By Paula A. Phillips, President, Council of Classified Employees

What could a groundskeeper or a guard have in common with a bus driver or a computer technician? More than many people think.

As classified employees, we work with faculty to make schools and colleges the glue that holds our communities together. We helped lead the fight for Proposition 30 and now, two year later, new funding is arriving in districts across California.

And as union members, classified employees have the strength to advance our interests at the bargaining table and at the ballot box. This year our local unions are negotiating contracts that are moving us forward again.

Support staff are our own community, and we are committed to pursuing our common goals. We’re in this fight together, and we’ll only progress when we move in the same direction.

Community is inclusive. We must give new members more to do than sign an activator form. They’re part of our family. “Welcome,” we must say to them. “You belong to an organization that has your best interests in mind.”

No one can carry the burdens of their jobs and personal lives alone, but we can accomplish a lot by lending an ear and giving a hand. Classified employees can build a community by making sure we have each other’s backs.