On June 6, 2011 chapter leaders organized a grassroots petition drive to decertify their affiliation with the Service Employees International Union. Key factors which motivated employees to move away from SEIU included the inability to set dues, lack of control over political agendas or major policy decisions.
The petition drive gathered signatures from more than 60 percent of eligible employees, well above the minimum number required for the City Manager to certify UAEA as the exclusive representative.
On August 19, 2011 the Tempe City Manager certified the petition process authorizing UAEA as the new employee group to exclusively negotiate on behalf of more than 700 City employees.
The group's first priority was to have their recently negotiated MOU transfer to UAEA. That goal was accomplished on September 8, 2011.