FAQ on Rutgers AAUP-AFT Department Reps
What does a Department Rep do?
- convey information to union officers and staff about what’s happening in a department; update colleagues about union initiatives/issues at dept. meetings, when possible
- explain union initiatives to colleagues;
- encourage colleagues to participate in activity when needed; and
- introduce the union to new faculty and recruit them to join.
Why do we need Department Reps?
As we saw in the 2018-19 contract campaign for FT faculty and graduate workers, having reps in each department enables us to identify key issues of concern and mobilize our members to fight and win significant financial, job security and equity gains. Without reps on all campuses in as many departments as possible and representing members at all ranks, we would not have been able to build for a credible strike threat that led to our victorious contract.
What role do Reps play in membership recruitment and retention?
- get training from union staff and colleagues about how to engage in organizing conversations with colleagues
- speak face-to-face with new and non-member colleagues about the benefits of union membership and ask them to join.
- help create a collective union culture where members are able to resolve—and avoid—workplace conflicts more easily and address inequities swiftly.
How can Reps help develop a healthy department union culture?
Developing a collective approach to problems where colleagues stand in solidarity with each other is the essence of a union culture. Reps can work with union staff to train our members, both new and experienced, on the internal governance structures of the union, what our union does and how, what dues monies are used for, what the legislative goals of the union are and any other questions that are commonly asked about our union.
Can Department Reps get training?
Yes. Our union staff will work alongside department reps to train them how to recruit faculty to the union and have effective organizing conversations with colleagues. Department Rep bulletins and periodic rep meetings with staff help reps prioritize and generalize from each other’s experiences.
For more information about becoming a department rep, please contact our Senior Organizer Sherry Wolf at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the union at 732-964-1018.