Role of AFT Membership Representatives
Date Last Revised: 04/11/2011 04:16:36 PM List of AFT Membership Representatives
The AFT Membership Representatives group plays an important role in the functioning of our Local. It is comprised of a group of individuals who are willing to be of assistance to their colleagues related to both the AFT and the College. Members do not have to be an expert on any particular union-related issue but they should know who to contact to obtain relevant information. There is usually one meeting a semester with lunch in order to induce good attendance and also to be more effecient in the use of our time.
Membership representatives either volunteer or are elected by their department to serve in that role. Normally selecting the person to serve in that position through an election is preferable although it is not required.
Not only should the MR be able to help colleagues with any questions they might have about work-related issues but they should also take advantage of department meetings to share important information from the AFT with others in their area. The role of MR is especially important when the Local is involved with contract negotiations or other critical matters.
Because new hires are usually very concerned with getting situated in their new position, they normally do not pay too much attention to materials the Local sends out welcoming them to both TCNJ and the AFT. A MR can be the key person introducing themselves not only as a colleague to new hires but also as the AFT membership representative.
We normally mail a pack of materials to new hires but it would be much better to have a MR deliver it in-person, not to do a "hard sell" on why they should become an AFT member right then, but rather to let new hires know the AFT is willing to help with their transition to TCNJ and they are not AFT members until they sign and return a membership card, even though they pay an "agency representation fee" equal to 85% of union dues.
If you are feel it is important for workers to play an active role in determining the "terms and conditions" of employment, especially today when public-worker unions are under attack in many states, consider getting more involved in your union by either becoming an AFT MR or volunteering to help the individual in that position in your department, office or program.
Thank you for you help with this issue.
Ralph Edelbach, President, TCNJFT, Local 2364, AFT ( AFL_CIO )