As someone who has been involved in the labor movement my entire life, it is gratifying to be endorsed by the General Employees of Monterey (GEM), the Monterey Bay Labor Council, and the Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay Building and Trades Council. Growing up my father was in the AFL-CIO and served as union steward in his machinist shop. Twice in my childhood my father's union went on strike to fight for living wages and essential benefits. Without that union job, my family would not have been able to own a home and it is unlikely that I would have been able to go to college and become the first person in my family to earn a college degree.
My own experience with the labor movement began as a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin. Graduate students do the majority of teaching at most research universities but they are not paid a living wage and have to borrow large sums of money in addition to working and studying. As a husband and father, it was not easy for our family of four to survive on my graduate teaching stipend of $10,000/year. Fortunately, a union was formed and was able to negotiate slightly better pay but most importantly, healthcare. When my wife gave birth to our first child we didn't have healthcare and had anything gone wrong our family would have been bankrupt even before we got started. For our second child, my wife and daughter were covered by the healthcare negotiated by UWTA, the graduate student teacher's union.
After graduating I taught at Phoenix College and soon became the President of our college union and Senate, later becoming president of the Maricopa Community College District faculty association. After we moved to Monterey, I joined MPCTA, Monterey Peninsula College Teacher's Association, and I have served as Vice-President for 6 years and have been lead negotiator for the last 8 years. During that time we had to contend with a college president and board who didn't value faculty and tried to erode our healthcare and salaries when our salaries were already almost the lowest in the entire state. I'm proud of the work we did to stand up for faculty dignity and to negotiate a fair contract.
I'm also involved in the labor movement in the region, serving as a delegate to the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council. And it has been my honor to stand with my brothers and sisters in labor by marching in picket lines with Unite Here 483, the hospitality workers union, and with California Nurses Association.
In a well run organization the workers and management collaborate to make sure that services are provided effectively and there is mutual respect. I value the work done by all the employees at the City of Monterey and they truly make this city a wonderful place to live. Thank you for your vote of confidence General Employees of Monterey!