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The AUD Union Democracy Worker Education Project: workshops, classes, conferences, and resources.

Custom workshops: for union members, reform groups, and officers; see the list of topics. 
Conferences: local, regional or national meetings to learn and organize.
Classes: in the New York City area.
Union Democracy Cities: organize an AUD event in your town or city.
How to organize an AUD workshop or event in your area: tips from an activist.
Cursos y Talleres en Españool: lláÎenos para mas informacion.
Resources: books, magazine, course materials.
Endorsements: see what others have said about our education work.
Contact us to set up a workshop: info@uniondemocracy.org, 718-564-1114
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Set up an AUD workshop, conference or class...

The Association for Union Democracy's Education Project helps union members become better activists and organizers by providing education in legal rights and organizing methods and techniques -- all with a focus on building democracy and power, on the job and in the union. AUD offers workshops, conferences, classes, and educational materials for rank-and-file union members, representatives, and officers who want to practice strong and democratic unionism. We are also available to speak or give workshops at union meetings, conferences, and events. We can provide education in English, Spanish and French, and we can travel to your area. Contact Matt Noyes at AUD for information, 718-564-1114 ; info@uniondemocracy.org. Click here to print out the information on this page.

Custom Workshops; Conferences; Classes; Union Democracy Cities; How to Organize an Event; Cursos en Español; Resources; Endorsements.


Custom Workshops

If you are a unionist looking to learn about her rights, a small group of troublemakers looking for practical training and advice, or union officers wanting to do things differently, AUD provides workshops that will help you and your coworkers learn the skills and strategies required for democratic reform. We provide education for activists at all levels, and will tailor the education to fit your needs. Because we are an independent organization, we provide a space for free, democratic discussion. 

AUD
provides workshops on topics of interest to: rank-and-file workers, reform groups, union officers. The following is a sample of topics we have covered:

Rank-and-file workers:

  • Rights and resources for the rank and file;
  • Getting your message out and your coworkers in: newsletters and websites;
  • Building a rank and file group: different ways to organize -- caucus, campaign, or network, how to get started, overcoming personality conflicts and preventing burn-out, and more;
  • Turning it around: using the grievance procedure to build power and participation;
  • Judo on the job: using your power (and theirs) to win in the workplace;
  • Fighting discrimination and harassment;
  • Participating in union meetings, (when the officials think they own the union);
  • Your rights in contract negotiations.

Rank-and-file organizations:

  • Organizing for the long haul;
  • Organizing for inclusion and equality;
  • Strategic planning: mapping the workplace/union, identifying your resources, building a worker-to-worker network;
  • Getting an honest union election.
  • Running for union office (and what to do if you win);
  • Building and maintaining a culture of democracy.

Union officers and union representatives:

  • So you won the election: what you need to know to run the union (and how to find out);
  • Changing the union: structures and culture that encourage democracy;
  • Reinventing the Grievance Procedure to build workplace power;
  • Running democratic union meetings;
  • Keeping your struggle for reform alive;
  • Using education to build participation and power;
  • Democracy in new organizing;
  • How to run an honest election.

If you are interested in one or more of these topics, or have one that is not on the list, give us a call or drop us an e-mail: 718-564-1114 , info@uniondemocracy.org.

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Conferences
AUD works with rank-and-file groups, specific unions, and cross-union groups (for example construction workers) to organize special conferences, at a local, regional, or national level. We design and facilitate the conferences in collaboration with the participants, bringing in expert activists and educators, and you bring together the activists and members. These events combine education and organizing to help you take your work to the next level.

Recent AUD-sponsored conferences include:

  • A national rank and file carpenters conference, (resulting in the formation of a national reform organization and a successful campaign to oust the EST of the New England Council,
  • A Seattle-area conference for ironworkers, (who went on to take control of their local),
  • Two conferences for AFSCME members in New York City, (resulting in the formation of a reform group that ousted the corrupt leadership of District Council 37).

AUD has provided workshops and educational consultation for these and other unions and organizations:

  • Teamsters for a Democratic Union: workshops on building workplace power, bylaws changes, and legal rights and organizing, at the TDU annual conventions.
  • Pennsylvania Social Services Union, SEIU; workshops on union democracy and legal rights for statewide executive board meeting and conference.
  • National Association of Letter Carriers, Branch 294; stewards training workshops on grievances and organizing.
  • Pride at Work, AFL-CIO; workshop on union democracy and pride at the 2001 PAW convention.
  • Labor Notes; workshops on union democracy and popular education at the biannual conferences.

If you are interested in working with us to run a conference, or having AUD participate in your event, please give us a call or drop us an e-mail: 718-564-1114 , info@uniondemocracy.org.

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Classes
AUD holds regular classes on topics related to union democracy and organizing, in New York City. The classes are hands on, with experienced teachers and leading activists.

A recent class series covered these topics:

  • Organizing for Real Change
  • Rights and Resources for the Rank and File
  • Making the Grievance Procedure Work for the Members
  • Running for Union Office
  • Participating in Union Meetings
  • Getting Your Message Out and Your Coworkers In: Newsletters and the Web
  • Contact us for registration information and fees.

If you are interested in attending classes in the New York City area, please give us a call or drop us an e-mail: 718-564-1114 , info@uniondemocracy.org.

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Union Democracy Cities

Help AUD spread the word and build the movement! We are looking for union members to help us organize workshops or conferences in cities across the country.

