What is UFAS?
Context for UFAS
What can our union do?
Many people associate union membership with a “service union” model: I have a problem at work, I go to my steward or my union representative, they take it up with higher-ups in the union who challenge management on my behalf, and I go about my business. This model can be effective in a large union with collective bargaining, a significant number of staff members, and a receptive (whether by choice or necessity) management.
In UFAS, where our now over 200 members represent a small fraction of our bargaining unit and we can’t bargain for contracts or wages, we have to work differently: we organize. The “organizing union” model works by engaging as many workers as possible, building power by educating workers about the rights we have and advocating for the rights we need. Standing together, we are speaking up to management and refusing to accept working conditions that we’re often told are “necessary” or “inevitable” due to political climate or budget cuts.
We’ve achieved several wins this way, including better pay for Faculty Assistants, assisting in putting a stop to the catastrophic 2020 UW System President search, and most recently by creating transparency around job titles and salaries in TTC. At the same time, we’re a long way from the numbers and engagement we would need to be ready to demand change by withholding our labor (yes, that’s a strike). Despite that setback, we’ve still managed to accomplish so much.
What can members do?
How does UFAS work?
Leadership: The UFAS Steering Committee is the main executive body within UFAS, and the Steering Committee is composed of officers (Presidents, Vice Presidents, Secretaries, and Treasurers) and chairs of the various committees. All Steering Committee members serve one-year terms starting June 1 of each year with elections held near the end of the spring semester, typically in April. Any member in good standing can run for any position. Committee chairs can also be appointed by the Steering Committee mid-term, but later must be confirmed by general membership. Any chair position may be a co-chair position if desired. Committees may also shift, so if there is a committee you’d like to run that isn’t currently active, we can help make it happen!
Katherine Charek Briggs, Co-President
Michael Childers, Chair, Grievance Committee
Jess Draws & Dan Fitch, Co-Chairs, Equity and Diversity Committee
Hannah Eldridge, Treasurer
Jason Lee, Co-President
Emily Reynolds, Secretary
Andrew Turner, Chair, Comms Committee
Vacant, Chair, Organizing Committee
Vacant, Chair, Compensation & Benefits Committee
(Some) UFAS History & Mission
UFAS was established August 5, 1930, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus by faculty who felt that the integrity and quality of undergraduate and graduate education and the research which is essential to that education, were seriously jeopardized by faculty inaction regarding University affairs, public and legislative affairs, the conditions under which students live and work, faculty compensation, and other conditions under which faculty work and teach.
UFAS aims to defend and increase the role and effectiveness of faculty and academic staff in shaping University policy and practices. We hope to work through solidarity organizing- in the absence of collective bargaining- focusing on our moral responsibility to work together to address racism, sexism, classism, and all forms of historical and present systematic oppression in the hiring, compensation, promotion, and working conditions of workers. We also aim to devise, propose, and achieve implementation of the solution of these problems while protecting academic, civil, and personal freedoms of all persons in the University and society.