Rejecting Management’s Vision of Shared Pain
Our union has to reject management’s ideology of sharing the pain. We can only lift up ourselves and other workers by insisting on the rights, benefits, and living wages that we need to serve our students and live healthy rewarding lives.
A more democratic union is a stronger union
The union should above all empower all workers, starting with our members to have power in their lives at work, outside of work, and within the union. A special effort needs to be made to empower readers and tutors in our union. Decision-making in our union needs to be as participatory as possible, and from the bottom up.
Campus units should have autonomy regarding campus matters. Every campus unit’s proposals and resolutions should be shared with the members of other units through the elected representatives, in order to have the maximum discussion and participation of members, before a decision is made at one of the statewide bodies of the union. The joint council and the executive board can send recommendations and proposals to be discussed and ratified at the monthly membership meetings of each unit. Details of actions, participation in campaigns etc, should be flexible for campus units to decide. In cases of urgent matters, all decisions of the executive board and the joint council should be put forth for subsequent approval in membership meetings. For important matters that affect greatly all members, decisions should be made in a regular or special statewide membership meeting, which is the highest body of our union.
Transparency and information dissemination at all levels of the union
Meetings of the executive board, the joint council and all other bodies of the union should be announced on the union’s website and open to all members. Contact information for all Joint Council members should be provided on the website. All meetings with UC representatives other than grievance meetings, such as contract negotiation meetings, should be announced on the union’s website and open to all members and allied students, workers, and community members. Union financial records should be made accessible available to all members. The union should also have a blog and newsletter to keep people informed.
Accountable Elected Representatives
Elected union officials are there to support, coordinate and help carry out the decisions of the members, not to make executive decisions for the members without them. The pattern for our union’s executive officers has been to give up their academic careers to become full-time staff on track for careers with the International Union. This leads to an executive board out of touch with the membership.
Therefore, elected representatives who accept paid positions with the union should not be paid more than the average TA/GSI salary. Further, we will encourage elected representatives to resign their positions after serving one year so that a vacancy election can be held, creating the opportunity for all members, including MA students to run for leadership.
A Member-Run Union
We believe members and stewards on each campus should be able to run their campus units and that members are the best organizers. We recognize that developing a structure for local staff which keeps decision-making and organizing in the hands of the members is both important and difficult. The AWDU slate would explore and develop different models of staff structure and work with members to find the best possible practices.
Solidarity makes us strong
As academic student employees, our needs and our interests are common with all other workers and with our students. The gains of one group of workers sets a precedent for the possible gains of other workers. We need a union that actively supports demands, actions and members of other unions and coordinates with them for common issues in the workplace. We have the greatest strength to protect workers, our students, and ourselves when all UC unions bargain together with UC at one table. The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions offers one model for consideration.
Fighting Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, and All Forms of Oppression
Our Civil and Human Rights Committee and Women’s Committee have been nonexistent for years. We will restore these and other dormant committees. We will also and add or reorganize committees to explicitly fight racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of oppression.
Endorsements and Contributions
Endorsements should be voted on at meetings of members on all campuses represented or affected by the candidate, legislation, or ballot initiative in question. Contributions — including from VCAP — should only be supported for candidates or causes endorsed at a membership meeting.
A union is not just about politics
The union should provide a vibrant space for thought, social and cultural life, and art. We should organize social and cultural activities through the union to connect with each other and make union offices and resources available for self organized activities by members and community members alike.