Highlighting benefits of membership in the American Federation of Teachers-Oregon
Time to Reinvest in Public Education Legislature 2011:
January-February 2011 Convention deadlines loom
Torres is 2011 Legislative intern
AFT members hold key legislative posts
Rives to Legislative Committee: Faculty must be included in any higher education restructuring process
Kanaan shows “art” of teaching tolerance and understanding
“Civil War Brew-Off” raises food 7 and funds for food banks
Register today for Lobby Day
Portland French School found in violation of NLRA
Elect your own boss
Time to start thinking about 2011 AFT-Oregon Convention Federation News Vol. 11, No. 1 January-February 2011 Federation News is published six times annually by AFTOregon, AFT, AFL-CIO, 7035 SW Hampton Street, Tigard, Oregon 97223. David Rives, President Mark Schwebke, Executive Vice-President Rodger Gamblin, Secretary Ruth Kosto, Treasurer Louise Currin, Vice-President Political Action VICE-PRESIDENTS Sam Bernofsky Angela Brandt Kelly Cowan Ed Degrauw Deborah Hall Bernadette Kapocias Emily Plec Belinda Reagan B.J. Walker Joel Yoder LIAISONS (without vote) Val Jack, Retiree Chapter Linda Rohman, Local 5017, Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals Bonnie Luisi, Local 6732, Oregon School Employees Association Richard Schwarz, Executive Director, Editor Jillian Smith, Managing Editor
Tell your Local Member address information changes should be made with the Local union office or officers responsible for membership records. Locals are responsible for reporting and updating membership information directly to the national office. AFTOregon uses address information provided by Locals to AFT for printing and labeling newsletters and member information. Prompt changes are important.
“We Have the Power” is the theme for AFT-Oregon’s 59th convention, scheduled for April 15-17, 2011, in Bend. With delegates to elect and resolutions and amendment proposals to approve for submission, it’s time to take action to make sure your Local is represented at the 2011 Convention. Local presidents and secretaries were sent complete convention information, delegate and alternate election and reporting forms, committee and registration materials. Delegates to Convention will have the important task of considering any amendments to the constitution or bylaws and any resolutions which may be proposed; and to nominate and elect all AFT-Oregon officers, including President, Executive Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, VicePresident Political Action, and ten Vice-Presidents. All officers shall take office for two-year terms beginning July 1, 2011. Delegates will also elect delegates from the state federation to affiliate conventions as may be authorized in addition to the AFT-Oregon President, who serves as chief delegate to conventions of all affiliates.
Important convention deadlines:
• March 14: Hotel Reservation Deadline • March 16: Credential lists and resolutions postmark deadline • April 15: Convention opens
Torres serving as 2011 Legislative Intern AFT-Oregon welcomes Local 6069 (CGE) member Dan Torres as its intern for the 2011 Legislative Session. Torres, who will finish his M.A., in Interdisciplinary Studies this month from Oregon State University, brings extensive political campaign experience. “I applied because I want to know more about the legislative experience on the state level,” said Torres. “I’ve seen it from the federal perspective. It will be interesting to see how individual organizations lobby for specific interests, and how the federal funding is transitioned at the state level.” From left: Local 6069 (CGE) member Dan Torres, shown here with U.S. Some of his political involvement included serving Senator Harry Reid, is AFT-Oregon’s as a field organizer for the Nevada Democratic Party to 2011 Legislative Intern. assist in the re-election of Nevada Senator Harry Reid. In Oregon, he organized a campaign for Measures 66 and 67 on the OSU campus, and worked on the 2008 Obama campaign. Torres holds a B.A. in Speech Communication from OSU. He has focused his masters program on Interpersonal Communication, Rhetorical Studies and Political Science. During his tenure at OSU, he has been an active member of College Democrats, and the OSU Speech and Debate team as both a competitor and coach. He also served as a graduate assistant for an introduction to argumentation course.
