Officer Report: President

Hello Brothers and Sisters!

Let me start by thanking you for voting for me as President. I will work diligently these next two years to validate your confidence in me. But I cannot do anything alone: I need your help.

The College’s Centennial provides a meaningful opportunity for self-reflection. Clearly Madison (Area Technical) College has done something well to be able to celebrate such a milestone. Where do we fit in to that success and how do we assure it continues?

I believe that colleges such as ours are one of the few remaining paths to the middle class and the American Dream. In addition to changing the lives of our students, that American Dream is made possible by the College, in part through its relationship with its Unions. Collective bargaining has created a workplace in which farness is required, collaboration is fostered and contribution is rewarded. Those outside this College who implemented barriers to our way of doing things perceive the world as “us versus them” with some (of them) more deserving than others. We reject this perception. Others may legislate aspects of our work-lives, but they cannot legislate away our solidarity with each other. To the contrary: efforts to eliminate us motivated us to join together. We are this community’s college.

We serve this community and we are of this community. We understand that ‘us’ and ‘them’ are more accurately ‘we’ and that each of us makes a significant contribution. We know that student success, worker success, and the success of the College are not mutually exclusive: they are interdependent. Our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions. This college works because we do!

As an institution of higher education, we are called to model civility, nurture curiosity, and provide opportunities for continuous re-invention. As a Union, we must find a way to thrive in a new political environment. We must reinforce connections, create new avenues for communication, and develop new skills for advocacy. Bicycle or SUV, bow-hunter or rifle, vegan or omnivore, Brewers or Cardinals – these differences do not matter in our fight for the dignity of all work and workers. We always have been and always will be stronger together. Diversity adds to our strength and all of us must work together for any of us to be successful.

What is a union? How can a member become an activist? What rights exist without a collective bargaining agreement? How can I connect? How can I contribute? These are some of the questions we will answer together. Some things are known, others ours to discover. An opportunity to reinforce what works and change what doesn’t is upon us. Your Local leaders have been preparing: the newly elected officers of the merged chapters are working together; conversations between WEAC, MTI, and AFT are on-going to share experiences and strength; the AFT National Convention provided networking opportunities with leaders in other states – including right-to-work-for-less states; and we are reaching out to the the Madison College Foundation, students and other activists.

If you perceive some of the greatest minds and most creative solutions exist within the members of our Local; that solidarity can be formed above and around those things which might separate us; that the American Dream is worth fighting for; and Madison College can provide access to that Dream when it acts as an employer of choice and college of choice for our community … join me in the effort to maintain Local 243 as an agent of positive change!