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UC-AFT Statewide Elections 2016--Candidate Statements


UC-AFT conducts annual elections for seats on the statewide Executive Board. The election will take place at the UC-AFT Council meeting on April 16 per the UC-AFT bylaws

The nominations period is now closed. The following individuals have been nominated for the statewide UC-AFT Executive Board:

President- Bob Samuels (incumbent)
Vice President for Organizing- Mia McIver
Vice President for Grievances- Ben Harder
Vice President for Legislation- Axel E. Borg (incumbent)
Secretary Treasurer- Miki Goral (incumbent)

Candidate Statements 

President-- Bob Samuels
As President of UC-AFT, I will continue to work to help defend the rights and professional status of all members in Units17 and 18. In the last few years, I have brought our issues to the national media, and we have now become a national voice for free public higher education.  I have also served as the President of the CFT council for universities, and I continue to work on our relationship with AFT.

It is important to point out that during my term in office, we have seen substantial improvement in the salaries and security of people in both units, and on the grievance and enforcement side, we have won several important cases, and we have also won important arbitration and Public Employment Relations Board cases.  I want to thank our staff and Sandy Baringer for their work in these areas.

I also want to thank Miki Goral and Axel Borg for their continued leadership in helping to protect the status of librarians.  Our negotiations over the Unit 17 contract have finally resulted in an improved salary structure.  Miki has also been instrumental in our effort to improve the financial stability of UC-AFT.

Finally, I would like to continue to professionalize our union and work with our Executive Director to help support and coordinate our staff, while I work with Axel Borg on increasing our political clout. I look forward to increasing the activism of all members in our union as we respond to the Supreme Court and our possible loss of agency fee. 

Vice President for Legislation--Axel E Borg
I have served as Vice President for Legislation of the University Council of the American Federation of Teachers (UC‐AFT) for six years. I have decided to run again for election in that same office. The last six years have seen many changes in both the working conditions that we face in the University of California and the challenges that we face as union members. I look forward to continuing to serve librarians and lecturers across the University of California System.

In addition to serving as VP for Legislation I am also the Chief Negotiator for the librarian bargaining and the contract administrator. Since we signed the current contract I have been working with librarians so that they can understand their rights under that contract. I have also been working with librarians across the system as UC libraries undergo reorganization.

This year we have the opportunity to reopen one or two articles. I will be working with librarians to decide what we want to bargain and to be prepared for a major effort on the part of library administration to remove both our academic status and our rights as represented employees. Currently we are preparing for a PERB trial regarding UCLA and UCSC’s attempts to remove librarians from the bargaining unit. This is yet another attempt at union busting.

Over the course of the last year the number of grievances filed by librarians has increased. Much of this is due to both reorganization and to a concerted effort of library administration to de‐professionalize librarians. Also, there is a move to challenge the academic standing of librarians. Both of these issues are critical to our role as librarians in the UC system.

I have been working closely with Chris Hables and Mike Rotkin in internal organizing with an intention to develop membership capacity of both librarians and lecturers. This capacity will empower our members and position both the librarian and lecturer bargaining to achieve better contracts for both groups. I believe strongly in unions and their role in self‐empowerment. Unions function best when members are involved, it is how I came to this position myself and I feel that by my standing for the rights of others, others will stand for me.

I believe that the promise of the University of California, as the leading public university in the world, has been betrayed by the current leadership, and our Union, UC‐AFT, has taken a leadership role in fighting to restore that promise of public higher education.

I continue to learn from our colleagues on Executive Board. Our Union is fortunate to have members who have stepped forward at both the campus and statewide level. Not only have they stepped forward they are a truly remarkable group and I look forward to continuing to work with and serve both the officers and members of UC‐AFT. I look forward to the opportunity to serve you.

In solidarity,

Axel E. Borg

Vice President for Organizing--Mia McIver
Sisters and Brothers,

After serving as President of UC-AFT Local 1990 (UCLA), I’m running for Vice-President of Organizing in order to further the member momentum that we have collectively developed across the state.  With a successful cycle of lecturer bargaining behind us and a new cycle of librarian bargaining just beginning, now is an ideal time to increase our membership, our visibility, and our power.

