In solidarity with the national #ScholarStrike and with work stoppages undertaken by professional athletes to support the Movement for Black Lives, AFT 1493’s virtual Teach-In —

“Social Justice Unionism in Practice:
From Part-Time Pay Parity to Anti-Oppression Organizing”

was held Thursday, Sept 10Over 170 students, faculty members, staff and community supporters attended. Together we’re building solidarity for fair treatment of part-time faculty and confirming our commitment to racial and gender justice for SMCCD faculty, students and our communities.

View recordings of plenary session:

Plenary session featuring Kolo Wamba, Gustavo Lopez and Sarah Harmon:

View Kolo Wamba, Skyline College, former Part-time & new Full-time Physics Professor and
Gustavo Lopez, Organizer, Change South San Francisco, and Faculty Coordinator, SFSU Metro Academy:

View Sarah Harmon, Cañada College part-time Spanish professor and AFT 1493 member, speak on the conditions of part-time faculty and the need for equity:

Breakout sessions

View Breakout session 1: Part-time compensation as a systemic social inequity / the “two-tier system” :

In session 1, Maryam Khan, adjunct faculty in Engineering at Skyline, called for reform to District policies that limit access to healthcare for part-time faculty. [Jump directly to Maryam Khan speaking in video] Timothy Rottenberg, Skyline Middle College adjunct faculty member, session facilitator, shared a chart graphing salaries of part-time faculty at Bay Area community colleges. [Jump directly to Timothy Rottenberg in video] Lyft drivers Alan Franklin and Edan Alva described the oppressive conditions of gig work and why it is critical to vote “No” on California’s Proposition 22, which would take away job protections, like sick leave, health benefits, and minimum wages. [Jump directly to Alan Franklin in video] [Jump directly to Edan Alva in video]

View Breakout session 2: Organizing in our workplaces and communities NOW:

In the second breakout session, a number of young activists discussed how local organizing can make gains against injustice—in the workplace and beyond. From union campaigns in fast food and gig work, to grassroots efforts to defund the police, to insurgent electoral campaigns like the one that sent Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Congress, recent years have shown that local organizing can stand up to powerful, entrenched interests. But what makes organizing successful?

Breakout session 3: Racial and gender justice in the union, our campuses and our communities:

In session 3, Masao Suzuki, Economics professor at Skyline College, talked about the importance of having a strong union to protect faculty who fight for racial and economic fairness. He described his own experience when he lost a teaching job because he stood up for a colleague of color and there was no union to defend him. He said he was grateful to come to our District where he knew he could speak up for what he believed in and couldn’t be punished because the union had his back. (Llisten to Masao SuzukiDanielle Powell, Skyline Speech-Communications professor, showed a moving video of some of the women in the Women’s Mentoring and Leadership Academy (WMLA), a program she founded at Skyline to empower women students. She went on to talk about the “emotional labor” of giving complete and compassionate support to students, labor which is unpaid and often unseen by administrators. She noted that women often perform this type of emotional labor and that it isn’t captured in our contract or our evaluation procedures, but it should be. (Listen to Danielle Powell)  Former Cañada College Black Student Union President, Dontario Beverly, spoke powerfully about the ongoing trauma that exists in the Black community. He made the point that our Black students don’t have enough role models among professors on our campuses because the vast majority of the teaching staff is White — and that this needs to change. He called on the district to put its money where its mouth is and work harder for true equity for students of color. (Listen to Dontario BeverlyChris Collins, Skyline College History professor, began by telling his own story. He was taught by his parents to hide his hurt and stuff his feelings about unfairness and discrimination. He learned as he grew older that he had to “share the hurt” rather than hide it. Collins recounted an anecdote about his own schooling when he worked full time while he was a community college student. One of his teachers locked the door on him because he was a few minutes late to class – late because he had worked the graveyard shift the night before. When he knocked on the locked door, his teacher turned his back on him. At that point, he decided, “higher education wasn’t built for someone like me.” Collins went on to talk about “the pain inside higher education.” (Listen to Chris Collins)

Connect the Teach-In to your course content with a relevant assignment related to social justice issues. Choose from any of the exciting curriculum ideas provided here or develop your own.

We held the Teach-In to support our contract bargaining demands for part-time faculty, and to build solidarity on race, gender and labor issues among faculty, staff, students and our local communities.  The Teach-In featured a powerful group of speakers and panelists, including many of your respected colleagues and local community organizers. See full schedule below.

Click here to download the flyer as a PDF file


Schedule and speakers

Plenary  (noon-12:30)

Welcome: Kolo Wamba, Skyline College, Physics, former Part-time & new Full-time Professor

Keynote Speakers:

  • Sarah Harmon, Cañada College, Spanish, Part-time Professor
  • Gustavo Lopez, Organizer, Change South San Francisco, and Faculty Coordinator, SFSU Metro Academy

Concurrent Sessions (12:30-2pm):

Session 1:  Part-Time Compensation as a systemic social inequity / the “two-tier system”

Panel discussion:

  • Timothy Rottenberg, Skyline Middle College, US Government and Economics, Part-time Professor
  • Kolo Wamba, Skyline College, Physics, former Part-time & new Full-time Professor
  • Maryam Khan, Skyline College, Engineering, Part-time Professor
  • Alan Franklin, Lyft Driver / Organizer with We Drive Progress
  • Nigel Hawkins, Student, Cañada College, Library part-time worker
  • Hannah Hersey, Student, CSM, Library and Peer Tutor part-time worker

Session 2: Organizing in our workplaces and communities NOW!

Panel discussion:

  • James Coleman, member of Change SSF and candidate for SSF City Council
  • Alfredo Olguin, Jr., member of Change SSF, former SMCCD Student Trustee
  • Kanani Cortez, member of Change SSF
  • Sam Avila Gomez, member of Change SSF
  • Liliana Rivera, member of Change SSF
  • Fiona Marten, Burgerville fast food unionization campaign
  • Valarie Bachelor, organizer, California Federation of Teachers and California child care workers unionization campaign

Session 3: Racial & Gender Justice in the union, our campuses & our communities

Panel discussion:

  • Danielle Powell, Skyline College, Full-time Communication Studies Professor
  • Malathi Iyengar, College of San Mateo, Full-time Ethnic Studies Professor
  • Christopher Collins, Skyline College, Part-time History Professor
  • Masao Suzuki, Skyline College, Full-time Economics Professor
  • Dontario Beverly, Former president of Cañada College BSU

2:00-3:00:  Adjunct Faculty: Lived experiences and sharing stories in a safe space just for adjunct faculty
(Facilitators: Suji Venkataraman, Skyline College, Education/Child Development, Adjunct Professor, and Annie Corbett, Cañada College and Skyline College, Psychology, Adjunct Professor)