When I was elected President of our Guild last spring, I secretly knew there would be a lot of things that I would learn upon assuming this role. As you can imagine, that was a major understatement. There are an astounding number of little odds and ends that make up the day for anyone in this office, and I am embracing and enjoying a journey where each day brings new challenges and exciting new opportunities. There is a real sense of making a difference – a goal I have had during all of my years working here at GCC.
There is clearly only one way I can hope to be effective in this new job. I rely heavily on my amazing Guild Executive Committee. This team of 10 hard-working faculty that you have elected understand, in fact embrace, the important work that is done by your faculty union. I literally could not do my job if it wasn’t for them. We meet each week to address issues about your working conditions here at Glendale College, then divide up the work to make sure those issues are addressed effectively and in a timely fashion.
Yet, there is so much more that our Guild can do. That is where I would like to build on the efforts of my predecessor, Zohara Kaye, who worked tirelessly to grow our membership. From an anemic “I got sand kicked in my face” 65% of faculty belonging to our Guild, we have swollen to a superhero-like 95%! We are, in fact, the poster-union for CFT. Thank you Zo, Brian Reff, Justin Smith and all the other M ‘n Mer’s! We will continue working to keep our membership numbers high.
This year we plan to build on this large membership base. Raw membership numbers do not necessarily equate to a strong faculty union; we need to create a richer presence of the Guild here at Glendale College. To do this, Guild Officers will be reaching out to those of you who indicted you might want to do a little more for the Guild. Now, don’t start running away screaming! The work will be light, because it will be shared by many. The idea is to identify our pro-union members who would like to make a contribution to strengthening our union and see if they would like to become “division stewards.” Much like the traditional shop steward model of industrial unions, these division stewards will become a more approachable face of the union. We plan to identify both full time and adjunct faculty who think what the Guild does is important, and have them become a friendly colleague you already know who can now give information about the Guild to the members of their Division. We would then train these individuals with some basics on how to find information in the contract, and also to become familiar with the duties of the various Guild Officers.
The objective is to build a more approachable and faculty-friendly Guild. It is always easier to talk to someone you know, especially when there might be some question about pay or working conditions. Many faculty don’t want to “bother” Guild Officers, so we don’t necessarily hear about all of your needs. We want to be more responsive to those needs, and we hope our division steward model will make this happen. With increased participation we can have a greater impact on the future of our college.
So, later this fall when you are approached by a Guild Officer, remember what they are asking: don’t you want a stronger union? Don’t you want a faculty guild that can do more to advocate for your needs? Do you want your union to be more responsive to your needs? If your answer is “yes,” then consider taking that step. Think about becoming a division steward. Become part of the ever-growing community that is OUR faculty Guild.
President, Glendale College Guild
|Glendale College Guild