February 2022 Advocate: Building AFT’s Contract Action Team network

Organizing faculty power

Don’t mourn – organize!
Building our Contract Action Team network, department by department

By Katharine Harer, AFT 1493 Co-V.P. & CAT Co-chair, with Rika Yonemura-Fabian, AFT 1493 Skyline College Chapter Co-Chair

Our union just launched a new member-to-member Contract Action Team (CAT) outreach drive, with the goal of strengthening our ability to engage and turn out members for our upcoming contract campaign. A solid group of dedicated faculty members attended the CAT Retreat on Friday, February 4th. We met in Zoom breakout rooms by campus and worked closely together to identify potential leaders in every department. Then we came back together as a whole group to talk about the next step: contacting these department leaders and asking them to join the Contract Action Team. What are we asking each department leader to do? Reach out to another 10 colleagues and relay up-to-date information from our union, and invite them to attend organizing meetings and collective actions in support of a fair contract. These leaders have existing connections within their departments and will help forge new links in a chain of faculty engagement and activism!

We’re holding introductory meetings for our new CAT members on three different days:  Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2-3 p.m, Thursday, Feb. 24, 4-5 p.m. & Friday, Feb. 25, 10-11 a.m.  and we’ll meet individually with anyone who can’t make those meeting times.

By building our organizing networks, we strengthen our capacity to win the working conditions we deserve — and the learning conditions our students deserve!