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UC-AFT Council Executive Board Candidate Statements 2021

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The Nominations Committee has received the following nominations: (Nominees who have declined their nomination have been removed.)

Statewide Council Executive Board Officers

Unit 17 and Unit 18 Vice President (New positions under proposed constitution, nominations open for 7 days after new constitution takes effect.)

Mia McIver, President

Fellow UC-AFT Members,

If you’re reading this, then we have accomplished a major goal of my presidential agenda: enfranchising every dues-paying member of UC-AFT to vote for their union leaders. A democratic union is a strong and fighting union.

Thank you for participating in this historic election, the first in which all UC-AFT members are eligible to participate. I ask for your vote so we can continue in the same direction: one of broad member engagement, deep leadership development, common cause, and purposeful action. My priorities remain consistent: great contracts for Unit 18 faculty, Unit 17 librarians, and Hastings librarians; robust member engagement; vigorous contract enforcement; and political action that situates our work within the common good.

This has been an extraordinarily hard year, but our union is weathering the storms and emerging from them more powerful than ever. UC-AFT members played a key role in electing a U.S. president who stands with working people. In all our bargaining units, we are protecting members’ health and safety while promoting excellent teaching and librarianship and ensuring our rights as workers. We have convened a Housing, Homelessness, Renters’ Rights, and Refugees Committee, which is making mutual aid grants to UC-AFT members experiencing hardship. We have also started an Anti-Racism Committee and a Committee on Policing, whose work seeks to transform our union internally and our universities at large. A growing group of extraordinary member-leaders has made these initiatives possible.

As part of the UC Union Coalition, I join with other UC union leaders weekly to coordinate our efforts. As a member of the CFT Executive Council and the AFT National Policies and Programs Committee, I am connecting our union to the broader labor movement. I’ve been particularly proud to share our contract campaigns with others struggling for educational justice, truly public higher education, and contingent and temporary worker equity. Even as I represent UC-AFT to a variety of people and external organizations, I stay grounded in the basics of organizing. I still reach out to non-members to ask them to join our union; I still learn from you and other members all the time about your top issues and priorities.

I don’t do this work alone, and I invite you to join me for another term of building relationships and building power. If this vote is your first contribution to our union, don’t let it be your last.

In solidarity,

Mia
 

Josh Brahinsky, Vice President for Organizing

A union is built on organizing: systematic listening-focused conversations accrue over time to become power. It’s the listening that makes this a model for active democracy, not just a vote repository. I find that inspiring and love doing it and watching it grow.

Last year, I helped lead our Escalation Committee towards coordinated actions across campuses and deeper participation for our members. In the fall I worked as part-time union staff, recruiting and training Contract Action Team (CAT) members. Now, as a volunteer, I am training new CATs and co-chair for UCSC’s chapter.

My union experience has led me to value both meticulous systematic organizing and high intensity escalation. From 1992-2001 I worked as an organizer for an unusual AFSCME local at Harvard University. We were librarians, lab techs and clerical workers. We did not strike and said that up front. We spoke in quiet terms about our love for our work, and we organized incessantly. We carefully rated the support of every one of the 3,600 members every spring. When our local called, nearly every member would come out, our membership numbers were always in the mid 90%s. For protests, we would start with 1,000 and then as the campaign escalated up to 6,000 people would crowd Harvard Square – this was a 3,600 person local! It was fine grained, person to person organizing and deep community support built on a message of kindness, care and integrity. We won fantastic contracts. I also regularly travelled the country to help organize strikes and new unions in all sorts of shops – hospitals, prisons, universities. I came to find difficult organizing situations somewhat energizing.

By contrast, when on the bargaining team for UAW 2865, the UC wide TA local from 2011-2014, we chose not to settle without a strike. After two successful strikes, management settled under threat of a third strike during finals week. In the process, I also led a UCSC grievance strike threat which resulted in a $250,000 settlement the day before we were scheduled to strike.

