New faculty welcomed by AFTers bearing gifts
By Katharine Harer, AFT Strategic Campaign Initiative Organizer
Our campaign to meet and welcome new faculty hires is off to a great start. Strategic Campaign Initiative Organizers, Katharine Harer and Michelle Kern, have created a snazzy new packet of materials especially for newly hired faculty members. The packet includes a folder of ten colorful cards (shown in photo), each outlining in accessible language issues and questions that faculty may have about their rights and working
conditions; a flyer explaining our Committee on Political Education (COPE); and a revamped AFT 1493 membership form and welcome letter.
Starting in the beginning of the fall semester, Katharine interviewed a number of full and part time faculty members on all three campuses and elicited quotes and stories from each of them about the value of our union. These inspiring quotes along with each faculty member’s photo appear at the top of each piece of the new literature, giving our members a voice in speaking for the union.
Together Katharine and Michelle conceptualized what they thought would be helpful for faculty. Michelle, an art instructor at CSM, did all of the design work in close consultation with Katharine, and they both worked on the writing and research necessary to produce these informative pieces. The goal was to make each piece attractive and useful, and the response so far has been incredibly positive.
As Katharine and Michelle travel our three colleges meeting with as many newer faculty as possible, they come bearing gifts: everyone receives a beautiful red tote bag with the union’s new logo displayed on the front (also designed by the talented Michelle). Tucked inside each tote bags are the new materials described above along with some AFT swag, a few treats for tired teachers, and one of our newly designed bright red AFT 1493 t-shirts. (See tote bag and t-shirt in photo below.)
AFT 1493 has a face, many faces in fact, and we are enjoying getting out there to meet and welcome all of you. Some examples of the faculty quotes and photos are shown below.
I have to catch myself when I start thinking that I’m lucky to have benefits and job security because it’s really the vigilance and organized power of our union that makes that possible.
— Michael Hoffman, FT Math, Canada
I was part time for twenty-seven years. Fifteen years into it, I read in The Advocate that part timers could apply for unemployment, and a light went on. I called the Union office and found out about the process to apply and how I should present myself. For years I applied and received seasonal unemployment insurance.
— Lavinia Zanassi, FT Career Services Center
When I’d been part time at CSM for about five years and had accrued some seniority, one semester I didn’t receive my full load. I went to the union office and got immediate help, clarifying my seniority status. I learned from that experience that I had the right to advocate for myself.
— Lisa Suguitan Melnick, PT ESL & Kinesiology, CSM