Yesterday’s election results were hardly what any of us were expecting at many levels. The election of Trump and the Republican sweep on the national level feels like we are now living in a poorly written dystopic novel.
These results do not bode well for unions and workers in general, despite the delusion that Trump will somehow “Make America Great Again” by bringing back jobs that have long left this country in search of cheaper labor markets.
If Trump and the Republicans succeed in seating the ninth Justice on the US Supreme Court, it will not take long for us to witness a reversal of several decades’ worth of hard fought gains we have made on many social issues, as well as a direct assault on and the evisceration of union rights. Expect to soon see rulings making it illegal for unions to organize, to collect dues, and even to exist. After all, unions are the lone remaining opposition to the complete domination of our society by corporate interests.
As bad as all that sounds, at least those likely actions can be reversed later when the electoral pendulum swings back in the opposite direction. However, Trump and his party’s views on climate change have the potential to cause irreversible damage to this planet that can’t simply be undone by electing a Democrat in the future.
Locally and statewide, we had several bright spots, as well as a couple of painful defeats:
• Statewide, Proposition 55 passed handily, ensuring we will continue to have the resources we need to adequately function and serve our students well.
• Cuyamaca College faculty member Mary Graham was easily re-elected to the SDCCD Board of Trustees.
• Our endorsed candidate Rick Shea is holding a thin lead for his seat on the County Board of Education in a race where the Charter Schools Association spent close to $1 million to elect their candidate and unseat Rick.
• Our endorsed candidate and SDCCD faculty member Elena Adams trails by several hundred votes for the seat on the GCCCD Board of trustees which was vacated by Mary Kay Rosinski’s retirement. The likely winner, Tim Caruthers, previously served on the GCCCD Board (Mary Kay defeated him in 2008) and he makes no secret of his disdain for education workers, as evidenced by his actions while serving on the Alpine Union School District Board (including the first teacher strike in SD County in 20 years) and his infamous comment that we are just “pigs feeding from the public trough” made during his previous tenure on the GCCCD Board. Having him back on the GCCCD Board will not be a pleasant experience, to say the least.
• Measure X, the Bond measure for the GCCCD was passed by a majority of the voters, but did not reach the 55% threshold needed to pass a school bond. This measure was the only bond measure in the county to attract funded opposition. The opponents want to ensure all District construction projects can be done with non-union labor, so they can avoid the safeguards and mandatory training that comes with union supported project labor agreements.
• Measure A, the transit tax we opposed due to climate change concerns, was fortunately defeated.
• We helped elect teacher Chris Fite and City College faculty member Elva Salinas to the Grossmont Union High School District Board of Trustees.
While we celebrate our victories, we must at the same time prepare for the challenges that await us. Now, more than ever, we need to stick together and support each other whenever possible as there are some very powerful and well funded forces who have us in their sights.
Many thanks to those of you who worked so hard in all of these campaigns to ensure workers’ rights are protected and advanced to the next level! And it’s never too late to make a donation to our COPE fund to help us remain strong!
Jim Mahler, President
AFT Guild, Local 1931
San Diego & Grossmont-Cuyamaca