In other words, I appreciate and have experience working with union power and rhetoric of multiple forms – both sweet and strong. I also know university unions. I have worked with two librarian locals and two lecturer locals. I know the librarians and lecturers of UC-AFT especially well as I was staff for the Santa Cruz local from 2014-2016 during which UCSC membership grew roughly 15% and our activist crew doubled in size.

I do think our leadership could better reflect our members: electing a pre6 lecturer who is a freeway flyer (working at 4 universities in the past 3 years) on a small campus. These experiences ought to be central to our leadership as they are to our campaigns. While I am pre 6, I have lectured since 2012, so this is quite familiar to me. But more importantly, I love this union work, I do it well, and we need vibrant organizing.

Josh Brahinsky

Shannon Garland, Vice President for Organizing

I’m honored to be nominated to the Vice President of Organizing position for UC-AFT. I’m a pre-six lecturer in Global Arts Studies at UC Merced. I’m currently chair of the Escalation Committee, developing plans to keep our membership activated over the summer and into the fall. I previously participated as a rank-and-file member of both the Escalation and Communication committees, and I am the primary contract campaign member-organizer at UC Merced, where I’ve recruited CATs and helped more than double participation in the campaign. If elected I will strengthen our union’s organizing network by facilitating a culture of camaraderie and solidarity at each chapter and statewide.

I’m relatively new to the union and my lecturer position—I started in the summer of 2020. Before that, I worked as a postdoc at UCLA for three years, where I was also a union steward and the UCLA Recording Secretary for UAW 5810. I helped defend a postdoc who was being retaliated against for grieving pregnancy discrimination by occupying the dean’s office and leading a rally with a loudspeaker. When covid hit, I helped set up a mutual aid network for members. I also organized and drafted a letter, ratified by our council, to demand police union disaffiliation from the AFL-CIO. I see the labor movement as crucial to winning broader social transformation. But I also have personal experience with fear about joining unions or becoming active in campaigns. I would combat this fear by training more of our members to become organizers themselves, helping them realize that they have the power to shape their own work conditions through collective action.

I would build such consciousness and culture deliberately by holding regular organizer trainings, political education discussions, and social events for our members. For example, I would like to facilitate “labor circles” where lecturers can get together to talk about workplace issues, as well as solutions to them, across departments and chapters. Likewise, I would hold regular one-on-one organizing sessions where members can educate each other about how to have organizing conversations, and practice making union-related asks of their colleagues. I can envision political education meetings where members discuss books and articles about university finance, governance, and organization, so that our members better understand the larger structures in which our work lives are embedded.

Such activities would be connected to campus, statewide, and national labor coalitions, student groups, and elected officials, building on the foundation of prior leadership to put real teeth on demands for an equitable society. While I see media awareness campaigns, hashtags, and public shaming as important tools for winning our contract and more (I run the UC-AFT@ UC Merced twitter handle), the basis of our power rests in the fact that if we don’t work, the university can’t work. We can use our power as essential components of our workplaces to collectively force—not request—social change. I want to build an organizing culture where all of our members understand that power, and wield it. #WeTeachUC

Daniel Schoorl, Vice President for Legislation

I’m running for VP of Legislation because I believe our union can benefit from a clear legislative
agenda, increased advocacy efforts, and a heightened presence in Sacramento. If elected, I
would first dedicate myself to establishing the visibility of our union with elected officials in the
Assembly and Senate. Secondly, I will continue the work that our current VP of Legislation, John
Rundin, started with the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) and our UC union coalition to
build support for AB1550 (Higher Education Labor Relations) . This bill is precisely what we
should be dedicating our legislative efforts on to forge a path for faculty equity by advocating
for protections from the University from adding new job classifications and moving teaching
faculty out of represented positions.
 
My time in the labor movement has taught me how critical it is to advance an agenda with an
effective approach. To this role I also bring a belief that the strength of organizing cannot be
overlooked. I plan to lead the Legislative Committee to engage our membership to develop and
implement a plan to become active in visiting elected officials in their district offices. In addition
to this, I will plan quarterly sessions with the Legislative Committee to host lawmakers and
other relevant speakers who can provide legislative updates to our members.
 
