May 2016 Advocate: SCI organizers complete very successful year


SCI organizers complete very successful year, look to more outreach and activism next year

By Katharine Harer, AFT 1493 Co-Vice President & Strategic Campaign Initiative Organizer and Michelle Kern, CSM Chapter Chair & Strategic Campaign Initiative Organizer

Katharine Harer & Michelle Kern are wrapping up a busy year on the Strategic Campaign Initiative (SCI) organizing grant project.  We’ll give you a brief idea of what we’ve been doing this semester, but first here’s a newsflash:  Our local was awarded the SCI matching grant from CFT for a third year in a row!  Katharine wrote a new grant for the coming academic year with a focus on working with community organizations and continuing our member outreach, and we got it!  We must be doing something right.

Organizing Field Trip to Fresno

In mid-April Katharine and Michelle were asked to join a team of SCI organizers from around the state to help the State Center Federation of Teachers, the community college union in Fresno, sign up new union members.  We worked diligently on several different campuses–Fresno City College, Reedly College, Clovis College and Madera College–to talk to mostly part-time teachers, and we were successful in making some good connections and increasing the union’s membership.  Their big issue coming up in bargaining is paid office hours for part-time faculty.  It felt good to tell them that our union fought for that issue, and although it took some time, we did eventually win and it has made a huge difference for our part-time teachers.

Part Time Appreciation Day at CSM

Michelle worked with other union activists in collaboration with Theresa Martin, Professional Development Coordinator and Biology Professor, to organize a successful Part-Timer Appreciation event on May 12th at CSM.  More than 20 faculty members showed up and enjoyed the conversation and the treats.  CSM President, Mike Clare, Sandra Comerford, Vice President of Instruction, and Board of Trustee member, Maurice Goodman, also came to show their appreciation of hard working part-time faculty.

Workload Equity Campaign

We’ve been putting our shoulders to the wheel and our mouths to the telephones and, along with other Executive Committee members and CFT staff, we’ve held conversations with over 90 faculty in the past several weeks about the union’s workload equity campaign.  We learned just how many of us are impacted by the increasing load of non-teaching duties, and as a result of this 1:1 outreach, nearly 60 supporters showed up at the Board of Trustees meeting on May 11th to listen to five faculty members talk about the need for Workload Equity. (See story, page 1) With the mentorship and wisdom of our CFT colleagues, Paul Bissember, Laura Kurre & Zev Kvitsky, we are learning just how impactful it is to talk to each of you about issues that concern us all.  We are also continuing to get faculty to sign the Workload Equity petition, so don’t be surprised if you see us at your door before school is out.