Support Your Local Union

AAUP union chapters are grassroots, democratic organizations—member-run, member-driven. On the national level, the AAUP makes that support explicit in policy statements and in action.

Unlike many unions, the AAUP encourages a dues structure that allows its chapters to keep a significant percentage of dues at the chapter level. Many of our chapters have made decisions to devote resources to release time for officers so that it is members running the union on a day- to-day basis. Many additionally use their resources to hire local staff.

It’s important that our union members understand our difference. Resources and power are kept with the chapter. In this way, the AAUP affirms our union members’ capacity for leadership, professionalism, and self-governance.

Support for your local union could not, within the AAUP framework, be more important.

If you are a member of a unionized AAUP chapter, here are some possible ways to participate in and strengthen your local union:

  • Meet your elected officers.
  • Participate in the candidate nomination and election process.
  • Talk regularly with your department’s union representative or—if there is no one—volunteer to become that “rep.”
  • Attend and give active feedback in chapter meetings.
  • Participate in chapter events and actions and bring others with you.
  • Make union events fun—find ways to incorporate music, dance, art, food, etc.
  • Join and bring new energy to a union committee.
  • Attend trainings offered through your chapter; at regional events; at the Summer Institute.
  • Volunteer to facilitate a training for your chapter membership.
  • Volunteer to get out the word around contract negotiations.
  • Figure out what the process is for becoming involved in the bargaining process—does your chapter have a bargaining caucus? is there a contract action team?
  • Participate in bringing new social media to your chapter.
  • Review your chapter website and consider how to add new content.

We have a strong tradition of “making it work” at the local level. Sometimes chapters may hit some rough spots. When things aren’t working, connect with other AAUP union chapters and your state conference to move forward. 

And remember that your chapter can always work with the national AAUP to identify resources and training in a variety of areas.