I believe that it’s critical to organize early and focus on elected leadership to build the type of
consensus required to move legislative forward . If elected, I plan to visit Sacramento regularly
and c enter our legislative agenda and efforts on issues that affect our members. Highlighting
the shortcomings of the University as an employer while working towards solutions with
lawmakers that will increase our profile as a union. Among these issues are reemployment
preferences, reclassification, flexible work arrangements, and paid leaves.
 
Over these past two years as VP of Organizing I have worked to increase our unions’ visibility in
many spaces, by representing our members at the California Labor Federation, at UC
Retirement System Advisory Board meetings, and the Regents Presidential Selection Special
Committee meeting. Most importantly I look forward to working with UC-AFT leaders and
members interested in participating in legislative advocacy, and if elected, to chairing the
Legislative Committee and working with our President, Executive board, staff, and our
membership to develop legislative goals and priorities. It would be an honor to serve as Vice
President of Legislation for UC-AFT, and I would greatly appreciate your support.
 
 
Katie Arosteguy, Vice President for Grievances
 
My name is Katie Arosteguy and this is my 11 th year as a lecturer in the University Writing
Program at UC Davis. For years prior to being elected the VP for Grievances in 2020, I served as
a grievance steward and an officer on our local UC-AFT board. Today I’m writing to ask for your
vote as I run for re-election.
 
Since taking this position last July, I’ve worked to figure out the lay of the land in our statewide
union regarding contract enforcement work. To that end, I’ve established good working
relationships with our staff, campus Unit 17 and 18 grievance stewards and collectives, union
leaders, and our lawyers. My early work consisted of helping to conceptualize, organize, and
create resource materials for the statewide database we use to keep track of representation
work. One of my goals was to begin building a statewide steward community and so, with staff
help, I established monthly steward calls where we discuss representation issues and share
resources and best practices for grievance work. I’ve hosted and put together materials for
trainings on various aspects of the grievance process. In addition, I’ve organized and lead
several Unit 17 and 18 arbitration panels and appealed cases to arbitration. As situations arise
on different campuses, I’ve helped coordinate statewide responses, some of which have led to
our lawyers filing Unfair Labor Practice charges. Through this work, I have deepened my
understanding of both contracts, learned how to conduct representation work at Step 3 and
beyond, and laid some groundwork for building grievance teams on each campus.
 
Moving forward, I’d like to work with our new Unit 17 and 18 VPs and the VP of Organizing to
further develop our grievance steward network. Once Unit 18 has a new contract, it will be
critical for there to be people ready to defend it, and we need to start now to get stewards on
all campuses feeling connected, confident, and interested in taking on this difficult work. With
the help of the staff and steward community, I want to develop a plan to recruit, train, and
build active, engaged grievance steward teams on all campuses. This plan would start with
campuses making the grievance work they do more visible to their locals and to their members.
 
Talking about the contract and how people experience the contract is above all a union-building
activity, as it gets people to notice and value the work our union does. Because I’ve always
been involved in both grievance and organizing work in my union roles, I see the two activities
as intricately linked. Grievance work is organizing work, and by building these teams, we
ultimately build our union.
 

Miki Goral, Secretary-Treasurer

I am running for re-election as UC-AFT Secretary Treasurer. I have had the honor of
serving UC-AFT in various capacities since 1983, when I first joined the Unit 17
(Librarians) bargaining team as the record-keeper, later becoming the Chief Negotiator. I
have led the Unit 17 negotiating teams from 1984 to 2007 and am still on the negotiating
team.

In 1984, I was elected Secretary of UC-AFT, an office I held until 1986, when I became
Treasurer. In 1999, a re-structuring of the Council combined the duties of Secretary and
Treasurer into one position, which I have held since then. During my tenure as a Council
officer, I have worked with a number of officeholders and Executive Directors and can
provide a context of continuity for the work of the organization.

The Secretary-Treasurer’s duties are set out in the By-Laws: namely to record and
disseminate minutes of Council meetings and to be responsible for all monies received
and paid out by UC-AFT. I have developed and streamlined procedures to fulfill the
duties of the job efficiently and accurately. I have striven to monitor the union’s finances
and ensure that our funds are used wisely for the benefit of our members.

