President of First AAUP Collective Bargaining Chapter Dies

By Johnson, Hans P. | Academe, July/August 2000 | Go to article overview

President of First AAUP Collective Bargaining Chapter Dies


Johnson, Hans P., Academe


Her campus colleagues remember her as an astute leader, a skilled professor of mathematics, and a steadfast presence on the picket line. But in AAUP lore, Genevieve Snider of Belleville Area College in Illinois may best be remembered as the woman who made a fateful phone call.

In 1967 Snider found herself in the awkward role of informing the Association's national office that the local AAUP chapter had become the collective bargaining agent for faculty at her campus. Then a four-year member of the Association and president of the local chapter, Snider anticipated that the news of the landslide vote would engender some scowls. She did not expect to be told that she was, in the less-thanelated assessment of national officers, a pioneer. On the occasion of Snider's death on March 31 at age 84, colleagues recalled her years of leadership, which included organizing what unwittingly became the first AAUP collective bargaining chapter.

"This was before we had any set policies on unionization," recalls Bertram Davis, who was the AAUP's general secretary in 1967. "My attitude was that we should let the chapter do it, but at the time there were strong opinions on both sides." The vote by Snider and her colleagues came sip years before the Association formally entered the world of faculty unions with its Statement can Collective Bargaining in 1973. In some ways, says lavis, the Belleville chapter's headlong decision "made it easier for us to make that transition because it was a Fait accompli."

A year before the vote for unionization, the community college where Snider taught had separated from its local school district: The move prompted instructors to split from the teachers' bargaining pool, represented by the American Federation of Teachers. Snider and her colleagues wanted a new representative; one that would symbolize their status as higher education faculty. They settied an the AAUP chapter, to which most of them already belonged:

"She felt that the AAUP was the appropriate forum for organizing," recalls Leo Welch, a professor of biology and the current president of the AAUP chapter at the campus. "This was in part because AAUP principles were the most relevant.

We'd been making use of them for a while, and seeing that they could be put into action was an educational process for both new= faculty and administrators. …

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