StewCo here.
Political Education (PEC)
Co-Chairs: Sara Trongone and Wendy Li
The Political Education Committee serves to inform members about electoral and legislative issues of local, state and national importance. Political Education sends out candidate surveys at election time to help membership decide on endorsements. The committee has also coordinated major lobbying and letter-writing campaigns in support of our contract battles. If local and state politics are your thing, becoming active in the Political Education Committee is a great way to help your union! Learn more about PEC here.
Chair: Adria Brooks
The Bargaining Team (B-Team) represents the TAA during contract negotiations with UW administration. Although we no longer have contract bargaining rights under Act 10, we continue to use our B-Team structure to elect representatives to the Graduate Assistants Policies and Procedures committee or similar groups which craft graduate policies with administration. The B-Team consists of up to nine TAA members elected by general membership. All TAA members are invited to participate in B-Team meetings.
Chair: Steven Wang
The Publicity Committee is responsible for helping to disseminate information to members via occasional newsletters and the TAA website. Committee members also keep the union’s issues in the press by writing and distributing press releases, photographing TAA public events, and coordinating with other committees for event publicity. This is very important “behind the scenes” work. If you’d rather write about a rally than speak at one, the publicity committee needs you!
Please contact us if you would like to help revive any of these committees! The Political Education Committee has been taking on much of the work of the committees listed below as we build capacity, but we would love to support members if they are interested in these specific tasks:
The Diversity committee strives to promote a climate that is inclusive and welcoming to all members of the union, university and Madison communities. Past projects have included working to increase options for meaningful diversity training, making childcare available for every TAA General Membership Meeting, working to oppose the statewide ban on civil unions and same sex marriages, and holding an annual Eagle Heights Halloween Party. New members are encouraged to develop new projects as needs and issues develop on campus.
The Education Committee is dedicated to all issues related to undergraduate instruction. In the past, this committee has conducted surveys of TA teaching methods, hosted brown-bag discussions on pedagogy, reviewed class-sizes in various departments in conjunction with the contract enforcement committee.
The Labor Solidarity Committee consists of members who are interested in what goes on in other unions and in the broader labor movement. The TAA can send up to 10 delegates to the South Central Federation of Labor (SCFL) – so the more committee members, the better! SCFL delegates represent the TAA one meeting a month (7pm on the third Monday of each month). Other committee tasks include keeping abreast of labor issues both regionally and nationally in order to inform and mobilize TAA members (e.g., email petitions, donations, letter-writing campaigns, marching on picket lines).