AFT members hold key legislative posts Three legislators and AFT current or former members, Representatives Michael Dembrow and Mitch Greenlick, and Senator Chip Shields hold key posts during the 2011 legislature. Rep. Dembrow, Local 2277 (PCCFFAP), co-chairs the Education Subcommittee on Higher Education and the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education. Rep. Greenlick, a founding member of Local 3571 (PSUFA), co-chairs the Health Care Committee and is co-vice chair of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Services. Sen. Chip Shields, Local 3571 (PSUFA) chairs the General Government, Consumer and Small Business Protection Committee. With a $3.5-billion deficit, there will be a tough battle to preserve public services, including education. Among the some 1,600 bills up for consideration this session will be legislation regarding PERS, Kicker Reform and K-12 through higher education restructuring.
Kanaan shows “art” of teaching tolerance and understanding
anaan Kanaan, Local 3571 (PSUFA) member and interactive media instructor at Portland State University, is working to build tolerance and understanding of his culture through art. Kanaan, a Palestinian from Jordan, said his inspiration came from the reception he received when he immigrated into the United States in the early 1990s. “I was surprised by Americans’ lack of knowledge about middle eastern cultures, including Palestinians,” said Kanaan. “People only understand the Middle East in vague terms, but do not understand the history or the culture.” Kanaan said he wanted to bridge this gap in a peaceful way, and knew his art was the perfect venue. “I decided to tell my story through my art, to create a dialogue about my culture,” he said. “Many people will shut down, if you discuss politics. Art is peaceful, and has nothing to do with politics. This is my way.” “My art is about what we have in common, not our cultural differences,” said Kanaan. “If you strip everything away, it comes down to our humanity.” Colors and shapes are thoughtfully intertwined with Arabic characters, words or phrases. The colors and shapes represent similarities and “common knowledge” between cultures. The strategically placed characters represent something that is specific to certain cultures, such as language, or a belief system. “With color, you can bring people alive because it pertains to all of us,” said Kanaan. “Of course if you see my art, you may not understand the meaning of the characters, but you will recognize shapes and colors.” Kanaan has also teamed with a local Jewish artist, Michele FederNadoff in a performance art presentation, called “Passing.” The two stand in silence, on opposite sides of a muslin drape which hangs from the ceiling, and create artwork by taking turns
Kanaan Kanaan, Local 3571 (PSUFA) member and instructor uses his artwork to inspire a peaceful dialogue about his culture, in order to create tolerance and understanding. To learn more about his artwork and next gallery showing, or to invite him to speak at an event, visit: www.kanaankanaan.com.
passing a needle and thread through the fabric. “We do this in representation of our cultures mingling in a peaceful way,” he said. Kanaan and his art have been featured on OPB, in the Oregonian and at numerous galleries and Local events. He said the exposure, along with his teaching experience and volunteer work with Portland Peaceful Response have resulted in invitations by schools, churches and other programs to speak about his culture, and to educate Americans about the Middle East in general.
“I share my own experience, but also about culture, geography…and of course politics. I outline who are the major beneficiaries from war. I make sure to credit my sources,” said Kanaan. His own experience includes growing up during civil war with Israel, and watching his father go off to war. He later attended college in Iraq while Saddam Hussein was in power. Kanaan said his father, who was a furniture refinisher and painter, first exposed him to the world of art when he was a young child in Jordan. He said his father’s
artwork was the intricate carvings and paintings he adorned on furniture for his occupation. “My father gave me paint to keep me occupied while he worked. He also asked me to help mix paint. I was mesmerized by how the colors mixed together, and eventually I began painting on boards,” he said. He recalls when his dad first acknowledged his artwork. “My dad said, ‘Well you’re an artist, look at you. And, soon after gave me my first paint and drawing set, and taught me to trace patterns,” he said. “My father has been the influence in my life,” said Kanaan, whose mother died when he was very young. “He made me strong, took me under his wing. I went on my own and discovered the world because of his influence.” In 1991, while pursuing a degree at the College of Fine Arts at Baghdad University in Iraq, he met an American woman who would change the course of his life. She worked briefly in Iraq, helping to bring medical supplies, and replant fields after the first Gulf War, then returned to the United States. After finishing his degree in Iraq, and another at a government-funded art institute in Jordan, Kanaan joined her in the States in 1994. Although they are no longer together, Kanaan said their daughter, now a teenager, helped solidify his continued on Page 6