With the imminent federation of the nine locals comprising the University Council, I am
gratified to see a goal I have advocated for over decades finally being realized. This new
structure will strengthen us as an organization and enhance our voice in the labor
movement.

While most of the union’s work is focused on representing our members and enforcing
the contracts we have negotiated, we must not forget that UC-AFT is part of the larger
union movement in the United States. I serve as a vice-president of the CFT,
representing the interests of UC-AFT and university academic employees, along with
UC-AFT President Mia McIver and Kent Wong (UCLA), in that body.

I think I have the experience and dedication to continue managing the union’s finances.

Miki Goral

Kendra Levine, Unit 17 Vice President 

I gladly accept the nomination for Unit 17 Vice President of UC-AFT because I have found Unit 17 to have some of the most tenacious, supportive, and inspiring librarians and am excited by the opportunity to work on behalf of the unit to build our strength.

During the 2018/2019 contract campaign I recognized our collective power when we’re organized. I am dedicated to improving working conditions for all librarians, and fighting to make UC libraries more democratic, and better embody UC’s stated ideals to create a more just society. I also learned that fair contracts are not won at the bargaining table alone, but through collective action and acts of solidarity. During the contract campaign I worked closely with the table team and Unit 17 leaders across UC to organize coordinated actions to keep pressure on UC, which culminated in the ratification of one of the strongest librarian contracts ever. Now is a great time to start applying the lessons we learned in the last campaign as we prepare for our next contract in two years.

I’ve learned a lot about working conditions at UC through my work with the Berkeley/SF local (the erstwhile UC-AFT Local 1474) - as a member of the Librarian Organizing Committee, member of the Collective, and as Unit 17 Co-Chair. From educating members about the new contract, participating in local labor coalitions, and engaging members with union work, I’ve seen and experienced the power in our union. Understanding union power is going to be critical as we face a new era of austerity. This past winter, when Berkeley librarians faced potential furloughs, I worked with the Unit 17 Contract Administration Group as the local Co-Chair to negotiate with Berkeley and UCOP management. I made the process as transparent as possible with members, so that they were informed of the quickly changing situation and we had clear objectives for bargaining. I also worked with other campus unions to get a better understanding of the situation beyond our unit, and how to present a unified position against potential furloughs. Ultimately our efforts were successful and no furlough plan is happening, but there will be similar threats at every UC campus in the coming years and I feel ready to meet those challenges. As Unit 17 VP I plan to work with local leaders to face these issues in a way that strengthens our librarian members and supports all UC workers.

Tiffany Page, Unit 18 Vice President

For the last six years, I have been a leader in our union participating on both the local and state level. On the state level, I have participated in State Council meetings, served on the nominations committee, was a notetaker for the Table Team during our last contract campaign and have served on the current Table Team since the beginning of our contract campaign. I am currently enrolled in a semester-long course on collective bargaining to expand my knowledge of all of the facets of a contract campaign from start to finish.

I am excited to run for this new VP for Unit 18 position because I would love the opportunity to help develop what this position entails. For the remainder of our current contract campaign, I would work with our Chief Negotiator Mia McIver to support the process of winning a strong contract. 

I aim to use the VP for Unit 18 position to both support the current campaign and build the long-term power of the union: I have developed a number of ideas about what we can do in between contract campaigns to ensure that we are well-prepared and well-organized when bargaining the next contract begins. Some examples include continuing to develop and strengthen our existing member networks through educating members about gains in the new contract, developing a timeline of tasks to be completed in the lead-up to our next contract negotiations, and preparing bargaining team training materials.

On the Berkeley campus, I have worked to make our chapter more democratic, including changes that empower all members to be involved in decision-making and a restructuring of our local board to have it led by two co-chairs with one from each bargaining unit. These changes significantly increased member engagement and participation. I have also been actively involved in recruiting new members to the union and working to develop a network of active members across departments. I have been involved in member education around the contract negotiations and organizing escalation activities on our campus. I hope to use my background in organizing and bargaining to continue to serve our union as VP for Unit 18.