Report from Executive Board Meeting, November 19 2011

Report from the Executive Board, November 19, 2011On Saturday, November 19, 2011, the Executive Board held its monthly meeting at UC Riverside. Every month we hold an in-person meeting, rotating among UC campuses in Northern and Southern California in order to make our meetings accessible to the membership. Following is a report. Members are welcome to email recording@uaw2865.org for a copy of the full minutes.

Approval of decisions made by email and conference call

We approved a number of decisions made by email or by phone call between our October and November in-person meetings. For a full list of these decisions, click here: [insert link]

Statewide Action Updates

During this agenda item, we discussed several statewide projects currently underway. We are gathering signatures on a petition in support of unionization rights for Research Assistants in California. We found that a few campuses have collected many signatures, while the energies of other campuses have been focused on other actions, including the Refund California and Occupy Wall Street actions in November. We discussed efforts to recruit more members on the campuses, finding that though more members were recruited at a variety of campuses, UC Santa Cruz is the only campus that saw an increase in the percentage of members. While understanding that the months of October and November were taken up with other projects, we decided to put more energy into encouraging campuses to prioritize membership recruitment. Sara Smith, Northern Vice President, agreed to convene a statewide committee of elected leadership (not just Executive Board members) to come up with a strategy to recruit more members.

We also received a brief update about the status of the Workload survey. It’s currently in draft form. The workload committee has extended the deadline for finalizing the survey to provide for additional feedback by elected leadership and active members, with the goal of finalizing and printing the survey by the beginning of next quarter/semester.

We then moved on to a discussion of the ReFund California actions of the previous few weeks. The ReFund coalition consists of community organizations, students, and unions throughout California. Its primary project is to increase taxes on the wealthy to refund public education and social services in California. UAW 2865 has become an active member of this coalition. Statewide, UAW 2865 has been heavily focused on organizing actions, including a Day of Action on November 9th and a mobilization to protest the UC Regents’ meeting at UCSF-Mission Bay on November 16th. Members of the Executive Board were both very inspired and exhausted from weeks of organizing actions. In response to police brutality at UC Berkeley against UAW 2865 members, students, workers and faculty, where the police beat nonviolent protesters with batons, sending several to the hospital, UC Berkeley called for a general strike on November 15th. The campus experienced one of the largest mass mobilizations in recent history, with thousands participating in actions throughout the day. At UC Davis, police indiscriminately pepper sprayed non-violent protesters, and in response UC Davis UAW 2865 and other activists called for a massive statewide day of action and general strike for November 28th, the day the UC Regents’ had rescheduled their meeting for. We agreed to focus a great deal of energy the following week to organizing four simultaneous actions at the campuses where the UC Regents’ were meeting by teleconference – UC Davis, UC Merced, UC San Francisco, and UC Los Angeles.

As a next step, we discussed the possibility of holding an in-person Refund coalition meeting in conjunction with a Joint Council and Statewide Membership meeting in January to discuss where to from here. We also discussed and generally were supportive of UAW 2865’s involvement in the Progressive Tax Alliance, another coalition dedicated specifically to putting an initiative on the California ballot in November of 2012 to raise taxes on the super-wealthy.

UAW 2865’s Printing Policy, Working with Statewide Office Staff, Financial Report

We passed the following motion: For all printing jobs above 250, we either send the job to a union printer OR make the copies using volunteer time. All print jobs above 250 should either say ‘labor donated’ or have the union bug at the bottom.

We further discussed ways we can work with statewide office staff, after having had conversations with staff about their workload over the past few weeks, especially in light of all of the activity around the Refund and Occupy actions. Among other things, we agreed to have one point person through whom all projects are relayed, to avoid confusion and overwork, and we agreed that we’d have one secondary point person to work on projects with staff. Charlie Eaton, Financial Secretary, agreed to be that primary point person, and Cheryl Deutsch, President of the local, agreed to be the secondary point person. (note: since then Mandy Cohen, Recording Secretary, has agreed to be the secondary point person for the next couple of months)

Regarding the local’s finances, we recognized that we’ve had some extraordinary expenses over the last month relating to the Refund California Campaign, including heavy printing costs and costs relating to posting bail for arrested protesters. However, we were under our projected budget on other items, including tuition reimbursement. Our budget has evened out as a result and we’re on target to meet our budgetary goals for the year. Members interested in receiving a detailed financial report can email Charlie Eaton at financial@uaw2865.org or Mandy Cohen at recording@uaw2865.org.

We are also continuing to work on a participatory budgeting project, in which each campus membership reviews the financial reports and determines what their needs are. Charlie Eaton, the local’s financial secretary, sent out a memo about participatory budgeting to the Joint Council email list for discussion at each campuses’ November and December monthly membership meetings, the goal being to finalize something at January’s Joint Council meeting.

Reflection on Past Six Months

We discussed what we’ve done well and how we thought we could improve our work as the Executive Board since we were newly elected last Spring. We were thrilled at our ability to mobilize to defend public education, but felt we could put more energy into capacity building within our union, drawing on our successful organizing of the past couple of months. Capacity building includes membership recruitment, new steward recruitment, skills sharing, organizer trainings, etc. Also, the need to balance our work in the pubic education movement with enforcing our union contract was raised.

Legal Update, Joint Council Excuses Policy, Joint Council Travel Reimbursement Policy, Executive Board Staffing

We discussed the numerous arrests of activists at actions in previous weeks and our local’s role in bailing out arrested protesters, recognizing the need to develop a budget in advance that plans for UAW 2865’s role in posting bail. Brenda Medina-Hernandez, Trustee, and Mandy Cohen, Recording Secretary, are working on an Excuses Policy for when elected leadership miss Joint Council meetings (in our union’s bylaws the Executive Board is tasked with the responsibility of excusing these absences). We also discussed a few individual cases of elected leadership missing two Joint Council meetings without requesting excused absences. As the meeting was running late, Trustee Kyle Arnone agreed to email out a proposal regarding funding travel to Joint Council meetings which allows people to fly if the flight is cheaper and equivalent to the cost of traveling by car.

Currently there are three Executive Board members on staff for the local: Elliott Kim, Southern Vice President; Sara Smith, Northern Vice President; and Cheryl Deutsch, President. Next quarter neither Sara Smith nor Elliott Kim will be on staff. Cheryl will be. Kyle Arnone has expressed an interest in possibly being on staff for 10 hours/week. No final decisions were made.

-end-

Note: if you’d like to see the full minutes, email recording@uaw2865.org. This report covers just the main issues discussed during the meeting.

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