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Q. What is TEA? 
Q. What do employees want to accomplish by forming a union?
Q. What kind of union would TEA be?
Q. Where can we see what this model of new unionism looks like?
Q. What kinds of things could change with a union?
Q. I like my job and Tufts. What would I get out of being in TEA?
Q: What are TEA’s values?


Q. What is TEA? 
 
TEA stands for the Tufts Employee Association. We are employees of Tufts University who are working to form a union. We’ve asked organizers from other groups—such as the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers, and SHARE at UMass Memorial Hospital—to help us.

Q. What do employees want to accomplish by forming a union?

 
We want to form an organization that is ours, through which we can make our work lives more enjoyable and more meaningful. By combining our knowledge and strength we can help make Tufts an even better place to work – for ourselves and for everyone.

With a union, Tufts employees would have a community and a collective voice:

A community: Lots of co-workers at Tufts say that they would like to be more connected to each other. We’d like more ways to get to know each other between buildings and across campuses. We’d like to have more opportunities to share expertise and to learn from each other.

A collective voice: With a union, the staff will have a seat at the table as a respected partner in decision-making at Tufts. We want to be more actively involved in decisions about pay and benefits, about how the work gets done, and about how we take care of each other. We’d like to design a process for fixing problems. We’d like to help each other to have successful careers at Tufts, and beyond. We’d like to play a stronger role in Tufts’ mission of excellence in education, research, and service.

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Q. What kind of union would TEA be?

There are lots of different kinds of unions. Newer, non-traditional models have emerged to fit the modern workplace, quite different from some traditional unions you may read about.

This new model emphasizes participation by members in decisions at work, and partnership and collaboration with the employer. Economic progress for employees is a priority, but always in the context of helping our university to succeed. We don’t believe in one-size-fits-all solutions, but rather in giving every employee, department, and manager the tools that they need to get the work done well, and happily. The unions involved in this new, innovative model have never called for a strike in any of their locals. The cornerstones of our union are collaboration, cooperation, and kindness and respect for everyone.

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Q. Where can we see what this model of new unionism looks like?

NEOPThe unions that are part of the New England Organizing Project include:

• The Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers,
• SHARE at UMass Medical School,
• SHARE at UMass Memorial Healthcare, and
• The Union of Social Workers at Cambridge Health Alliance

They share common values and use similar methods, but each one is different. Each was created by a unique group of employees to fit their unique workplace.

If you’d like more information about the unions in NEOP:
NEOP Photos and Stories page

Or visit the NEOP website to learn more about NEOP:
http://www.newenglandorganizingproject.org


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Q. What kinds of things could change with a union?

TEA is not making a list of promises for Tufts employees, for two reasons: First, Tufts employees will decide the priorities for our union together, and, while those conversations have started, they are very much on-going. And second, specific changes and programs to address these priorities would be crafted in discussions with the University administration, and it’s hard to predict what solutions would be worked out until we sit down together.

Here is a list of areas that we know Tufts employees care about, that the other New England Organizing Project unions have improved through their negotiations:
• Raises – how much, and what they’re based on
• Benefits – what is covered, and how much they cost
• Flexibility – in work schedules, and in how the work gets done
• Training, education and career development programs and benefits
• Decision-making at work, and participation by employees
• Time-off – vacation time, holidays, sick time – how much time and how they work
• Support for individual members in difficult situations
• Child care, housing, transportation support
• Work security – what happens when grants end or departments down-size

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Q. I like my job and Tufts. What would I get out of being in TEA?
 
Some people think that a union only helps in a bad workplace. Actually, we think that a good workplace presents enormous opportunities for staff in a union.

Many of us believe that Tufts is a good place to work. We are committed to supporting the high quality of research and education we see here. We like Tufts' focus on citizenship and on active participation. Forming a union will help us participate as full citizens in our day-to-day work lives and in the Tufts community.

Many of us have good situations at work, and we’d like to help make sure that everyone has a good situation. Through TEA we can take care of each other, learn and grow in our work and our lives, and pursue economic progress in a responsible way. We can be creative and try new ideas to make work more meaningful.

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Q: What are TEA’s values?
 
We take our values very seriously, and work hard to apply them in all the work that we do to form our union: OUR VALUES.


Intro to TEA | Who, What, When | Dues | Flexibility
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Tufts Employee Association (TEA), Tel: 617-620-7686, Email: tea.info@teawork.org

 




Clockwise from left: Kris Thompson, Chantal Hardy, Tom Souers, Maggie Carracino, Noah Barrientos, Richard Grijalva.