June 13, 2019
UUP President Fred Kowal sent a friendly but firm message to more than 75 union leaders at a UUP three-day leadership workshop in June: being a good union isn’t good enough.
“The dues that we collect from our members, those are people who are giving us their money by choice,” said Kowal in the seminar’s opening address at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool. “We have to earn it and we have to earn their trust. “The relationships are what matter, so when times get difficult, people will stay with us.”
More than 80 chapter presidents and leaders from campuses statewide attended the June 13-15 seminar, which included breakout sessions with members from university and medical centers, and comprehensive and technology campuses. Chapter presidents and vice presidents met in separate meetings and used the time to discuss details of UUP’s 2016-22 contract with the state, as well as job-specific issues for academics and professionals.
Above, Stony Brook Chapter member Andrew Solar-Greco makes a point during one of the workshop's seminars.
The meeting also provided the opportunity for leaders to air concerns and talk about campus-related issues with Kowal and the union’s statewide officers, VP for Academics Jamie Dangler, VP for Professionals Tom Tucker, Secretary-Treasurer Jeri O’Bryan-Losee and Membership Development Officer Tom Hoey.
Kowal, above, welcomed a number of new chapter presidents and told them that they were the first class of leaders to take office “post-Janus,” referring to the landmark 2018 case that overturned the rights of unions to charge fair share fees to bargaining unit members who weren’t in the union.
“This is a long, long fight,” Kowal said. “But we’re in it for the long haul. What matters to me is the depth of commitment that the union matters.
“It’s a challenging time and the only way to success is with teamwork,” he said.
UUP, along with other unions across the country, have seen their membership grow since the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 27 decision. Nearly 90 percent of the UUP bargaining unit are union members; three members who quit the union have rejoined.
Members took part in a series of organizing workshops on June 14 and 15, such as Identifying Members and Potential Members, Building Your Organizing Team, and New Employee Orientations.