Nov. 2015 Advocate: Feet on the ground, working for Board candidates


Feet on the ground, working for Board candidates

By Katharine Harer, AFT 1493 Co-Vice President & Strategic Campaign Initiative (SCI) Lead Organizer

We’ve have had our feet literally on the ground this month, stumping for Maurice Goodman to become a new member of our Board of Trustees and working for our two incumbent Board members, Dave Mandelkern & Karen Schwarz, as well.  We’ve phone banked with the San Mateo County Labor Council, precinct walked in Daly City with the Jefferson Elementary teachers’ union, and we’ve set up tables at Skyline and CSM to talk to students, staff and faculty about the importance of this election.  Some of you have volunteered to help with these activities, and we thank you from the bottom of our feet.  We’ve helped the Jefferson teachers by promoting their Board candidate, Renato Beltran, and they’ve done the same for us.  We love working with the Jefferson Elementary teachers!

Board of Trustees candidate Maurice Goodman (2nd from left) did phone banking at the San Mateo County Labor Council along with his daughters, Destiny and Haley, and his wife, Martina (at right)

Part-Time Faculty Campus Equity Week
The last week of October is a national week of action to bring awareness to the issues of part-time faculty in higher education.  Fellow SCI organizer Michelle Kern and I are focusing on getting out the word about the improved PT medical reimbursement stipend, giving out information to PT faculty and encouraging them to sign up for the stipend, which the union fought to increase from $600/semester to $1000/semester for the next three semesters.

We will be outside Building 15 at College of San Mateo, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday, the 27th, 28th & 29th, with information about our campaign to sign up more PT faculty for the medical stipend and helpful tips for signing up.  Come see us and let us know what you’d like to see for the future of adjunct health benefits in the District!

Community Connections Survey:  Help Us!
You have recently received an electronic survey from the union that will help us forge stronger ties between public higher education and the people who we serve.  This is a Quick, Easy, No Fuss questionnaire – you can bang it out in under 10 minutes! Those of you who are involved in organizations, community groups, churches, etc. please share a bit of information with us, and thank you in advance for helping our union become more connected.

Expanding Our Union’s Community Work
Our workplace conditions are our students’ learning conditions and vice versa.  Everyone has noticed that the price of housing has gone up astronomically in San Mateo County, while wages have stayed flat or low for working people.  Many teachers in our schools, both K-12 and community college, have found it difficult, or impossible, to live near where they teach.  At the same time, gentrification has hit our students and their families, and our communities are vulnerable to a lack of housing and displacement.  With issues like these on the front burner, we’ve been meeting with leaders from community groups, especially from the north county, and also with union members from Jefferson High School and Jefferson Elementary, to talk about forming a coalition to bring these strands together to address the challenges we face.