All-Member Email 1

Below is the text of the first of four emails which I am entitled to send to all members of UCU as one of the candidates in the General Secretary election. It is scheduled to be sent on Monday 29 April. It is identical to the email which will appear in members’ inboxes, except that full-text links to websites have been replaced with embedded ones.


Dear colleague,

My name is Jo Grady and I’m running to be UCU General Secretary. This election is a historic opportunity to transform UCU into a force for positive change in education, and I am the candidate to do this. You can find my election address here, and my manifesto here. But before I discuss my platform, I want to explain why this election matters.

The General Secretary is an important figure in the union. They are the only officer who is elected by members and works for the union full-time. They shape the union’s strategy by implementing policies passed by UCU Congress. But to me, the role is more than that. I don’t want to be a name you only recognise from emails. You’ll see from my manifesto that I want to establish regular ways to meet and listen to members.

Turnout is usually low in GS elections. We need to ensure that’s not the case this time. Voting is probably the most important thing you can do as a UCU member in the next five years. This is a crucial moment for our union, with the sector under a lot of pressure. You have a rare opportunity to vote for someone who works in the sector, understands what that pressure is like, and is an industrial relations expert.

If elected, I will be UCU’s first General Secretary with first-hand experience both of the world of trade unions and of the tertiary education sector. I am a Senior Lecturer in Employment Relations at the University of Sheffield, where I teach and research pensions; employment regulation; trade union organising and industrial action; and causes of labour market inequalities. In UCU, I have served for years as a branch rep and committee member. On a national level, I have served on the USS National Dispute Committee, and was recently elected to the National Executive Committee. I have over a decade of experience of UCU, of trade unions in general, and, most importantly, of what it is like to work in teaching, research, and administration in this sector.

Since I announced my candidacy I’ve had messages of support from across the UCU membership. I was nominated by hundreds of ordinary members like you. As an independent candidate not supported by any faction, my expenses are funded by individual donations. In my previous two elections to national posts, I stood as the only non-aligned candidate and was elected above other candidates with widespread support.

I want to open up spaces for all members, not just activists, to participate in and shape the unionhowever much or how little of their time they are able to commit to it. I am particularly keen to find ways to increase membership and participation among FE members, low paid, migrant, BME and disabled staff, and those without secure employment. My manifesto shows how we can do this, from comprehensive reform of UCU’s subscription rates, to the creation of special ‘task groups’ that make the most of members’ expertise and experience.

I am determined to rebuild the union so that we can launch effective campaigns on the issues that shape the day-to-day experience of staff in Higher and Further Educationnot just press releases, reports, and web pages. These issues include the fight against the Hostile Environment and Brexit-related immigration controls; the imposition of irresponsible metrics such as the TEF; and the lack of job security for staff in all sectors.

I’ll be sending more emails during the ballot period, sharing my ideas about how to do this. If you have questions, email me at grady4gs@gmail.com, contact me via Twitter or Facebook, or subscribe to my mailing list. But the most important thing you can do in this election is vote.

The ballot runs from 29 April to 23 May. You will receive your ballot papers by post and you need to return them by post: you cannot vote online. Because there are three candidates running, rather than two (as in the last two GS elections), the ballot will operate on a Single Transferable Vote basis: you can indicate an order of preference, rather than picking one candidate.

A career in education is more than just a job, and education is not a commodity. Use your vote in this election so we can become a union that shapes policy, rather than reacting to it, and fights for public education. Vote for me.

Dr Jo Grady
Grady4GS.com

Please help Jo Grady be elected as the next UCU General Secretary!

This is an email sent to subscribers of the #Grady4GS mailing list on Wednesday 24 April 2019. To subscribe to our GDPR-compliant list, please fill out your details here!


Whether you have 5 minutes or 5 hours to spare, we need your help. The General Secretary (GS) ballot opens on 29 April 2019. This is a crucial election for the future of UCU.

What you can do right now:

1. Encourage sign-ups to the #Grady4GS mailing list: That list is our sole GDPR-compliant means of communicating with people—and our best means of reaching people beyond social media. We can’t contact people about the campaign if they don’t provide their explicit consent.