Tell 2011 Oregon State Legislature:
Time to Reinvest in Public Education
n 1990-91, Oregon spent $4,760 per student in our K-12 public schools. Twenty years later, Oregon will spend 20 percent LESS – a mere $3,700 for each child. This is just one example of continued disinvestment in education, which extends through community college and university levels. This dangerous trend stands as a threat to Oregon’s economic recovery. Loss of federal stimulus dollars is making for difficult choices, as shown in Governor Kitzhaber’s proposed budget released in February. AFT-Oregon members know that education is the key to economic recovery in Oregon. Now, more than ever, members need to make their voices heard at the bargaining table, and in the Legislature. Overview of Governor’s proposed budget Governor Kitzhaber’s proposal calls for difficult cuts in already strained education programs and other services. It also includes consolidation of school districts, and a “zero to 20” education investment board which would oversee schools, from Kindergarten through Higher Education. K-12 The Governor proposed spending $5.56-billion, nearly $1-billion less than resources needed to fund education programs at an already strained “current service level.” The proposal would rely on “efficiencies” to make up an additional $222-million reduction. This could mean a loss of some 5,000 jobs, or 33 days of schools. (www. OregonBudgetPriorities.org) “While we support the Governor’s attempts at finding efficiencies in the system, short-funding Educational Service Districts (ESD), consolidating school districts, and reducing the transportation grant will not solve the problem,” said Rob Wagner, AFTOregon Director of Political and Legislative Affairs. “Taking money from one pocket and putting it into another, doesn’t magically solve a revenue shortfall.” Higher Education Community Colleges: The Governor’s Budget includes significant cuts to post-secondary education, despite record enrollment. The Community College Support Fund would see a nine percent decrease for the 2009-11 biennium. State funding per student
would drop some 10.6 percent from $1,744 to $1,559 per full-time student in 2011-13, which could result in loss of programs, and tuition hikes. He also proposes an increase in opportunity grants for higher education. continued on Page 6
SHARE YOUR STORY: Register today for Lobby Day Join us on Monday, March 7, 2011, 7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., at the Oregon State Capitol for the PLAN Legislative Education Day. With a crop of new lawmakers and new issues facing our members, it’s time to make our voices heard in Salem. Register online at: www.aft-oregon.org. AFT-Oregon and Local 6732 (OSEA) have joined together to hold the 2011 PLAN Legislative Education Day. PLAN is the joint Political and Legislative Action Network. Members from around the state come to Salem to learn about Oregon’s legislative process and educate their legislators about the important role they have in the education and healthcare of Oregon’s students and citizens. Hear presentations from statewide elected representatives, attend legislative sessions, meet with your legislators, attend committee meetings, attend an Oregon AFL-CIO rally for jobs and tour the state Capitol. Lunch will be provided, along with refreshments throughout the day. There is also an optional training and educational program on Sunday, March 6. Please contact AFT-Oregon for more information, at: (503) 595-3880.
Elect your own boss on May 17 Members have the power to strengthen their collective voice at the bargaining table and worksites by helping to elect school and community college board members who understand and respect the work they do for schools and communities. These boards guide the direction and policies of schools and community colleges and can make decisions on staffing and program changes. They also allocate funds and approve budgets. And yet, school and community college board elections often pass with little fanfare.
FIVE ways Locals can get involved in May 17
school and community college board elections: a solid candidate (Candidate filing deadline is March 17) – Key 5.Recruit to success in any election is a great candidate. You may not be able
to recruit the next Barack Obama, but it is important to find smart, hardworking worker-friendly candidates who will run for school board. Know where the candidates stand – If you can’t recruit your own 4. candidate, make sure those in the race know what issues are important to your membership. Have candidates fill out an issue questionnaire. Support a candidate who agrees with your issues. Get members involved in the election. Make sure the candidate knows your members are working hard on their behalf. If your candidate wins: hold them accountable. Make the connection – Members turned out to volunteer in 2010 3. because they realized how much the election results would affect their paycheck and their families. If you make the same level of connection for your members, they’re more likely to get involved.
