My name is Kevan Antonio Aguilar and I am running for the head steward position in the UC Student-Worker Union, UAW 2865. I am a MA student in Latin American Studies as well as an organizer for our San Diego unit of the UAW.
Since I was a child, I have been involved in union organizing. Raised within a family with four generations of union organizers, I grew up being involved with picket lines and solidarity actions with workers. For the past ten years, I have been involved in community and union organizing both in and out of academia. Before I went to college, I was a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers and a labor organizer with the Industrial Workers of the World. Both my early exposure to unions and my participation in these unions helped develop my belief in direct democratic unionism and community organizing.
While in college, I helped co-found a Chicano student support network at my undergraduate university as well as a student worker solidarity organization which outreached to our campus’s service workers and union members. Currently at UCSD, I am a member of the Raza Graduate Student Association, work as an organizer for the UAW, and am a member of our union’s Anti-Oppression Committee. Over the past year, I sat as the union’s election officer as well as assisted in various actions and outreach for the union. This summer I have participated in our union’s contract bargaining and have continued to assist in our local unit’s mobilization.
As a head steward, I promise to:
- Continue to fight in support of our bargaining demands as determined by our membership.
- Outreach and promote the participation of students of all ethnicities, gender identities, abilities, class backgrounds, sexual preferences, nationalities, and religious beliefs within the union both locally and state-wide.
- Organize workshops for graduate students to become more engaged in the union and to be informed on the ongoing bargaining process with UC management.
- Promote the integration of the Anti-Oppression Committee within our local unit to ensure safe spaces for all graduate students to participate within.
My ambition is to offer an alternative to the bureaucracy affiliated with unions. Our union is only as powerful as its membership. This leaves me to believe that our participation both within and supporting the union is pivotal to the success of the union both on campus and during bargaining agreements. I hope you share my ambitions to make our union stronger and will accept my as your head steward.
Kevan Antonio Aguilar
Thank you for your time and consideration. My name is Amelia Ray and I am a 4th year PhD student in the Chemistry department.
This most recent round of (ongoing) negotiations has made it clear that the issues most important to a typical Academic Student Employee are not being prioritized. Although there are some excellent proposals which have been made in the current round of bargaining, they are being drowned out by completely outlandish requests, such as a sabbatical for TAs, which make us, as a union, look like we are not taking the negotiations seriously.
Contract negotiations are too important to screw up. At stake is the quality of life of our members as they continue their education, and whether our graduate programs will continue to be competitive on a national level. We should be focusing on issues that affect us on a daily basis, including making sure that students in all fields can continue to afford their education.
As an officer, I will focus on issues that will help us move forward on our shared goals. These include, but are not limited to, wage increases for all graduate students to ensure competitive offers from the university, adequate support for families and those students who wish to start a family, campus accessibility including working with our campus to continue to improve the local transit options, and ensuring that the workload for TAs continues to be manageable. Only together can we make progress and I would like to stand up and be your voice.
Thank you for you time and consideration. My name is Jamilah Sabur and I’m running for one of the Head Steward position in UAW 2865. I’m a 3rd year graduate student in Visual Arts. I’ve been a member of the union since 2010, have been involved in membership meetings and devoted many hours to grassroots organizing in different labs on campus and have served as an advocate for grads.
I’m running for the Head Steward position because we need a better contract, not conflict for the sake of conflict. We need to demand things from the University that’s within their power to grant — what’s within their right to grant — such as higher wages, greater benefits, and better working conditions. It is in the university’s own interest to make conditions better, as we cannot attract the best graduate students with subpar compensation. Our current contract is set to expire and the negotiations for a new one have gone on for far too long. We need to show that we are serious and focus on prioritizing issues that benefit all TAs, Tutors, and Readers.