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Voting for democracy and a better life

In the leadup to the midterm elections, pundits predicted a red wave, even a tsunami, based on polls, historical precedent, and steep gas and grocery prices. But I had my doubts. I spent the weeks before the elections talking to voters and traveling on the AFT Votes bus, rolling through a dozen states with more than 50 stops. In a year when kitchen table issues, democracy and our freedoms were on the ballot, many people told me that the elections came down to a choice between, on the one side, election deniers and extremists stoking fear, and on the other, problem-solvers working to help the country move forward. Many races were close, but Americans turned the tide from a red wave to a swell of support for progress and problem-solvers. Read the full column here.

Sharing more pathways to student debt relief

As the landscape of student debt shifts, and more and more opportunities allow borrowers to have their debt relieved, the AFT is using every avenue to ensure that the word is out. In affiliate meetings, telephone town halls, media coverage and social media, the union is spreading the news, and at a student debt clinic at AFT headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 31, AFT President Randi Weingarten vowed to reach as many people as possible with information that could save them tens—and sometimes hundreds—of thousands of dollars.

Celebrating student loan relief

“It was like waking up and learning you won the lottery.” That’s just one of the comments flooding the AFT offices from members who are elated to be free of student debt at last. After relentless advocacy, including an AFT lawsuit against former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program that was so broken is finally doing what it is supposed to do: delivering relief from student debt for thousands of borrowers. So far, $6.2 billion in student debt has been forgiven for 100,000 public service workers like teachers, nurses and professors.

Rally for a Thriving Wage ahead of first 2022 Negotiations Meeting

AFT Local 1789 members will gather Mon, Feb 7, 11am-1pm at Seattle Central's South Plaza to Rally for a Thriving Wage, demanding a 40% salary increase to thrive in Seattle's high-cost of living and calling for an open, democratic bargaining process.

The next day (Tues, Feb 8), the first negotiations meeting between the AFT 1789 Negotiations Team and Seattle Colleges' negotiators will take place from 3:30-5pm via zoom. The agenda includes: introductions, scheduling of future negotiation sessions, and discussing AFT's demand that joint sessions are open to all faculty members to attend.

NEWS ARTICLE: "As Strike Looms, UC Lecturers Raise the Stakes"

Here's an article about the the power of open negotiations: "As Strike Looms, UC Lecturers Raise the Stakes" (LaborNotes, 11/1/2021)

The union representing lecturers, UC-AFT, voted 96% in favor of strike authorization this summer, which gives them much needed leverage during an impasse with management. With negotiations with the university system in their final stages, the union's use of open bargaining has been especially inspiring -- nearly 400 members and supporters tuned in!

Local Candidate Endorsements from AFT 1789 for Nov 2 Election

Election Day is Tues, Nov 2. As you may remember, our union went through an endorsement process before this year's primary elections. Good news! All our endorsed candidates made it through to the general election. We wanted to remind everyone of our endorsements as we get to the final stages of what is looking to be quite a close election. We hope that everyone votes, and that you consider your fellow union members, our students, and our working conditions when you do.

American Federation of Teachers Local 1789, representing faculty of the Seattle College District, is proud to make the following endorsements in this year’s elections:

Lorena Gonzalez for Mayor

Teresa Mosqueda for Seattle City Council Position 8

Nikkita Oliver for Seattle City Council Position 9

We know that these candidates are and will continue to be strong advocates for the needs of our members, our students, our community, and our siblings in organized labor. We look forward to working with them to fight for better working and living conditions in our city.

New appointment to District Grievance Chair

An update from AFT Seattle 1789 President:

Libby Schoene has been appointed to the District Grievance Chair position. Many thanks to Libby for stepping up and bringing her union experience to the job. Libby will assist the campus grievance chairs and other officers who are contacted by faculty with concerns.  

North and Central are still looking for a grievance chair at last report. If you like the idea of assisting faculty and upholding our contract, this could be the role for you!