A little less conversation (and a lot more action) – Rank-and-file members are more likely to get involved when they see their local leadership doing the same. Quite simply, when union members step up and spend an hour or two walking door-to-door, stuffing envelopes or making phone calls, good candidates win. Have fun – Politics can be serious business, especially during these tough economic times. But it’s important to keep things light and have a good time. Make “getting involved” more fun and less of a perceived chore. Give out awards and craft volunteer activities around fun events like debates. Having a fun and rewarding experience at a volunteer event makes it more likely that person will volunteer again.
AFT-Oregon can assist with your campaigns. Some of these activities include recruiting a pro-labor/pro-education candidate to run for a school board; helping to establish a process to recommend local school board candidates; working to secure a recommendation from your local labor council; providing advice to a recommended candidate’s campaign; making a contribution to a recommended candidate; recruiting members as political volunteers for the campaigns; and crafting a communications plan to promote Local recommendations. For more information about how to get involved in a school board election, or for AFT-Oregon assistance in a current campaign, contact Marcus Swift, AFT-Oregon Political Action Organizer at: (503) 595-3880, or email@example.com.
Locals with school board elections in 2011 All Boards include seven seats. The following includes the amount of seats up for election. Local 111 (PFTCE): Three seats, Portland Public Schools Board of Education Locals 2277 (PCCFFAP) and 3922 (PCCFCE): Two seats, Portland Community College Board of Directors Local 2417 (LCCEF): Four seats, Lane Community College Board of Education Locals 3190 (SWOCCFT) and 3972 (SWOCCCF): Three seats, Southwestern Oregon Community College Board of Education Local 3466 (BMFT): Grant County School District Board Local 3662 (SFCE): Three seats, Scappoose School District Board of Directors Local 4671 (HCU): Three seats, Hillsboro School District Board of Directors Local 4754 (UECGCC): Three seats, Columbia Gorge Community College Board of Education Local 6020 (AFTOCUE): Four seats, Oregon Coast Community College Board of Education
KANAAN KANAAN: Continued from Page 3
decision to stay in the United States. Before joining PSU as an instructor in 2002, Kanaan completed his bachelor’s at PSU, and master’s through Warnborough University, Ireland. He also spent time in the corporate world. “I worked for Microsoft as contractor, developing websites and presentations, but didn’t like the corporate world. I found teaching suits my nature better,” he said. He joined Local 3571 (PSUFA) in 2004, and has served as Vice-President for Membership. At PSU, he has taught web design, computer graphics, digital painting and drawing. He also designed a course to help artists create a digital portfolio, in a pdf file to make it easy for submission; power point presentations; and printed portfolios to leave with galleries. And, while he enjoys teaching, art remains his true passion. “My artwork is my sole purpose,” he said. Kanaan said he hopes his art will inspire people to learn more about the Middle East, and realize in the end, we have more in common, than differences. “People want to know about the politics of the Middle East,” he said. “But, political views do not matter. We can meet somewhere in the middle if we acknowledge the essence of humanity.”
Rives to Legislative Committee: Faculty must be included in higher education restructuring process AFT-Oregon President David Rives told a joint legislative committee that faculty agree with the concept of basing funding on more than enrollment, but that a business model isn’t necessarily the best choice. “Faculty are concerned when we see business standards that relate to production of widgets, applied to higher education,” he said. “Telling an institution that you want 200 degrees from your education program by next year is not quality education.” Rives testified on a collection of bills which would make major changes to the higher education structure in Oregon. Senate Bill 242 would shift the base for higher education funding from an enrollment model, to a “performance compact.” Rives called this proposal vague, and insisted educators should be included in determining mechanisms for assessment. “We’re hearing now about ‘accountability,’ as if faculty haven’t been accountable up to now,” stated Rives. “Maybe we haven’t been clear about what we are doing, because the American education system is still a success. Most students in the world, if they had a choice, would attend an American institution. Faculty are strong in creating innovators and forwardthinkers. Whatever mechanism is set up for student assessment, it should include educators. You wouldn’t set up a medical board without doctors.” AFT-Oregon members have been pro-active in the conversation about higher education restructuring in Oregon. Last spring, AFT-Oregon released its Principles on Higher Education Restructuring, developed by leaders from its higher education Locals. Members have also met with Legislators, and testified before legislators in interim workgroups to ensure our voice is heard. For more information about AFT-Oregon’s statement of principles, or to hear Rives’ testimony, visit: www.aft-oregon.org.
