Tina Solórzano Fletcher of the AFT Guild, which represents nearly 6,000 employees at San Diego and Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community Colleges, was honored with the Talking Union Award at the annual AFT Paraprofessional and School-Related Personnel conference in April. Fletcher is a member-organizer for AFT Local 1931.
This year, the local prioritized one-on-one contact with non-members, and from September 1 through May 31, signed up 506 new members.
“With the threat of the Friedrichs lawsuit,” says Fletcher, “we took the opportunity to use every Guild event as a way to promote membership. And now we are organizing during summer classes.”
Also this spring, Local 1931 took first place CFT honors for largest growth in new members; and in 2015, the local took first place for adding 219 new members. The Lawndale Federation of Classified Employees received the Union Building Award for its successful organizing of noon duty supervisors.
“We went outside the box,” said local president Carl Williams, referring to the campaign that brought in 60 new members in 2014. Pay is the issue that motivated the noon duty supervisors to join the union.
“Classified staff often feel like second-class citizens; for noon duty staff, it’s more like third-class citizens,” says Williams. “Some noon duty staff have been doing this for 20 years and their pay scale wasn’t moving. They know the work we’re doing for classified, and want to be with us.”