Frequently Asked Questions
What is AAUP?
AAUP is the American Association of University Professors, which for more than a century has been the leading professional organization for academia and the leading advocate for academic freedom and tenure. AAUP’s mission is “to advance academic freedom and shared governance; to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education; to promote the economic security of faculty, academic professionals, graduate students, post‐doctoral fellows, and all those engaged in teaching and research in higher education; to help the higher education community organize to make our goals a reality; and to ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good.”
What is collective bargaining?
Collective bargaining is a process where employees work together to negotiate a contract (a collective bargaining agreement, or CBA) with the employer. CBAs typically cover such items as compensation packages, working conditions, promotion, and disciplinary procedures. Through collective bargaining, employees gain leverage in negotiations and reduce the power- and information-disadvantage employees experience in negotiating with large employers.
Why am I represented by UConn-AAUP?
In 1975, Connecticut adopted a law giving state employees the right to bargain collectively through representatives of their choosing. In an election held one year later, UConn faculty members voted in overwhelming numbers to form a union with the local AAUP chapter as their representative.
Whether you are represented by UConn-AAUP depends on your title. Article I of the CBA between UConn-AAUP and the University sets forth some 60 titles as members of the bargaining unit. This includes all teaching, research, and coaching professionals at Storrs, the regional campuses of Hartford, Stamford, Waterbury, and Avery Point, and extension centers. (UConn Health faculty are represented by our sister organization, UCHC-AAUP; non-academic staff are represented by UCPEA.)
Why do faculty members need a union?
- Faculty unions are singularly effective at protecting academic freedom, shared governance, and due process. They give faculty members more power to negotiate the terms of their employment, and they provide us with a professionally run organization to enforce those terms and protect us from arbitrary and capricious treatment.
- Faculty unions give us better salaries. Within the first two years of forming a union, UConn faculty salaries rose almost 15%. In the years since, our raises have averaged about 3% per year, including 5.5% in 2019-20 and 1920-21. Compare this to the situation at the University of Wisconsin, where the faculty just received their first raises in a decade: a mere 2%.
- Faculty unions ensure that procedures for merit, promotion, and discipline are fair, consistent, and transparent.
- Faculty unions make the university a better place to work, which improves faculty morale, retention, and recruitment.
What does UConn-AAUP do for us faculty members?
- UConn-AAUP serves as our bargaining agent, representing us in the process of collective bargaining. Our current contract includes some 70 pages of procedures, which the administration negotiated in good faith with UConn-AAUP and now must abide by.
- UConn-AAUP can represent us in grievances against the university or in disciplinary procedures, to make sure that our rights are respected.
- Through collective bargaining, UConn-AAUP has brought numerous tangible benefits to the UConn faculty: better salaries and working conditions, job security in the face of state budget cuts, more money for travel and professional development, and a fund to help defray the costs of childcare for members with young children.
- UConn-AAUP works with the University Senate, the administration, and Board of Trustees to protect shared governance. Shared governance is the idea that university administration shares responsibility for running the organization with the faculty. Faculty members are not simply employees; we are the relevant experts and must be involved in personnel decisions, budget choices, policy matters, and so on.
- UConn-AAUP also works with our colleagues in administration to advance UConn, to promote its unique role as Connecticut’s flagship public university, and to protect state funding for higher education.
How does the union work?
Unions are democratic (with a small ‘d’) organizations, run by elected representatives
- UConn-AAUP is led by four elected officers (President, Executive Vice President, Vice President for Membership Development/Organizing and Treasurer) and an elected executive committee. Together, they oversee the union’s operations and manages its finances. Elections are held once per year during spring semester.
- Under the chapter constitution, the Executive Committee has the power to hire an executive director, who is charged with carrying out the mission and implementing policies adopted by the executive committee.
- Each academic department or other unit also has one or more representatives, who can connect department members to union resources and communicate their wants and needs to the Executive Committee and professional staff.
- The department representatives together form the Representatives Assembly, which elects a speaker and vice-speaker, who then have seats on the Executive Committee.
- The Executive Committee appoints a contract committee to guide the collective bargaining process, a grievance committee to oversee grievance procedures, and other committees as necessary.
Why I should join UConn-AAUP?
We are a member-led, member-supported organization. The more members the organization has, the greater our power in collective bargaining and the better the organization can represent us all. As colleagues, we count on each other to do our fair share, and joining AAUP is no exception.
There are many other reasons to join UConn-AAUP:
- As faculty members, we support the values AAUP stands for: academic freedom, shared governance, due process, professional excellence, and fundamental fairness.
- Membership also gives us a direct voice in the running of UConn-AAUP. It provides voting rights in our elections and the right to run for an officer position or a seat on the Executive Committee. Members may also serve on the contract committee or participate in negotiations.
- Members of UConn-AAUP also receive membership in the national AAUP, which is the leading professional organization for academia. As national AAUP members, we receive subscription access Academe (AAUP’s bimonthly magazine), discounted subscription rates to the Chronicle of Higher Education, discounts on professional liability insurance, and other tangible benefits.
What are membership dues?
Membership dues provide the union with the resources to negotiate wages and benefits, enforce the terms and conditions of employment found in the collective bargaining agreement, and advocate on behalf of the members for better educational policy and legislation.
How do I become a member?
There are many ways to become a member, including visiting the UConn-AAUP office and meeting with the staff, visiting the website and submitting an electronic form, or downloading the form and dropping it off at the office or through postal mailing. By becoming a member, you are giving authorization to deduct dues from your paycheck.
Where can I find a copy of the UConn-AAUP collective bargaining agreement?
An electronic version is available at www.uconnaaup.org, copies are available at the UConn-AAUP office, 1875 Storrs Rd., Storrs, CT, or by email one of the office staff for a copy.