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Special Election UC-AFT President and Vice President for Unit 18


Mia McIver has announced her resignation as UC-AFT President effective on November 6. UC-AFT is now conducting a special election to fill her seat and the vacant Vice President for Unit 18. The nominations period opened on September 27 and closes on October 17. All candidates and candidate statements are posted here. Election details and timeline are below.



UC-AFT President:

Katie Rodger


Vice President for Unit 18:

John Branstetter


Candidate Statements

Katie Rodger
Candidate for President
October 3, 2022

I am running for the UC-AFT presidency, and I ask for your vote. This is an incredibly important time for our union, and I’m excited by the prospect of serving as president. I’m very proud to be endorsed by our outgoing president Mia McIver for this position. A fellow union member recently asked me why I want to do this, and the answer is simple: to work for, and with, all of you. In particular, I want to continue the trajectory of growth, strength, and power we’ve created together over the past few years.

I am currently a full-time Continuing Lecturer in the University Writing Program at UC Davis, one of the largest lecturer units in the UC system. From the start of my career here in 2011 I’ve been surrounded by colleagues who were active in the UC-AFT, both at the campus and statewide levels. Much of what I first learned about our contract and what it meant to be a UC lecturer came from them. In 2016 I became an Organizing Fellow, which was how I learned about the leadership structure of our union, and about how to organize. Within a year I became the local UC-AFT president at UCD, and have served since in that role and now as co-chair for Unit 18. At UCD, our leaders may hold specifically named positions, but we mostly function like a team. Working with people is one of the things I do best, and I look forward to the opportunity to continue that kind of collaboration at the statewide level. 

The newly won Unit 18 contract includes the most substantive gains in job security for lecturers we’ve ever seen, and represents a historic win for all non-TT faculty in the UC system and in higher education more broadly. It’s critical that we build on what we’ve done while protecting and enforcing our wins. Lecturers are more engaged with our union than they’ve been in many years (or perhaps ever), and it’s important to keep that attention and energy going. 

At the same time, the Unit 17 contract campaign is gearing up for bargaining to begin in Summer 2023, and now more than ever, we have the chance to channel the full strength of our whole union in support of the demands of our librarians. I am eager to help facilitate and support this new campaign, just as librarians did for lecturers.

It’s also critical that we grow our union’s membership, especially within Unit 18. Finding and talking with lecturers across our campuses is a challenge due to part-time and intermittent appointments; and while our new contract will help bring more stability for many, the effort it takes to sign up new members is substantial. But there is no greater signal to the University of California that we are a healthy and active union than new membership forms coming in at a steady rate. Personally, I have done this work and find it engaging and rewarding, and I look forward to working with our organizers and activists on a robust outreach effort this year and beyond. 

But we also must grow our union internally to be more inclusive. This means continuing the work begun over the last few years within our own leadership structures to not only be anti-racist, but to better represent our members also in terms of gender identity, disability, religion, and part- versus full-time employment status. I’ve been a member of our governing Council for many years now, and know that there often are no quick fixes to issues of representation, but I will address them head-on if elected. 

During the Unit 18 contract campaign, I served in a number of positions that gave me a bigger view of our union, and brought me into contact with leaders, activists and our own UC-AFT staff around the UC system. I was one of the co-chairs of the Escalation Committee, and later was a Member Organizer, which also enabled me to work directly with organizers in our parent CFT union. Both of these positions were focused on organizing and engaging lecturers in our bargaining campaign. I am proud of the work I did and can say I’ve spent hundreds of hours talking to lecturers around the state. Ultimately, what was most interesting and fulfilling for me in these experiences was the collaboration with other leaders and activists, and the direct contact with UC-AFT members. 

I’m excited to run for statewide office alongside John Branstetter of UCLA, who is currently running for the VP of Unit 18. I’ve worked with John for years, and know his dedication to this union and our shared goals. If elected president, I’ll be working closely with our Executive Board, and I would welcome John’s energy, support, and vision on that team. John is knowledgeable about our union and the UC, which positions him well to help lead Unit 18 negotiations on behalf of lecturers and k-12 faculty. I ask you to vote for us both in this special election.

As UC-AFT president, I will continue to work for all of you. I welcome the opportunity to continue building our union via collaboration with our leaders, activists, supporters, and members.


