Sept. 24, 2017

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UUPers train to organize, engage colleagues

uupdate 9-24-17

Albany Chapter member Kimberly Warren wanted to find out more about her union, so she signed up for “Education Autumn,” a UUP/NYSUT Member Organizing Institute training program designed to empower members to engage their colleagues in conversations about UUP.

“There are a lot of things I don’t know about the union,” said Warren, above, fourth from left, who works as a human resources professional in facilities management at UAlbany. “And the more I know, the better I can assist the employees on my campus. It’s important for people to know their rights.”

Warren joined nearly a dozen other UUP members and officers Sept. 23-24 for a series of workshops that ranged from member engagement and communications skills, to leadership and roleplaying, to contingent-specific breakouts sessions and how to talk with members. The weekend culminated with door-to-door canvassing of UUP households.

The newly trained organizers braved the 90-degree temperature to meet with their colleagues and listen to their stories. Going door-to-door were Karen Hildebrand, Plattsburgh; Faheem Haider, New Paltz; Douglas Hemphill, Oswego; Charlene Deno, Canton; David Kistler, Potsdam; Merci Decker, New Paltz; Tyshena Hunter, Albany; Lin Xia Jiang, Buffalo State; Membership Development Officer Tom Hoey; VP for Academics Jamie Dangler; and Warren. UUP Secretary-Treasurer Jeri O’Bryan-Losee participated in the training.

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Hoey, above, left, and Jiang knocked on the door of Albany Chapter member Daphne Jorgensen, an assistant dean in UAlbany’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, who welcomed the organizers into her home. They spoke about the value of being a union member, and listened as Jorgensen discussed issues that affect her professional work.

After Jiang spoke about the pitfalls of a state constitutional convention, Jorgensen agreed to put a “Vote No! to Con Con” sign on her lawn; Jiang helped her put it in the ground.

“We’re trying to grow our network of union organizers, to promote our members’ rights and to engage all of our members in the work of our union,” said Hoey, who served as UUP’s point person for the Education Autumn campaign. “This training helps our organizers understand their role in strengthening UUP.”

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