Our goals are to promote awareness of AUD and its mission, to help activists network with other union democracy supporters in their area, to support and strengthen local and national union democracy efforts, and to provide an event that union caucuses and committees can use to build participation and educate activists. Cities recently visited: Denver CO; Los Angeles, CA; Madison, WI.

If you are a union member and want to help organize an event in your city or town, contact Matt Noyes at AUD, info@uniondemocracy.org, 718-564-1114 .

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How to bring AUD to a town near you

Our education project travels. Since 1998, we have organized conferences and workshops for workers in New York, Boston, Seattle, Milwaukee, Baltimore, Detroit, and other cities and towns. We have met some great people along the way, including Paul McCafferty, a Boston-area union activist. Paul wrote up the following piece on how to bring AUD to your town for an educational event.

They Ain’t Gunslingers and This Ain’t Dodge:
How to Bring AUD to a Town Near You.

By Paul McCafferty, Put Workers First/Trabajadores Unidos, SEIU 254

A lot of us trying to reform our unions need to know more -- about our rights, about strategies and techniques that work, about other people’s experiences -- and would love to have an AUD workshop occur in our area. It would be tailored to our particular needs, organized around our schedules, and would be held at a location accessible to our members.

It’s natural to call up AUD and put in such a request. It’s also natural to hope that, somehow, AUD will ride into town, organize all the details of the workshop and leave us with a wealth of legal information and organizational insight as they ride off into the sunset.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Besides the fact that AUD operates with a chronic shortage of money, there’s no way AUD staff can know our specific problems or how to get our members to a meeting. It can be daunting to realize that if we want an AUD workshop we have to organize it ourselves. The good news is it’s not only doable but can be fun. The trick is to break it down into easy to handle parts and spread the work out among a small group of workers. In our case, the important parts were:

1. Who and What. Define what we want to learn and who we want to have attend. For us the who was a core group of Local 254 members but we also sent leaflets to interested local workers on the AUD mailing list. Many of these were wonderful people we never would have met otherwise.

To attract 254 rank and filers we designed the workshop for a Saturday morning and set a core four -hour program. There was also an afternoon session for those who didn’t have to take off for kids, yard work, and groceries. Through discussions among those of us who were organizing the event, and conversations with AUD staff, we figured out what the workshop should be about and what would work best for this group.

2. Where to do it. We asked around and found that churches and community centers offer safe, accessible, inexpensive meeting space. Schools are another possibility. We reviewed several options before choosing a Baptists church near public transportation. (Note: union halls are often a risky choice. Experience has shown that unless they are really firm supporters of union democracy, with a proven track record, there is a strong chance that they will back out at the last minute, leaving you high and dry.)

3. Paying for it. In our case the costs were: paying for AUD staff transportation, food, lodging and material, and the church rental. AUD gave us a basic price to cover their costs and we agreed that any extra money would be a donation to AUD. We covered the expenses by charging $15 a person for the workshop and having the AUD staff stay in our homes and eat with us. This was also a great way to get to know the AUD staff personally. As with the other workers who we met through the event, they’re great folks.

4.  Party! Besides the formal workshop, we had a party at a member’s house on Saturday night. We invited everyone who attended the workshop and other AUD supporters in the area and raised a little more money for AUD. The costs -- a cold cut platter, beer, etc. -- were also covered by what we took in at the workshop.

As it turned out, the workshop was not only doable but it also helped our organizing by getting workers to take charge of different tasks. Rather than a hassle, it was educational and a hell of a lot of fun. The connections we made, as organizers and as people, have continued since the workshop.

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Cursos, Talleres, Recursos en Español

Ofrecemos educación y materiales sobre los derechos de los/las trabajadores en el lugar de trabajo y en la unión. LláÎenos al 718-564-1114 o por e-mail: info@uniondemocracy.org.

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Resources
AUD
provides educational resources for union members, activists, and educators. We sell books and pamphlets on Legal Rights and Organizing (click here to see the list), publish a bi-monthly newsletter—Union Democracy Review (click here to find out more) and this website. Course materials and lesson plans are available for a small fee. Please contact us for more information.

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AUD education gets results:
Some of the feedback we have received from our work.

"We were very impressed; the workshops added a new dimension to our meetings making us better equipped to do the work of reforming this union." -- Leonard Riley, Longshore Workers Coalition, ILA 1422

"…[the AUD workshop] was excellent and the scenarios thought-provoking. Many of the Board members complained that they had too little time with you and recommended that we bring you in for a much longer session next time… thanks again, not only for your time and energy putting together this program but for advancing Union Democracy for all members in all unions." -- Joan Bruce, President PSSU Local 668 SEIU

"I vividly remember the session organized at this past spring's conference by the AUD women's project, of women working in the non-traditional trades, and nothing, absolutely nothing I have seen or heard since has moved me so much…. [It was] a real educational opportunity. ...These savvy and outspoken women are what education for democracy is about…." -- Flavia Alaya, AFT

"AUD has been an indispensable resource to the New Directions caucus in TWU and a tireless champion of our efforts to make the TWU more democratic and more effective for our members. AUD has provided teachers and literature for our stewards' classes, advice for our activists, and moral support at every turn." -- Naomi Allen, Executive Board Member, TWU Local 100

"The staff at AUD was instrumental in helping us achieve the success we've had. Your support, help and encouragement kept us going when we felt overwhelmed. We were able to build a network of reformers, and learned how to play the game. AUD was always available, an open forum for ideas, and a wellspring of technical assistance." -- Linda Cannon, Laborers Local #294

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