John Branstetter
Vice President for Unit 18
October 1, 2022


I am a sixth-year lecturer in UCLA’s political science department. I am currently going through my excellence review, which is something I truly never thought would happen. I sincerely believe the only reason I am still at UCLA is because of the transformative contract we won last year. My department has gone from one of the worst churners in the UC system to saying that lecturers are an important part of their teaching plans. Union power works. I am running along with Katie Rodger to make sure that the contract we won delivers real changes for everyone. The impact it has had on my life is truly immense, and I want to help win equally transformative contracts for my fellow members who work in the l K-12 programs and in the libraries across the system.

Within this broader vision, I am running for the Unit 18 Vice President position for three concrete reasons. First, I believe I can be an effective lead negotiator for lecturers and teachers at the UC’s K-12 institutions. Second, I am passionate about building a truly statewide union, which is a project that began with our new constitution last year. Third, I want to support Katie Rodger’s vision for the future direction of our union.

On the first point, I have a specific plan to become the best contract negotiator I can be. In the short term, I plan to shadow Bill Quirk as he leads the negotiations at UCLA’s lab school to see the process from the inside. In the medium term, I plan to attend CFT’s summer school course on contract negotiation, as well as other opportunities from our state and national organizations. The goal is to be ready to lead the next round of contract bargaining for UCSD’s Preuss school in 2024, or any side-letter issues that appear before. Because I am based at UCLA, I am well positioned to lead the negotiations ahead, as both the Lab School and Geffen academy are in LA. The Preuss School at UCSD is a relatively short drive away. I also look forward to working closely with our Unit 17 VP in order both to support the librarian’s upcoming struggle and learn from their table team’s work.

Second, I think my experience positions me well to define the VP position and enhance the solidarity of our union across campuses. I have been UCLA’s president and then co-chair since 2020. I have been involved in statewide leadership since I joined our campaign’s escalation team that same year. I eventually co-chaired that committee, hand helped to turn out members to attend our bargaining sessions and coordinated actions across campuses. At council, I helped to initiate the constitutional convention that led to the unification of our locals into a single organization. I ultimately co-chaired that convention and helped see our new constitution through ratification. Because I participated in the convention, I know firsthand the discussions that were had regarding the role of the Unit VP positions. I believe I can help define the role in line with those original constitutional debates, and leave the position with a clear purpose and function.

To that end, I believe the role of the Unit 18 VP position is threefold. First, it’s about effectively negotiating to achieve what our members want at the table. Second, it’s about helping our members across the state feel connected to one another, and powerful precisely because they have that connection. Third, it’s about supporting the president’s goals by accepting delegated assignments and coordinating with other board members.

I’m eager to support Katie Rodger's plans for our union. We share a vision of a strong, statewide union. We both are committed to helping unit 18 understand and support unit 17’s campaign. We both imagine that in two year’s time, our union will be less divided by campus and bargaining unit, and more powerful at the bargaining table as a result. The goal is to win great contracts for all of the different roles that our members play in the UC system, and Katie has a plan that I would be proud to be a part of.


Special Election Policy and Timeline

Per the UC-AFT Constitution and our Policy on Election of Executive Board Officers, the Nominations and Elections Committee writes to inform UC-AFT members of the special election timeline for the offices of President and Vice President for Unit 18 on the UC-AFT Local 1474 Executive Board.

Special Election Timeline for President and Vice President for Unit 18

  • Nominations period September 27-October 17
  • Oct 17: Nomination acceptance and candidate statement deadline
  • Oct 20: Townhall with candidates (Thursday, time TBD)
  • Oct 26: Townhall with candidates (Wednesday, time TBD)
  • October 31, 8am - November 6, 5pm: Ballot open for 7 days.
  • November 7: Nominations and Elections Committee reviews results and announces winners.

Winners take office effective immediately on November 7. Terms end June 30, 2023.

Article VI of the UC-AFT Constitution outlines the duties of each office.

Nominations for President and Vice President for Unit 18 should be sent to: Any UC-AFT member can submit nominations for both offices. Only members of Unit 18 (Teaching Faculty) are eligible to vote for Vice President for Unit 18. Eligible candidates will have been a UC-AFT member for one year or more.

In solidarity,

UC-AFT Nomination and Elections Committee
Mitchell Brown, Chair
Amy Kennemore
Kelli Talaska