GOVERNOR’S BUDGET: Continued from Page 4 Oregon University System: State funding would be reduced by 4.9 percent beginning 201113. This would be offset by scheduled tuition increases of 5.5 to 7.7 percent in each year of biennium. Funding for instruction and student support would be reduced by 7.8 percent. Statewide public services, such as extension services, would be slashed up to 20 percent. State funding would be based on promoting progress toward degree and certificate completion, as opposed to enrollment. Undergraduate education and graduate programs will be more
focused toward state workforce goals such as healthcare, engineering, and teacher education. Early childhood education and other proposals On a positive note, Kitzhaber is proposing increased funding for early childhood learning, to ensure all Oregon children are prepared for Kindergarten. And, he wants a vote in November to allow gas taxes and car registration fees be used to fund more than just highway maintenance, including state trooper positions. This would free money for additional education funding.
Get involved this Legislative session “It’s our members, with their personal stories and experiences, who make the deepest impression on legislators making decisions affecting us, our clients, and our students,” said AFTOregon President David Rives. Members can make a difference in this Legislative cycle. Attend AFT-Oregon Lobby Day, scheduled for March 7, 2011. Help to recruit and elect worker-friendly candidates to your Local School or Community College Board. Or, contact AFTOregon and volunteer to testify in Salem about your concerns over additional budget cuts at your worksite.
Local Focus New agreement ratified after hard-fought campaign Local 3190 (SWOCCFT): Members ratified a new agreement in January after a tentative agreement was reached in mediation. The settlement came after a hardfought campaign by the Local, including informational picketing in the fall. The new agreement includes a minimum $500 increase for many as part of placement on a new salary schedule; a $35 increase to health insurance, retroactive to October 1, 2010; and limits on initial placement on salary schedule. Local 3190 (SWOCCFT) members just ratified a new contract after a hard-fought campaign, including informational picketing in September, which is highlighted in this photo.
Grad employee unions’ “Civil War Brew-Off” raises food and funds for food banks
From Left: Mike Gibson, Director of the Linn-Benton Food Share, receives check for $577, proceeds from the Local 6069 (CGE) and Local 3544 (GTFF) “Civil War Brewoff.” Local 6069 (CGE) President Rob Hess (Center) and Secretary-Treasurer Mindy Crandall served as presenters.
Local 6069 (GGE) and Local 3544 (GTFF): Members of AFTOregon’s graduate employee Locals garnered food and funds for local food banks, and helped build camaraderie, in their December “Civil War Brew-Off” in Corvallis, the night before the annual football game between the Oregon State Beavers and Oregon Ducks. “We all thought the event would turn out well, but in the end, it exceeded all of our wildest expectations,” said Local 6069 (CGE) President Rob Hess. “We’re really pleased to have been able to raise so much for our two great food banks right in time for the holiday season, and we’re even more pleased that everyone had a blast doing it. I, for one, am already looking forward to next year’s Brew-Off.” Over 200 people attended the event, which featured 11 local beers. A Local 6069 (CGE) member played in one of the two bands performing at the event. Locals also gave out commemorative pint glasses to the first 120 people. Both Locals declared the event a success with over 250 lbs. of food collected for Food for Lane County, and $577 raised for the LinnBenton Food Share. They plan to make it an annual event.