2. Speak face to face with colleagues to ‘get the vote out’ (GTVO): This is the most important thing that you can do. Our biggest challenge is that large numbers of UCU members are disengaged from their union and currently have little or no knowledge about this election. Turnout for the last GS election in 2017 was under 14%! We want turnout to be a lot higher this time. This conversation does not have to be about ‘vote for Grady’: the aim is to raise awareness of the election and get people to use their vote. We are confident that if members know about the election, and read materials from the three candidates, they will want to vote for Jo Grady.

3. Email colleagues about the election: Emails to colleagues and friends are very effective in reaching beyond social media. We have produced a template that you can adapt for this purpose.

4. Twitter: Jo Grady’s campaign has received extensive and positive coverage on Twitter. Follow her at @DrJoGrady. Re-tweet and/or like her tweets and tweet your own supportive messages under #Grady4GS. You can add a ‘Twibbon’ to your Twitter or Facebook avatar by using this app (an image of Grady’s campaign badge will then appear in your profile picture).

5. Facebook: You can like the campaign site, encourage others to visit the site, and share contents with your Facebook friends.

6. Put up a few posters: If you can, download and print a poster, and put it on your door. You can also put up a few posters in public approved spaces around your department/building. There are a choice of colours, as well as black-and-white.

7. Attend your local GS election hustings: The hustings events are available here. If there is one near you, try to attend and show your support for Jo Grady!

8. Attend your local UCU branch meetings: Demonstrate your support for Jo Grady. If your Branch is sympathetic to—or able to endorse—Jo Grady, you might be able to enrol their help with putting up posters, handing out postcards and generally spreading the word, including through the branch email list.

What you can do with the help of the #Grady4GS Campaign Team:

The person to email in relation to all items in this section is Claire Marris. Remember to include your postal address where necessary!

9. Wear a #Grady4GS badge: We can send you a pack of 6 beautiful badges (one for you and the rest to share with supportive colleagues) to help raise awareness and prompt conversations with colleagues.

10. Put up lots of posters: We need people on campuses all around the country to put up posters. We can post you a batch.

11. Distribute postcards: We can provide you with A6 postcards, to be posted in pigeonholes, left in common areas, or handed out.

12. Be part of a team of local supporters: There are likely to be a few people at your institution who are, or could become, actively supportive of Grady. We might be able to put you in touch with each other.

What to do if you want to join the #Grady4GS Campaign Team:

Please email us if you want to be in the thick of campaigning for Grady!

Finally, thank you so much again for your support. Let’s fight for change!

All the best
The #Grady4GS campaigning team

Email your colleagues about the UCU General Secretary election!

Template email to send to your friends and colleagues about the UCU General Secretary Election 2019

Adapt as necessary to make it more personal!

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Dear [X; if you are sending to multiple people, put the addressees in bcc]

If you are a UCU member, you are able to vote for our next General Secretary (GS).

Ballots will be posted out on 29 April and voting ends on 23 May: the only way to vote is to post back your ballot. This is the most important position in our trade union and we are lucky to be given a chance to vote for it. Turnout has been very low in previous GS elections: we need to do better!

There are three candidates (in alphabetical surname order): Jo Grady, Jo McNeill, and Matt Waddup.

I am writing to urge you to vote for Jo Grady. I am supporting Jo Grady because [add your own reason(s)].

You can:
– read Jo’s manifesto and explore her website: https://grady4gs.com/manifesto/
– watch her campaign video: https://youtu.be/eGFYiyOv26w
– keep up to date with her campaign by joining her mailing list: https://grady4gs.com/subscribe/

The UCU GS election system is a Single Transferable Vote (STV) election system. Voters put their favourite as number 1 and, if they wish to, put their second favourite as number 2. After the first round of counting, the candidate with the smallest number of first-preference votes will be eliminated, and the second-preference votes of the eliminated candidate will be ‘transferred’ to the two remaining candidates.

Please use your voteand encourage your colleagues to do so too! Turn out for the last GS election in 2017 was only 14%.

[closing words]

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