This academic year has been one of exciting changes in the IFO. A key example is the IFO choosing to adopt a grassroots organizing model, led by our newest staff member, Director of Organizing, Matt Smriga. Through 1 to 1 conversations, phone calls and office visits, teams of Volunteer Faculty Organizers began the process of building relationships with colleagues across MinnState universities in order to recruit new IFO members and engage existing members on a deeper level than ever before.
New members are up: so far this academic year we have recruited over 240 new IFO members. This exceeds the new member total from each of the last 5 fiscal years and sets a new record for new members added in a year (since the IFO began keeping track in FY13).
In addition to adding new members to the IFO, we’re beginning to see the results of a more deeply engaged membership base. On the recently completed contract ratification vote, we increased the number of those who voted on the contract by 200 members compared to the vote before, which represents a 4% increase in the participation of eligible voters. This is likely due in large part to organizing efforts to reach populations not before deeply engaged in the IFO, like the adjunct and community faculty membership drive that took place in January.
This is only the very beginning as we will continue to adopt a robust grassroots organizing approach into the future. If you are an organizer, reaching out to your colleagues on campus and engaging them in the work of the union, thank you. The work you do is strengthening your union.