We were elected as delegates to represent our union at the 37th UAW Constitutional Convention, which we attended in Detroit, MI from June 11-14. The convention is where our national union (which includes 430,000 total members, and over 75,000 academic workers) makes decisions and elects leaders.
It was a busy week! Anke served on the Constitution Committee, which brought two major amendments before the delegates. The first proposed reducing the members dues rate by approximately 20% to pre-2014 levels. This dues reduction will go into effect when our national UAW Strike and Defense Fund will reach a certain level, in mid 2020. The second amendment strengthened the UAW’s commitment to social justice and equality by adding language about gender identity and gender expression. Both of these measures were overwhelmingly approved by the 900+ delegates.
Delegates also debated and passed several resolutions–on issues ranging from supporting universal health care and opposing workplace discrimination, to organizing more workers into unions and building a fair economy. Neal spoke passionately for a resolution on immigration, informing delegates from other locals about the impact of the Trump Administration’s travel ban on 5810 members and our local’s work in contributing to an amicus brief on this issue delivered to the Supreme Court last year. We also met delegates from other UAW academic unions — at University of Washington, UConn, NYU, New School, Columbia, UMass, Harvard, Boston College, and more — to strategize about working together to improve working conditions on university campuses.
Finally, the convention delegates also elected Gary Jones as the new UAW President, and well as other members of the UAW International Executive Board. Gary knows our Postdoc Union well as he helped Postdocs bargain our first contract with UC in 2009-10. Our delegates met with Gary to congratulate him and let him know we look forward to continuing to organizing more workers in higher ed — like UC Academic Researchers. While we were in Detroit we also met people from all over the country and all walks of life who were thrilled that we were standing with them in the labor movement.
Charisse Winston, UC San Diego
Kevin Brown, UC Santa Barbara
Lydia Majure, UC Berkeley
Neal Sweeney, UC Santa Cruz
Anke Schennink, UC Davis