Good morning Rio Hondo Family! I hope you were able to get away, recharge, and look forward to this new academic year. Dr. Reyes and newly hired faculty, welcome to our family. Over the summer, I had the pleasure of working closely with our Senate President, Kevin Smith. I also had the pleasure of meeting with Dr. Reyes and with our board members Rosaelva Lomeli and Oscar Valladares. It is a great feeling to know that all of us have the same goal, to provide the best education possible to our students. I know we will not always agree on the how, but having the same passion to serve our students makes me optimistic.
We have a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. We got a raise. We don’t hear that very often. The new contract also cleans up some language and inconsistencies and codified some processes. Is it perfect, of course not, but it reaffirms the importance of having a collective bargaining unit working to maintain fair working conditions for our faculty.
As the Janus case made its way through last year I remembered a conversation I had with one of my uncles one November afternoon. He asked me when I was going to vote. I told him I probably wouldn’t because I had too many other things to do. In a very passionate tone he asked me, “Do you realize how many people are willing to sacrifice their lives for the opportunity to have a voice?” You’re lucky to live in this country. You do a disservice to those that came before you by dismissing such an important responsibility.
I wasn’t around when African American’s, Native Americans or women were not allowed to vote. But the fact that I didn’t live through it, should not diminish how important the right to vote is. Right about now you may be asking “what does this have to do with the Janus case?”
Before organized labor, factory workers died due to unsafe working conditions, men, women and children were exploited. The early labor organizers faced physical attacks, some were killed, others lost their homes to vandals hired by those that opposed organized labor. I wasn’t there, but that shouldn’t diminish the sacrifices that were made by those that suffered for what we now enjoy, and perhaps take for granted.
I did a little research on who funded Mark Janus in his lawsuit against AFSCME. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has a very nice name. One of their donors includes the Walton Family Foundation, yes Walmart. Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Dunn’s Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking, Donor Capital Fund. I have to ask myself, “why would these organizations funded by some of the richest people in the world, be so interested in Mark Janus?” Maybe you should ask that same question.
Collective bargaining gives workers a larger voice. As an individual, you can take it or leave it. In many industries, that can create an opportunity for abuse. Collective bargaining enforces consistency, both employer and employees are bound by a negotiated contract. Collective bargaining encourages cooperation, employees negotiate a fair paycheck, benefits and a safe working environment, in return employers negotiate consistent productivity. So when you’re being baited into leaving the faculty association, do your research, who’s holding the bait? And if you really want to be brave, try to figure out why you’re being baited. Better yet, become an active member and find out what we do and why we do it. I promise you that I’m not the Faculty Association president because it’s on my bucket list. For those of you that have not gotten to know me, I’m the Faculty Association president because I care. First and foremost, I care about our students. But if faculty is not treated fairly, they’ll leave and our students lose. Please accept my invitation to come to our meetings, they are every third Thursday of every month, the first one is September 19th. First we’ll feed you, then we’ll give you updates on your RHCFA, our local CCA and issues arising out of the sate of California that affects us and our students.
I’m very excited for this upcoming year. Please join me in thanking your dedicated faculty association executive board. I can honestly say, I could not do this job without their help, Past President- Jill Pfeiffer, Vice President- Raquel Flores-Olson, Treasurer- Jeannie Liu, Secretary- Marie Eckstrom, At-Large members-Jose Lara and Joaquin Duran, Part-time Reps- Martha Carreon and Alex Dejean.
Now please help me welcome our newest faculty family members:
Dr. Lizette “Lucha” Arevalo-Chicano/a Studies
Dr. Joanne Choe-Music
Jose Millan – Drafting
Aditi Sapra – Sociology
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