Joining Labor Council reaps benefits
Recently elected president, Frank Post has served in a variety of positions within the Southwestern College Education Association in Chula Vista since 2003. He is an Adapted Computer Technology specialist who finds great joy in union activism. Here’s what he has to say about that union work.
Tell us about your path to becoming president of the Southwestern College Education Association?
I became involved in the union leadership in 2003 and have held various positions – I’ve been treasurer, served on the negotiations team and grievance chair. I was lead negotiator and was vice president two or three times. Last year, I felt it was time to step up. I have a union background. My father was a teamster in Chicago so in my mind, I’ve experienced a blue collar, union family household.
Your chapter has joined the local Labor Council?
We’re part of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council. They are focused on politics and advocacy, volunteer events and helping to support union actions. The best way to put it is it’s a synergy. We are not duplicating efforts and we are putting our resources into one larger pot to achieve overall greater things. It’s been very beneficial to our union. Through the Labor Council, we’ve gotten involved in the Center on Policy Initiatives and I now serve on the Students for Economic Justice Steering Committee. The program provides a paid summer internship where up to a dozen students train on how to become organizers. I’ve recommended a student from our college and if she’s accepted it will be the first one ever from our college. This program is a way we can identify and train labor organizers while they are young.
What’s been your greatest challenge as president?
I’d say learning to deal more effectively with the administration has been a challenge. I’ve had to put a lot of time and energy and taking a look at myself and how I communicate with people across the table, whether it’s at the negotiating table or sitting at the campus leadership meetings. But so far, it’s been successful.
What’s been some of the chapter’s achievements?
We’ve really made inroads on behalf of our part-time faculty this year, such as getting paid office hours, eight hours a year of paid flex time, improving our vesting language, making sure people get the same number of classes they’ve had in the past. I think moving things forward for our part-time faculty in such a short span has been tremendous. It’s been a team effort so I’m happy about that. We’ve also expanded our union leadership and have more people serving on committees and in leadership roles than we ever have had in the past.