On April 21, our local had a chance to honor a founding member, Veronica (Ronnie) Kann, who had been treasurer of Association of Academic local from 2002-2015.
Every year, the Friends and Advocates banquet gives local affiliates of the Illinois Education Association a chance to honor individuals who have contributed a great deal to the local. Lisa Bievenue delivered the tribute at the dinner:
When the AAP became affiliated with the IEA in the Spring of 2002, Ronnie was elected our first treasurer. She served in that office until last fall – more than 13 years. Those of you who are familiar with what a treasurer does, know how demanding the job is, and even those of us not in the know recognize the importance of the office. It is a thankless behind-the- scenes job, where you’re noticed only if something goes wrong.
When the Visiting Academic Professionals won recognition, but the regular APs did not, Ronnie’s job was complicated tenfold because she had to manage the dues of both members and fair share fee payers, as well as members who are not in the bargaining unit. She had to negotiate between two large bureaucracies, one – the University– that at that time was undergoing an overhaul of its management systems and is not the most cooperative employer, and second – the IEA, which was new at dealing with professional non-faculty members in Higher Ed, especially quote-visiting-quote employees with a high monthly turnover rate. Thanks to Ronnie, the whole dues mess was straightened out, after countless phone calls, emails and meetings.
But even then, dues and membership remained complicated. The AAP has an average of nine new members per month and nine members leaving the unit each month over the course of every year, with an average time in the unit of less than 2 years. And there were some times during the AAP’s existence when Ronnie was the only executive officer.
She did this while balancing her demanding work schedule as the Assistant Director of La Casa Cultural Latina where she worked tirelessly on the academic retention and success of Latina and Latino students at the University by organizing their peers, their families, faculty and alumni in that effort.
Ronnie, it is difficult to express our gratitude for the years that you have dedicated to the AAP and the union movement; this recognition as Advocate for AAP is long overdue.
We were able to visit Ronnie at her home recently to let her know how much we appreciated all she has done: