A brief history of UTEB
The Union of Tertiary Educators of The Bahamas (UTEB) evolved from what was known as the Faculty Association (FA), a long standing organization of the faculty at The College of The Bahamas (COB). Over the years, many present day COB faculty and administrators had served in executive capacity in the FA. While some veteran faculty members may remember the Faculty Association more as a social group, that was due in part to its lack of any real clout. The FA was extended limited participation in the running of the College, and this could be withdrawn at any time. In truth, the FA aspired to be much more.
In the early 90’s members of the FA decided it was time to seek union status in order to move the faculty’s agenda forward. In the spring of 1993, the FA accelerated its quest for unionization. The Executive at this time consisted of: Janet Donnelly, President; Omer Sher, Vice President; Deby Nash, Secretary; Arturo Hutchinson, Assistant secretary; Karen Lockhart, Treasurer; and Bridget Rolle-Hogg, Membership Secretary.
The Faculty Association took on a number of initiatives. We actively recruited new members. Omer Sher was meeting regularly with the Department of Labour to determine the basic requirements for forming a union, including the requisite elements of a union constitution. Those faculty members who were committed to the concept of a union met in March of 1993 to brainstorm on how best to move forward. Furthermore, faculty members were surveyed to assess the level of support.
In an appeal to our more union-shy members in our FA newsletter (The Fax, April 1993) I wrote:
Quoting from the President’s Message in the June, 1993 issue of The Fax, “On Thursday, May 13, 1993, a vote was taken on a proposed revision of the Faculty Association’s constitution. Over two-thirds of our members voted and over 92% of those voted ‘Yes’.” Since this vote also signaled approval to unionize, the FA Executive applied for union status on June 3rd. Initially we sought to use the name proposed by FA member Linda Davis (yes, the current Vice President of Academic Affairs) Bahamas Union of Tertiary Educators (BUTE). However, that had to be changed as the Department of Labour deemed it to be too similar to that of the Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT). Hence, we changed our name to the one we use now. We were also told to “make some minor adjustments to our constitution” which were considered to be more “housecleaning” and, thus, did not necessitate a vote by the membership.
Nominations for our first slate of officers were requested and an election was immediately set for August 30th - and eventually held on September 30th. The first UTEB Executive consisted of:
Llewelyn Curling President
Bridget Rolle Hogg Vice President, Internal
Joan Vanderpool Vice President External
Andrea Miller Assistant Secretary
Karen Lockhart Treasurer
Janice Miller Membership Secretary
Jacqueline Dean Trustee
Olivia Saunders Trustee
Janet Donnelly Past President (FA)
Note, please, that even then we had a problem filling the position of Secretary!
Subsequently - though not necessarily immediately - we received formal recognition by The Department of Labour and the College of The Bahamas Council. The rest, as they say, is history!
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P.O. Box EE1187
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