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The AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress supports unionization as the most effective means for academic employees to protect shared governance and academic freedom, to uphold professional standards and values, and to promote higher education as an investment in our common future.
Member chapters can draw on the national AAUP-CBC’s expertise as needed. This expertise ranges from providing training on organizing colleagues to helping devise strategies on bargaining first contracts and enforcing contracts after they have been signed. The capstone of the AAUP-CBC training programs is the annual Summer Institute, which brings together faculty from chapters and state conferences. Faculty experts, along with national staff, conduct workshops on a variety of topics, including negotiations, leadership training, communications, and legislative affairs.
To supplement this, the national office also provides on-site education and training tailored to local needs, as well as webinars on collective bargaining topics. Professional national staff and experienced leaders from other collective bargaining chapters devote substantial time and resources to educational activities on AAUP campuses, always with the goal of helping fellow union members become successful organizers and leaders on their own campuses
Four main factors distinguish AAUP unionism: a commitment to academic freedom and shared governance, local autonomy, an emphasis on organizing, and dedication to organizational democracy.
The emphasis of AAUP unions on the primacy of members and local autonomy grows out of our basic commitment to the freedom and creativity that collegial self-governance makes possible. We view collective bargaining agreements as an effective means of protecting academic freedom and the faculty’s independence in governance.
Members of each AAUP chapter decide their priorities for themselves, and determine what is best under their particular circumstances. The lion’s share of members’ dollars stays on campus, while a small portion supports national-level work in extending academic freedom and providing support to chapters throughout the nation. Since AAUP member-based unionism relies to an exceptional degree on empowerment of the rank and file, a major part of the AAUP-CBC’s activity is educational, to give chapters the skills they need to organize themselves, bargain and enforce contracts, and process grievances.
AAUP union chapters exemplify the autonomy and self-governance that faculty and other academic professionals strive for in their traditional governance structures and provide an alternative to the competitive market forces increasingly at work on our campuses.
In response to the faculty’s interest in pursuing unionization as a means to defend professional standards, the AAUP formed the Collective Bargaining Congress (CBC) in 1976. In 2013, the AAUP-CBC became its own separate organization, an umbrella organization of local AAUP collective bargaining chapters and affiliates. Our purpose is to provide resources to support our member chapters, and to support higher education organizing and collective bargaining more generally.
Currently, the AAUP-CBC comprises more than eighty AAUP chapters and affiliates that serve as the collective bargaining representative on their campuses. Most of these represent faculty in public institutions in states that authorize public employees to bargain collectively, although a number are at private-sector institutions. AAUP-CBC chapters include those which represent full-time tenure-track faculty, part-time faculty, graduate employees, academic professionals, or a mix of these types of academic workers.
A number of AAUP chapters and state conferences employ staff. These staff have formed the Field Staff Association.
The AAUP's collective bargaining activities are governed by elected faculty who serve as officers of the AAUP-CBC. The AAUP-CBC meets annually in conjunction with the AAUP’s annual meeting in June.