My organizing priorities include rallying around librarian bargaining, developing member leaders, broadening our social media networks, building a more diverse union, and increasing outreach to early-career librarians and lecturers.  I hope to further Chris Hables-Gray’s laudable work as we fight to go, in Chris’s words, from precarious to participatory members of our campus communities.

First as a rank-and-file member and then as an elected officer at UCLA, I’ve collaborated with members (including Miki Goral) and field reps to lead bargaining socials, protest actions, orientations, workshops, listening sessions, and board meetings.  Along with our staff, I developed and launched our online membership enrollment form, through which we’ve signed up almost 300 new members since October 2015. At UCLA alone, we’ve welcomed nearly 25% additional members since the beginning of the 2015-2016 academic year.  By creating and running Local 1990 Facebook and Twitter accounts, I’ve devised new ways to connect with members, promote our work to broader audiences, and build solidarity.

As a member of the Unit 18 negotiating team, I worked closely with Ben Harder and Bob Samuels at the bargaining table to win gains in our new contract.  That experience showed me how important it is to pursue organizing and bargaining together. In addition to organizing actions at UCLA, I secured coverage of our issues in campus media and the support of local public officials in Los Angeles, who called Janet Napolitano on our behalf.  In October, I addressed the Regents to advocate for academic freedom protections for academic staff and contingent faculty. I look forward to similarly supporting librarian bargaining through the internal and external organizing efforts our librarians deem most helpful.

Our organizing at UCLA this year has centered on encouraging librarians and lecturers to visibly and audibly express pride in our work. I plan to visit each campus to hear from leaders and rank-and-file members about the goals that matter to them, share my positive vision, and then coordinate state-wide to realize ideas through effective practices.

The UC stands at a critical juncture as it plans to enroll 10,000 additional undergraduates over the next three years.  Lecturers and librarians will educate most of these students, and therefore we’re poised to see Units 17 and 18 grow.  We must work together to resist the erosion of public higher education through corporatizing measures like moving classes online and union-busting tactics like de-professionalizing and removing librarian jobs.  Although the Friedrichs v. CTA Supreme Court case is no longer immediately threatening our funding model, building capacity through organizing is the best way to prepare for future challenges that are sure to arise.

Vice President for Grievances--Ben Harder
I am running for the first time for Vice President for Grievances. I served as Grievance Steward at UC Riverside from 2013 to 2015 before focusing my attention on our recent successor negotiations. I had previously been President of Local 1966, and served just over one year as Vice President for Legislation.

As Local President, Grievance Steward, a member of the negotiation team, and now Chief Negotiator, I have studied (and helped to write) all the versions our contract as they have been developed from 2007 on. I have ten years of experience working with our issues, from benefits to churning to workload.

I have two goals as Vice President of Grievances. First, I want to help manage the changes to the Lecturers’ contract, both by solidifying the new gains we have and by addressing the changes in grievance procedures. We need to have much training with an emphasis on efficient enforcement of our new contract provisions.

Also, I want to increase the infrastructure for enforcing both of our Union’s contracts. To that end, I hope to work closely with Librarians to further support the network of Librarian Grievance Officers that have been established across the system. Also, I will work within our Organizing effort to increase the number of Lecturers who feel empowered to participate in grievances. My experience as Grievance Steward and Chief Negotiator has taught me that larger campuses especially will benefit from networks of Lecturers who will help enforce the contract. The Campus Grievance Stewards and Representatives need the support of other active members to fully police all the bad actors in the University of California.

Regardless of the Friedrichs v CFT case before the Supreme Court, our Union will face pressures from the University and from outside of it. One good answer to all pressures, local and system-wide, is a large, active membership, and one major task for active members is enforcing our contracts. I hope to facilitate activist enforcers.

Secretary Treasurer-- Miki Goral
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, when I passed the reins to UC-AFT Vice-President Mike Rotkin.

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.

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 California Federation of Teachers, representing the interests of UC-AFT and university academic employees, along with UC-AFT President Bob Samuels, in that body.

As the university moves to implement new methods of delivering education to students, the union must play a role to insure that the quality that makes the University of California so well-regarded is not compromised. Our president, Bob Samuels, has been instrumental in bringing to the fore issues surrounding the University’s real support of undergraduate education. It is the task of the Council to engage our members in this process and support our leaders as we work with the governor and legislature to hold the University to account. I look forward to being a part of this goal as an officer of UC-AFT.