If you haven’t yet, get out there tomorrow and vote for your union leadership! Find info about polling places here.
This election is already unprecedented in the history of our local as the first truly contested election statewide. We want the turnout to be historic, as well. Thousands of members turning out to participate should be the norm, not a once-in-history exception.
While AWDU has been working hard to make the contest one about substance–about the democratic functioning and the strength of our union–things have been getting heated and personal. The range of attacks against AWDU ranges from us being a clique of humanities students trying to disenfranchise scientists to being racist.
But when AWDU activists talk with students in the sciences about the election and we hear that they still don’t even know we have a union, it’s clear to us that the current practices of our local are what disenfranchises members because of the lack of member education and outreach. And on the charges of racism we agree that the union needs to do much more to reach out to, support and partner with the organizing efforts of students of color and we believe that our platform and commitment to recent struggles against racism on our campus and in our community are the best answer we can give. Here’s an even better response from four women of color AWDU activists at UCLA.
AWDU wants to do more to make sure the needs of every community of our membership are heard and we believe the way to do that is by creating a democratic union where every member has a voice, not one where dissent is shouted down. The incumbent leadership, in the name of USEJ, first attacks us for being divisive, then tries to incite science students to vote against a “humanities clique.” AWDU believes we need to hear and learn from the different needs and experiences of all our members, across geographic, disciplinary, gender and racial divides if we are going to find ways to come together and fight together.
This election is already changing the dynamic of our local, here are some of the stories coming out of it:
“California Grad Students Seek a Bottom-Up Union” on Labor Notes, by Chris Schildt and Mandy Cohen
“UC academic student employees set to vote in heated election” in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, by Tovin Lapan
“Union needs internal democracy” in the UCLA Daily Bruin, by Kyle Arnone, Renee Hudson, Dustianne North and Julia Tomassetti
And check out UCLA AWDU’s blog for some amazing pieces on their struggle for union democracy against an increasingly aggressive leadership, including the above mentioned post, “Invisible Women of Color”