A key to building a stronger union is building stronger and more viable chapters. Local organizing is key and a key to local organizing is communication with your members.
Whether you are a current UFT Chapter Leader, Delegate, Para Rep or activist member, UFT Solidarity is here to assist and support.
Here are some tips our successful chapter leaders are sharing:
- Collect the non-DOE emails of all your members. Ask the payroll secretary, who should also be a fellow UFT member, for a roster of all the staff. It should come in an Excel spreadsheet that they can email you. Compare that with a roster that your District Rep has. Organize it by columns such as FIRST NAME, LAST NAME and EMAIL ADDRESS.
- Once you have the list, you can email one of two ways. Copy and paste the email column into the BCC section of your non DOE email to them. We suggest BCC because it reduces the Reply to All issues that sometimes arise and it also keeps the emails more secret. Another way is to create a free www.mailchimp.com account and upload the list. You can play around with mailchimp.com and send emails that way. An advantage to using mailchimp is that it gives you feedback as in how many and who opened and read your email. It also keeps count of how many times it was opened.
- Create a school UFT chapter website to accent an in house UFT bulletin board. Watch and replicate using the two videos below and email email@example.com if you have any questions. Sites are also great for open dialogue and can be set to anonymous if needed. Your members can subscribe, so as soon as you post they get an email about it. There are some emails that you receive exclusively as a chapter leader from the UFT and your District Rep. These can be easily copied and posted on your school site. See this example: https://baychesteracademyuft.wordpress.com
How to Create a UFT Website for your Chapter-Part 1 from Mr. Portelos on Vimeo.
How to Create a UFT Chapter Site Part 2 from Mr. Portelos on Vimeo.
- Encourage your members to speak out and defend their professions and students, but attempt to collaborate with your administration as much as possible.
- Remember that you have state law protecting your union activity from retaliation and there has been case law stating you are aloud to be over-zealous if needed.
- Join a growing number of chapter leaders in an online email forum where we bounce ideas and questions off each other. Email a blank email to UFTCLNfirstname.lastname@example.org to join.
- Be familiar with the contract and or at least know how to do keyword searches in our searchable contract. Click here for the update contract and MOA.
- Hold frequent union meetings to hear concerns and get input on the direction of the chapter.
- Create an online anonymous suggestion box and place on your website. Getting information is key. You can use Google Forms to create one. Look up how on Youtube or ask us for help.
- Have a strong UFT consultation committee that frequently meets, brainstorms and brings any issues or ideas to the principal at least twice a month.
NOTE: Things to look out for!!!! (depending on your administration)
- You have a lot of rights, and we mean A LOT of rights as union representative. Your administration may not always lay down the red carpet, so be ready: Paperwork reduction, seeing the full SLT budget (Chancellor’s Regulation A-655), SBO contract changes, grievances etc.
- We have spoken to members who have had years of satisfactory ratings, become chapter leaders or delegates and then coincidentally come under attack…poor ratings, investigations and disciplinary ratings. Hold strong and fight back. UFT Solidarity can come rally outside your school if you need us to. If this happens, you can also nominate your administrator for our Administrator in Need of Improvement (ANOI) list and we kindly ask them to BACK OFF!. UFTSolidarity.org/anoi
UFT Chapter Leader responsibilities http://www.uft.org/chapter-leaders/chapter-election/responsibilities