December 2022 Advocate: AFT-CSEA solidarity lunch events


Members of AFT and CSEA meet for solidarity lunches at all three campuses to share each others’ workplace issues and plan how to support each other to win fair contracts for all

We asked members of both AFT and CSEA who attended solidarity lunches at Cañada College and CSM on Monday, Dec. 5 and at Skyline College on Wednesday, Dec. 7 to describe their experiences at the events. Below are their comments:

“I attended the solidarity lunches with CSEA at CSM and Skyline.  At both campuses, the energy and spirit to work together was very strong.  We asked AFT & CSEA folks to sit together and share their thoughts about their working conditions.  I think everyone learned about the other union workers’ issues, and we realized that we are all being treated unfairly by the District in many different areas. I hope that this will mark the beginning of a stronger relationship between our two unions so we can join forces to win the contracts we all deserve.  It felt very good to join together with my CSEA colleagues, who I have always respected, and who work very hard for faculty and students.  Let’s keep this momentum going and show the District that they can’t divide us. Together we can win so much more for all of us — the folks who do the work!”

– Katharine Harer, AFT 1493 Co-Vice President & Outreach Organizer

“I have been employed here for 25 years and I am so happy that we are finally joining forces, we all deserve to be treated fairly because we are making less than we can afford. The cost of living is out of control. ☹”

– Gina Arrospide, CSM, Math|Science Division Assistant

“In everything that we advocate, UNITY is the key to success. Let us continue working with our CSEA brothers and sisters to gain more traction!”

– Elaine Francisco, Skyline College, ECE Professor

“It was really informative getting to attend the AFT-CSEA solidarity lunch.  This was a great forum to brainstorm about how to improve work conditions for all of us.  I’m really grateful to be part of this organization that is advocating on our behalf.”

– Darren McKay, Skyline College, Retention Specialist – Dual Enrollment, Strategic Partnerships & Workforce Development

“As a member of both unions, it was an inspiring experience to come together to be part of something bigger.”

– Jamie Hui, Cañada College, Business, Design and Workforce Division, Program Services Coordinator/Instructor

“It was fabulous!  As a “red shirt,” I was instructed to sit at a “blue shirt” table, and I sat with Jose and Ryan.  What struck me was that we share many of the same concerns, and not all of them are huge problems, but solving them would contribute to our work quality of life.  I heard about drain flies and the lack of hot water in the restrooms in building 19.  Sounds similar to library issues- during the heat wave in September, Building 5 had no air conditioning.  Despite comparing problems, it was great to place a name with a face and to meet more of the team members at Skyline.”

– Mary Torres-Volken, Skyline College, Libarian

“I appreciated being included as a CSEA member to the shared lunch meeting of the AFT and CSEA unions. I think our collaboration when negotiating both our contracts is an asset for both unions. We have shared interests and objectives as employees who are interested in having a better quality of life which speaks directly to working conditions and pay. Together we are stronger.”

– Joan Marie Murphy, Cañada College, Humanities & Social Sciences, Division Assistant

“As faculty, I really appreciated getting to have conversations with classified staff about their working conditions. It surprised me to learn that classified staff get no release time to hold important roles at our college. This means people, like our dear CSEA president Ros Young, end up working about 60 hours a week with no additional pay.” 

– Ellen Young, Cañada College, Biology Professor & Faculty Flex Day Coordinator

“I learned something talking to members in the other union and they learned something from us! It’s amazing how little we knew of each other’s struggles. I also liked the Mediterranean food. Thanks for putting on this event.

– Sue Broxholm, Skyline College, Math Professor

“Thanks for the invitations to these joint meetings. We need to work together.” 

– Linda Ma, CSM, Business|Technology, Instructional Aide II