February 2020 Advocate: Contract Action Team


Contract Action Team organizing faculty to fight for a fair contract

by Jessica Silver-Sharp, AFT 1493 Secretary, Katharine Harer, AFT 1493 Vice President & Rika Yonemura-Fabian, Skyline AFT Chapter Co-Chair

Last summer, as contract negotiations were showing little progress, AFT formed a Contract Action Team (CAT.) CAT consists of rank-and-file union members and union officers who encourage faculty activism and build momentum through grass-roots organizing in our campaign to win the fair contract all faculty deserve.

At our January Flex Day, groups of CAT members in red T-shirts spoke with faculty across the District, distributing RED for ED Pledge Cards, asking faculty to commit to actions they’d be willing to take. More than 120 responses helped CAT gauge the temperature of faculty for escalated actions. The top responses were “Join a Rally” and “Join Social Justice Teach-Ins.” Many members also checked off options focused on withholding our labor, including a strike.

The month of January saw the District’s negotiators flaking out on their commitment to bargain in good faith. They arrived at bargaining sessions unprepared; they excused one session three hours early; they canceled another session altogether. All signs point to their continued unwillingness to take faculty needs seriously.

Skyline faculty discuss actions to support AFT’s contract campaign at the Feb. 5th Solidarity Hour


Amping up the pressure on the District

We’re reviving T-shirt days: Wear your RedforEd AFT T-shirts every Wednesday!  On February 5, close to 100 members showed up for Union Solidarity Hours at all three campuses. We discussed future actions that demonstrate faculty power, such as Work to Rule, honoring only those obligations outlined by our contract, Walk Outs and Strikes. Faculty also signed super-sized New Year’s Resolution cards to Chancellor Claire, to be delivered in person when we again rally en masse at the Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting, Wednesday, February 26 at 6pm. While Chancellor Claire and our Trustees don’t personally negotiate our contract, they certainly have the ability to influence those who do.

As we all know, our students’ learning conditions are closely connected with our working conditions. That’s why we’ve invited students to rally in solidarity with their teachers at the February 26 BOT meeting. CAT members have begun speaking at student government meetings, at club days and other venues. We encourage you to speak with your students. (You can print this flyer, “Why Are SMCCD Faculty Fighting for a Fair Contract?” and share it with your students.)

Help union leaders escalate our campaign and grow our network of activists!

• Attend CAT’s weekly organizing meeting by phone or with your colleagues at the AFT office at CSM.
• Be a part of the process to win this fight! The next CAT meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 19, 2-4.
• Contact your campus AFT Chair to get involved and get the number to call in.
Attend the Board of Trustees meeting, Wednesday, February 26!