Statement (from August 2020) of then-candidate Jessica Breheny for election as President of AFT 6157:
I have taught in the English department at SJCC for fourteen years. Union work has always been part of my academic and teaching career. I organized teaching assistants at UC Santa Cruz as a PhD student, served on the Hartnell College faculty union board during contentious contract negotiations, and worked as a division representative for Language Arts at San José City College. I have been an AFT 6157 Executive Board member for two years.
With the pandemic and a potential economic crisis facing us, I will be a president who collaborates effectively with district, campus, and faculty leaders. I will coordinate opportunities to listen to faculty concerns through new monthly membership meetings, regular informational forums, and a dedicated Canvas page for faculty concerns.
As president, I will focus on:
- Establishing protective protocols for returning to campus. We must keep faculty and students safe and healthy.
- Compensating faculty for the considerable increase in labor involved in distance and remote learning.
- Increasing salaries and pushing hard for our long-standing goal of full pay parity between associate and full time faculty.
- Increasing benefits for associate faculty, including vision and dental coverage.
- Preventing health coverage loss for associate faculty due to class cancellations.
- Reducing workload and class caps.
- Increasing lecture/lab parity.
- Working with district and campus leaders to support policies and actions towards equity and inclusion.
The faculty in our district are the most dedicated people I have ever worked with. It would be my honor to represent you as president of our union. I ask also that you vote for Steven Mentor as Vice President.
On November 18, I caught up with Jessica, three months into her term as president, and wondered how things were going. She said she is very encouraged and has made some advances towards reaching some of her goals. First, she has acted to increase communications among faculty. There are now monthly membership meetings and they have been well-attended. Second, she has overseen the re-establishment of Faculty Matters as a monthly or twice-monthly newsletter. Ideally, other members will submit articles, and Jessica is eager to promote the Retiree Chapter in both the newsletter and at the monthly meetings. She welcomes retirees writing for the newsletter and attending membership meetings to spread the word about our chapter. One of her goals is improving health insurance options for part-time faculty, and right now, this is one issue being discussed in negotiations with the District. She wants them to be able to buy into dental and visual insurance at reduced rates. Best of luck to Jessica!