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The Employee Relations Advisory Organization: A Seat at the Table

The Employee Relations Advisory Organization, or ERAO, was established in 1972 to provide direct communication between regular staff nonexempt employees and university officials. The ERAO also provides university officials with an effective method of soliciting and disseminating information about employee plans and programs.

Elections are held every two years for representatives and alternates who serve different campus populations based on departments and reporting structure. There are five ERC committees: university operations, academic affairs and research, Knoxville administration and student life, UT System and the Institute for Public Service, and UTIA. The committees meet monthly with their administrative leader except the UTIA committee, which meets quarterly.

In 2004, representatives from the Exempt Staff Council joined the Employee Relations Advisory Organization. The ESC, the counterpart to the Faculty Senate and Employee Relations Councils, is a body elected by peers to represent nearly 2,200 staff members in exempt administrative and professional positions. The ESC provides a forum for discussing issues, exchanging ideas, and communicating with representative bodies and administrators.

Each of these groups elects a representative to the Employee Relations Advisory Board, which meets quarterly with UT President Joe DiPietro and members of his staff. A list of representatives and minutes from past meetings are available online.

ERAO has served as a platform for many accomplishments including the establishment of career path programs and the addition of the flex spending card and vision insurance to employee benefits

“We are very grateful for the time, effort, and service employees spend in their roles as ERAO representatives,” said Mary Lucal, associate vice chancellor of Human Resources. “This is effort given above and beyond their professional roles.”

Take time to learn more about the committee or council that represents you and thank your representative for their service in this role.