Employee Representatives Serve to Speak Up and Advocate

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While listening may be where change starts, discussing issues with other representatives and administrators is where change occurs.

Diane Trent
Diane Trent

“When we come together as a group, we can bring visibility to issues as well as solutions that other departments may have already come up with and share those,” said Dianne Trent, a member of the Knoxville-Area Employee Relations Committee representing non-exempt employees at the College of Veterinary Medicine.

At the UT Health Science Center in Memphis, security measures were added to an on-campus childcare center after an employee voiced concern to the campus Employee Relations Council.

Occasionally, representatives are called to serve as employee advocates during disciplinary hearings. Any employee can request a representative be present in a hearing.

Melissa Ashburn, former chair of the Knox-Area Exempt Staff Council has served as a witness and sees her role as making sure employees understand what’s happening and that breakdowns in communication don’t occur.

Representative groups also serve as informal focus groups, allowing administrators to receive input on how changes might impact employees.

No matter the context, employee representatives are willing to speak up on behalf of others.

Learn more about getting involved in employee representative groups on your campus or institute.