As the president of the UW Oshkosh chapter of TAUWP (The Association of University of Wisconsin Professionals), I am making an urgent appeal to you to join our organization. If you are already a member, I urge you to talk to your colleagues about joining us.
In the past I have asked people to join TAUWP based on what the organization accomplished for the UW-System faculty, such as higher salary raises than those recommended by the President and Regents, and its existence as a voice for the defense of academic freedom on the campuses of the UW System. I have reminded you that TAUWP was responsible for the pickup of the first six months of health insurance premiums by the state. It was accomplished over a long period that saw two gubernatorial vetoes, betrayal of agreements of support by Central Administration, and hard work on the part of many TAUWP members.
I have asked you to join knowing fully that many people use the free rider principle as their guide in deciding not to join: that is, they say "why should I pay dues to TAUWP when I can reap the benefits of TAUWP's efforts without paying." Aside from appealing to your consciences, I have made, with little success, the counter-arguments that TAUWP provides legal assistance to its members when their due process rights have been violated and that with older members retiring, TAUWP will need new members to keep up its good work.
With the recent action of the regents, the stakes of not joining TAUWP have been raised considerably. The Marder dismissal case has the potential to destroy tenure and to destroy any job security, including ending a contract of anyone in the middle of the contract period. The misconduct of the UW Superior chancellor and of the regents is so egregious that everyone should be horrified by the way these "trustees" have acted. That the regents and others have concluded that an allegation is tantamount to guilt, even though no evidence has been presented to support the allegation, is a sorry comment on their commitment to basic judicial standards.
If the Marder decision is upheld, and TAUWP's membership declines or even stagnates, the organization will simply not have the funds to combat adminstration when they trample on the rights of individual faculty members.
On our own campus, TAUWP members have persuaded the Faculty Senate to pass resolutions urging collective bargaining rights for UW faculty, respect for due process in the Marder case, and other pro-faculty and staff measures. We have actively lobbied for collective bargaining enabling legislation that was introduced in November of 2005.
In short, you need us as much as we need you. The annual dues for joining are far less than the salary increases TAUWP has obtained for you through its lobbying efforts. And the burden of paying dues can be eased through monthly payroll deductions.
Let me know if you are interested, and I will send you an application.
For more information, please visit our website: http://www.uwosh.edu/faculty_staff/TAUWP/