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It has come to my attention there is some confusion regarding the USA, the University Staff Assembly, and the CWA, the Communication Workers of America. Hopefully, I can shed some light and clear up the confusion.
When the NCA visited our campus in 1997, they had concerns regarding the lack of a governance structure. The Administrative employees had the University Administrative Assembly, the faculty had the University Faculty Assembly, but the support staff had no structured body to support governance. Therefore, it became critical that support staff develop a means by which they could take an active part in the governance of the University.
Several support staff employees worked diligently to develop the USA Constitution and Bylaws, thereby forming the foundation on which the assembly could be created. Information was shared with all support staff, and all support staff were given the opportunity to vote on the formation of this new governance body. And, here we are.
The USA is now an official part of the University’s governance structure. This assembly gives support staff the opportunity to be involved in the development of policies by which the university operates, and, as our mission states, assist in carrying out the university’s commitment to education. With the development of this governance body, we hope to see improved communication among our own constituency and among the university community.
In short, the USA is involved in university governance. Examples would include any business or policies discussed at any of the university wide committee meetings, i.e., ADA compliance, Affirmative Action, Athletic and Intramural, Budget and Finance, Facilities, Personnel Development, Records Commission, Special Events, and UTAC.
The CWA is the union representing the support staff in conditions of employment, i.e., hourly rates, raises, benefits, contract negotiations, etc., anything that’s listed in the contract book.
Faculty on campus have the same set-up. The UFA is their governance body, the SEA is their union representation; this set-up has worked for them for many years.
Again, USA – governance, CWA – conditions of employment; two separate entities with most of the support staff being involved in both.
Kris Liles, USA Chair