First, I’d like to begin by introducing the officers of the Guild Executive Committee.
- Zohara Kaye, 1st Vice President
- Julie Gamberg, 2nd Vice President
- Beth Kronbeck, Secretary
- David Hassett, Operations Officer
- Darren Leaver, Chief Negotiator
- Eric Johnston, Budget Committee Representative
- Paul Vera, Grievance Officer
- Troy Davis, Public Information Officer
- Caroline DePiro, Garfield Site Representative
Next, on our negotiating team, we have:
- Chief Negotiator Darren Leaver, and team members Mike Allen, Caroline DePiro, Emily Haraldson, Brenda Jones, Eric Johnston, and Greg Perkins.
Last year was my first year as Guild President, and I must say that there were many challenges. But, overall we had a very productive year thanks to everyone’s hard work. Folks were working around the clock to protect and enhance our wages, benefits, hours, and working conditions. Much of this was also made possible by the mutually respectful relationships that have been built with the Administration, Board of Trustees, Senate, Division Chairs, and CSEA.
It is, after all, the people and relationships that matter most. I love working at GCC because of the people. Throughout the years, I have built great friendships with people from across this campus and the Garfield campus. One thing that many of my friends share is a deep commitment to our college and its mission of educating students.
My friends and colleagues work countless hours that are often unrecognized, and sometimes uncompensated, because they are deeply committed to student success. I, as Guild President, would never advocate working for free, but, I, too, understand the idea of the mission being greater than any individual.
Almost everyone that is involved in the shared governance process understands this. GCC has a proud tradition of shared governance and faculty empowerment. Collectively, we have hundreds of years of experience to share. At the same time, we would like to see a lot more faculty involved in governance. Now, more than ever, your time and commitment are needed. Now, more than ever, we must also respect and empower each other.
On a related matter, our Guild must become more involved with what is happening at the state and national levels.
There has been a long tradition of those who are in the capitalist class working to undermine unions and the working class.
These forces are very well funded and well connected. Some examples are the Koch Brothers, Americans for Prosperity, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. An extremely powerful organization is the ALEC Group. ALEC stands for the American Legislative Exchange Council. This organization brings state legislators together with powerful corporate and monied interests to come up with anti-union model legislation bills for state legislatures that are often adopted verbatim.
Needless to say, they will do everything within their power to protect and enhance their interests with little regard and often contempt for the working and middle class. This, of course, impacts your wages and benefits, and many other things that we hold dear.
We must recognize that a war has been waged against us, and it must be understood within the context of class war.
As Warren Buffet, one of the richest people on our planet, said, “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
I hope that you will work with our union to change things for the better, so that you and I and the upcoming generations can have a brighter future.
Our campaign to pass Proposition 30 showed us what we can do, but we all knew then as we know now that passage of Prop 30 was necessary but not sufficient. There is so much more we need to do in this hostile anti-union climate in which we currently live. If you are not a Guild member, we certainly need you in the struggle for social, political, and economic justice. So please consider joining today.
If you are a member, let us each do our part separately and, most importantly, collectively to bring about a more enlightened society. We are very fortunate that we are in a profession that provides us with an opportunity to positively impact thousands of lives during our careers.
With all that said, I wish everyone a productive and fun new academic year.
Delivered on Faculty Institute Day on September 5, 2014
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