January 29, 2023

MC-AAUP Fall National Organizing Summit

Dear Colleagues,

Since 1980 the Montgomery College AAUP Chapter has been the ONLY organized labor group to represent full-time faculty at a Maryland institution in higher education. In fact, because of newly passed legislation in Annapolis last year, it is just this year that other community colleges in Maryland can now start to consider whether they want to have organized labor groups for their respective employee groups at their institution. This is still NOT the case for 4-year colleges and universities.

But even across the country, there are not as many organized Chapters with collective bargaining rights as you might think. Most Chapters are “advocacy groups” without a “contract” that would guide process and policy with legal leverage. As a matter of fact, it was at the National AAUP Conference this past summer that we discovered just how unique and fortunate we are to have an organized union with these rights. It was here that we took note of how many more colleges and universities want to get better organized, including large 4-year institutions like UMD – College Park. When I shared even just a little about our history and role here at MC, many representatives at various institutions wanted to know more and more about all that we do on behalf of our members and the “how.”

So a collaboration idea that we had, which started out as an intention to help advise and coordinate with other in-state institutions, blossomed into a national effort to connect online with Chapters across the country. Afterall there is strength in numbers and we all share common interests in higher education that connect us. In addition, the recent new affiliation between AAUP and AFT strengthens respective members and affords us new opportunities for growth.

It is for these reasons that we are proud to host a National Labor Organizing Summit this Friday (ONLINE) starting with an informal meet and greet at 8:45 AM. We have invited 2-year and 4-year state institutions and dozens of others from around the country to join us as we explore best practices in labor relations, organizing, and collective bargaining. You are welcome to join us as we discuss our role here at Montgomery College and share useful information to those considering how best to organize at their respective institutions. The agenda is attached here so you can see that we will have two panel discussions where you might find it useful to actively participate. We not only want to share our viewpoint as your Executive Committee, but that of our members who rely on our work as your representatives. This perspective will be quite useful to us and those who are hoping to organize.

Please note that some faculty at many institutions are divided on whether or not they even WANT to organize. They are fearful of retribution, an adversarial relationship with Management, and / or being part of a “trouble making group.” So, our goal is to provide accurate and helpful information for participants so that they can make informed decisions that guide them moving forward. We hope that they can see that having union representation does not mean there is constant disagreement and adversarial relationships, but instead should be constructive / collaborative with the end goal of making the institution better.

I hope you will consider joining us and representatives from AAUP and AFT for at least part of the day as it suits your schedule. We know you may have insights that could be particularly helpful and urge you to jump into the conversation as you see appropriate. We all have much to share with these groups, so thanks in advance for considering to participate/ attend.

AAUP / MC /AFT/ Fall Organizing Summit – 11/4 – ZOOM

On behalf of The Chapter,

Tito

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