A report back from the AFT-OR Winter school

The Oregon affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers held the annual Winter School in Seaside, Oregon last month. Our UA cohort of three members found that it was a great chance to take courses from experienced labor activists and make connections with colleagues from the GTFF, Portland State University, Oregon State University, Lane Community College, Portland Community College, and other institutions around the state.

David Woken, UA Organizing and Membership Committee Chair and UO Libraries faculty attended The courses “Moving Members to Action,” “Building an Organizing Plan,” and “Advanced Organizing: Breaking Barriers”. The courses covered everything from the one-on-one conversations that form the basis of our union, to big-picture strategizing that can bring members together to fix the problems we have in our workplaces. These lessons will be crucial as we build strength to face the challenges coming at us in the near future.

Jo Smith, NTTF-Instructional representative for UO’s College of Education, attended three different sessions: one on strategies for representing union members, one on identifying personality traits to help facilitate organizing, and a final one – the most informative and useful for Jo’s burgeoning thoughts about the next round of bargaining – that involved a role play of a bargaining session. The group split into three teams, one comprising the union members, another the “management” team and finally Jo’s bargaining team – with her as a novice bargaining committee chair – which convinced the hypothetical management to meet the union’s demands for a 4% raise across the board. Jo is excited to play a role in the next UO bargaining session!

The session that Frank Veltri, NTTF-Instructional representative for the Lundquist College of Business, reported having some excellent ideas and interaction was “Advanced Negotiations.” This session was attended by about 50 conference members. There was a questions and answers period on the big picture of collective bargaining, followed by a simulation on collective bargaining tactics. The collective bargaining breakout session provided crucial tools for the upcoming negotiation challenges.
Sound like something you might be interested in next time? United Academics provides members with funding to attend a variety of trainings in issues that affect faculty union members. If the experiences described by David, Jo, and Frank sound appealing to you, contact one of the union’s Executive Council members to find out more about upcoming trainings and conferences.