Members and Potential Members

Who is covered by the current bargaining agreement/eligible to join the union?

Non-regular rank faculty in the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate School and Center for Documentary Studies who are referred to as either Instructors or Lecturing Fellows in their appointment letters are covered by the bargaining agreement, regardless of whether they are members. In order to influence your union’s decisions and avoid being a free-rider who benefits from the actions of others, you must become a member.

DukeTeachingFirstHow do I become a member?

Fill out an electronic membership card, or ask your union rep for a hard copy.

How do I contact my union rep?

Each department has been assigned at least one “cluster representative”—a union member who keeps members up to date on new developments, answer questions about the contract and the union, and helps members address workplace issues. Information about who your cluster reps are and how to contact them can be found here.  You can also become a cluster representative. It’s a great way to help out and get to know your fellow faculty.  There can never be too many cluster reps.

How do I learn about union meetings and activities?

We regularly email members about events and activities.  You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Or check our events calendar.

How can I get involved in my union?

We encourage all members to come to general body meetings and social events, such as our summer film series.  The best way to get involved in your union and to meet awesome colleagues is by joining a committee. Even if you are only at Duke for a semester, you can still make an impact. At the moment, the following committees are in particular need of members:

  • Communications Committee: Responsible for developing communications strategies and resources, and all outward communications, including media relations.  Email Jim Havercamp. 
  • Membership and Orientation Committee: Responsible for helping develop and implement strategies to grow membership and to oversee orientation process, including developing resources and working with departmental representatives.
  • Solidarity Committee: Responsible for connecting the union to other progressive movement building work. Contact Cathy Shuman

What is the relationship between our union and other progressive movements? 

As union members, we are part of a broader campaign for workers’ rights.  In addition to feeling morally obligated to seek justice for fellow workers, we recognize that our union cannot thrive in the absence of a strong labor movement. At our first general body meeting, our members decided that we should prioritize campaigns that promote racial justice and defend workers’ rights in the Research Triangle. We also stand in solidarity with colleagues at other colleges and universities, and are committed to supporting national efforts to ensure that teaching and scholarship are priorities at institutions of higher education. As part of our commitment to the broader labor movement, our members attend the Durham Worker’s Assembly, participated in the Poor People’s Campaign, and joined public school teachers in the March for Students and Rally for Respect. Many of these activities are planned by our Solidarity Committee.  Contact Cathy Shuman if you interested in joining the committee, or being added to the listserv.

How does our union decide when to issue a statement on a current issue or event? 

In keeping with our mission to articulate the perspective of non-regular rank Duke faculty to the broader community, we occasionally issue statements on national or local issues that are of concern to our members. To ensure that our statements reflect the opinions of our members, we have adopted the following protocol:

  • Any union member can propose such a statement to the executive board, if they provide relevant contextual information and draft the statement itself (a paragraph or two)
  • This material will go to the Executive Board, members of which will have 24 hours to make comments and edits or to block the statement.
  • If the statement is not blocked, it is sent to membership for an up or down vote (with space for optional comments to be read by the Board).  The vote will last 48 hours.  If a majority of members who vote on the statement agree, the Executive Board will issue the statement.  At the discretion of the President, voting will be shortened to 24 hours for time-sensitive matters.

How do I apply for professional development funding?

In accordance with the terms of our contract, Duke has established a professional development fund for bargaining unit members, and will make $50,000 available each year of the contract. These funds can be used for to support attendance at an academic conference or other relevant professional development activity related to teaching, scholarship, artistic or professional practice at Duke University. Non-regular rank faculty can apply for up to $1000 in funding per calendar year.  Applications should be made online. You must receive prior approval before incurring any costs. We encourage you to apply early.  Once the $50,000 has been spent, it will not be renewed until the following fiscal year. Feel free to contract your union rep if you have difficulties with this process.

How much are member dues? 

Dues are 1.5% of your monthly paycheck, up to $50 a month.

What is the Committee on Political Education (COPE)?

If you are already a member, you can either make or increase your contribution to the SEIU political action committee. Unions are not allowed to use dues money for political activity. SEIU efforts to elect worker-friendly politicians depend on contributions from members.