From April 26-28, we will be voting for new union leadership, both at the statewide and campus levels. This election is significant as it will determine the direction of our union for the next three years. As a member of Academic Workers for a Democratic Union (AWDU), I encourage you to vote for AWDU candidates for all positions. AWDU candidates are committed to making positive change in our union and becoming a true force for social and economic justice–on our campus and beyond. I have listed the AWDU candidates at the end of this email.

Academic Workers for a Democratic Union is committed to reforming our union to make it democratic and transparent. The current statewide leadership makes decisions at closed-door meetings and then sends terse emails telling members what to do. This is not union democracy. AWDU will return decision-making power to the individual campuses. We want members to decide where to focus our union’s resources. We will rely on campus monthly membership meetings, departmental meetings, and our everyday conversations with each other to serve as spaces for discussion, debate, and decision-making.

AWDU candidates believe that a democratic union is a union that can fight hard for social and economic justice. Justice does not come from the actions of a sequestered Executive Board, no matter how many emails they send and no matter how many donations they make to political candidates. You cannot organize for social justice when the membership is disempowered. Justice organizing begins with an active and engaged membership at the campus level, a membership that makes its own decisions and chooses where to focus its energy.

Over the past few years, AWDU members at Santa Cruz have modeled this type of social justice organizing based on democratic participation. We have fought against large class sizes. We have won improvements in queer labor rights. We are preparing to challenge recent enforcement of the 18-quarter rule. We are supporting the struggle for Ethnic Studies. Activists at UCSC have been modeling AWDU’s commitment to union democracy and social justice for years. Now it is time for our statewide leadership to follow our lead.

You may recently have received a campaign email from a slate of candidates branding themselves “United for Social and Economic Justice.” These are the current statewide leaders of our union. These are the same leaders who touted the “great contract” that we “won” last fall–the contract that 90% of UCSC voters rightly rejected as inadequate. These are the leaders who time and again have refused to organize against larger class sizes, who have said that there’s “nothing the union can do” about rapidly-disappearing TAships and increasingly-unaffordable housing, who responded to systematic UC budget cuts by collecting signatures on a petition that was never actually delivered. Regardless of their brand name, these candidates clearly do not stand for social and economic justice. They stand for three more years of distant leadership, disempowered membership, and failed contract negotiations.

On April 26-28, you will be able to choose what kind of union you want to belong to. Vote AWDU for a union that BELONGS TO ITS MEMBERS and is WILLING TO FIGHT. And JOIN US as we fight to take back our union: AWDU meeting, Wednesday, April 13, 7 PM, Grad Student Commons.


Brian Malone
Graduate Student in Literature
University of California, Santa Cruz

AWDU Statewide Candidates:

Cheryl Deutsch (Irvine) President
Sara Smith (Santa Cruz) Northern VP
Elliott Kim (Riverside) Southern VP
Charlie Eaton (Berkeley) Financial Sec’y
Mandy Cohen (Berkeley) Recording Sec’y
Brenda Medina-Hernandez (Davis) Trustee
Nick Kardahji (Berkeley) Trustee
Kyle Arnone (LA) Trustee
Jordan Brocious (Irvine) Sgt-at-Arms
Blanca Missé (Berkeley) Guide

AWDU UCSC Candidates
Mary Virginia Watson (Politics) Unit Chair
Josh Brahinsky (History of Consciousness) Recording Secretary
Michelle Glowa (Environmental Studies) Head Steward
Kelsi Evans (History) Head Steward