I know that many of you have recently heard a great deal of discussion about the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME. While I certainly won’t bore you with the details of this unconscionable departure from settled precedent, I can assure you that, despite the potential it has to negatively impact all unions, I am confident in the future of not only our local, but the CFT, AFT and, in fact, unions at large. While Janus may be a blow to labor, it only threatens us if we let it. The strongest counter assault we have is what makes us so powerful to begin with—our unity.
Janus has neither limited our ability to advocate for our members nor has it reduced the power that collective bargaining has to bring about substantial change in wages and working conditions, or protect our membership from overreaching abuse by management. While I am hesitant to call it a tempest in a teapot, I am fully confident that when all the dust settles we will emerge both stronger and more resolute in our mission. The reason for my confidence is my continued faith in you my colleagues, and our Executive Council.
Over the coming weeks I hope to work closely with each of the campus vice presidents to personally meet with as many faculty as we can to ensure that we are responsive to your needs and we are providing the highest level of representation possible to all faculty. Regardless of whether I have the good fortune of getting to meet with you face to face or not, I sincerely urge you to feel free to reach out to me any time. I am more than happy to answer questions where I can, or put you in touch with someone who is better suited to respond if I could not. Even if you want nothing more than to introduce yourself and chat, I am eager to get to know those of you I have not yet met personally.
When Doug Thiel asked me to write a letter of introduction for the newsletter, I have no doubt he was expecting a self-promotional laundry list of my qualifications and the experience I bring to this job. I’m not very good at that sort of thing, but to keep my president happy I’ll briefly share a few highlights.
I have been teaching at the college level since 2003, with both part-time and full-time experience at public, non-profit, and private for-profit schools. Since 2012, I have been an adjunct faculty member in the district, teaching at Ventura, Moorpark and Oxnard colleges in business and film and television. Prior to moving to California in 2012, I lived in south Florida where I served as interim Program Chair for Media Production at American InterContinental University.
In a former life, I served for nearly two decades as a criminal investigator in south Florida, prosecuting white-collar and computer crimes cases. I hold a Bachelor of Business Administration with a dual major in Accounting and Management, as well as a Law degree from the University of Miami. In addition, I bring a decade of union experience to the table, having served as a police union representative, grievance officer, and chief negotiator during my tenure as a police officer, but enough about me.
In closing, I am honored to serve with President Thiel and the members of the Executive Council during this pivotal time in our history, and look forward to the hard work ahead. I hope that you will continue to stay engaged now more than ever, and stand next to us in these important fights. On that note, we are hosting a very important event this Friday for all members where I will be giving a brief presentation on the results of a recent statewide salary survey commissioned by the CFT. I have done a preliminary analysis, and think all members will be quite startled by the result. For details of the location and time of the meeting, please contact the office.
Michael Sheetz, Executive Director