Portland French School found in violation of NLRA The Portland French School (PFS) violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) in its opposition last Spring to union organizing by its teachers and staff, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) ruled in January. As part of the decision, Patricia Raclot, the PFS teacher featured in the November-December Federation News, will have her work visa and position at the school restored, along with back
pay. PFS has chosen not to file an appeal, and has since dismissed its Principal. “We are all relieved,” said Raclot of the decision. “The judge made a very fair decision, a very reasonable one.” In citing a long list of acts by the school’s management, including its Head and several School Board members, ALJ William G. Kocal found PFS committed numerous unfair labor
practices ranging from work rules forbidding employees from discussing working conditions; to telling employees the union was a “stigma” and “stigmatized” the school and its principles; to threatening to close the school in opposition to unionizing; threatening reprisals against employees if they supported a union; to suggesting it would remedy their concerns if they dropped union organizing; to issuing warnings, setting new hiring employment
agreement rules and cancelling one employee’s work visa renewal, all in response to the employee’s organizing attempt. Kocal ordered the PFS to stop its unlawful actions, remove its unlawful rules, rescind discipline given in reaction to organizing, and to take steps for renewal of teacher visas it halted in reaction to organizing. The AFSE and PFS are currently in negotiations for an initial contract covering nonteaching staff.
Federation News AFT-Oregon aft, afl-cio Find the link to become a fan of AFT-Oregon’s fanpage on facebook: www. aft-oregon.org
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Mark your calendar February 26 Parliamentary Procedure basics workshop March 6-7 AFT-Oregon Lobby Day, Salem March 9-12 AFT State Federation Presidents Conference, Albuquerque, NM March 16 Postmark deadline for convention credential lists and proposed resolutions March 24-27 AFT PSRP Conference, Las Vegas, NV April 1-3 AFT National Higher Education Issues Conference, Philadelphia, PA April 15-17 AFT-Oregon Convention, Bend
Coming soon: Identity Theft Guard and Restoration
Did you know: • 11.1 million adults were victims of identity theft in 2009 • The total fraud amount was $54-billion • 13 percent of identity fraud crimes were committed by someone the victim knew • Identity fraud victims increased by 12 percent in 2009 and the amount of fraud increased by 12.5 percent. This is the highest rate of increase in the seven years that the company has been issuing the report. (Javelin Strategy & Research report on identity fraud occurrences from 2009.) Restore Recovery – 100 percent recovery, every time. ID Experts Restore is the most personal, fully-managed ID theft recovery service available. With a 100 percent success rate and the most experienced ID theft recovery experts in the business, members will not have to spend the 200 average hours for an individual to recover from identity theft. Soon this will be available for less than $5 per month for the whole family. FraudStop Credit Monitoring – 360 degree identity protection. Many ID protection services assist the member in setting fraud alerts. FraudStop combines whole-identity protection with a personal recovery service, reimbursement insurance and 100 percent success rate, making it the most complete identity theft protection in America. These are only a sample of what will soon be available to AFT-Oregon members. Watch for more information in your newsletters and online at www.aft-oregon.org.
Lower rates for AFT+ Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance program offered through AFT+ Member Benefits provides an opportunity to protect dependents from the financial hardships associated with loss of a loved one. Key features of this program: • Coverage amounts up to $500,000. • No termination age – keep coverage for as long as you continue to pay your premiums. • No reduction in coverage due to age – provision removed that reduced coverage by 35 percent at 65. • Portable – once approved, coverage will not terminate if premiums are paid; portable if you leave your current employment. • New lower non-smoker rates at $100,000 and above. • No maximum issue age for coverage – if you are an AFT member in good standing and actively working (not retired or disabled), you may apply for additional coverage regardless of your age. • Accidental Death and Dismemberment Coverage (AD&D) optional • Accelerated Benefits Option – If diagnosed with a terminal illness (life expectancy of 12 months or less), receive up to 80 percent of the insurance proceeds, subject to a maximum of $500,000. • Complimentary Will Preparation – included for coverage amounts of $25,000 or more. • Coverage available for spouses/domestic partners/dependents – Spouse coverage maximum is equal to 50 percent of amount for AFT member. Members can apply for coverage for themselves, spouse/domestic partner, and dependent children at any time and may call (888) 423-8700 to receive rates and additional information about the program.