AFT 1521 is excited to welcome some fresh faces in Guild leadership positions as we kick off the 2018-2019 academic year. These new leaders were elected to their positions this Spring and will serve through the Spring of 2020. This is part of a series introducing some of the Guild’s new leaders
Christine Park, City College Chapter President
City College’s new chapter president, Christine Park, has been involved in the union since she started teaching full-time at the college in 2006. She recognizes the vital importance of what the Guild does for faculty. “We need union support in order to do our job,” she says. “I’ve wanted to do more to support faculty, and after 16 years at City, I felt ready to take on this role.”
Park has served City as Staff Development Director, New Faculty Academy Director, and Music Department Chair, which is her current position. “I’m very familiar with our contract and feel confident that I can bring that knowledge to our faculty,” she says. “As chair of the Work Environment Committee for the last year -- the only union committee on our campus -- I had a huge responsibility to make sure faculty voices were heard.” Having worked as an adjunct for a few years at City and at several universities, she understands what it’s like to be a freeway flyer and adjust to learning about different campuses’ cultures and processes.
While Park’s first love is music – “it’s my oxygen; it keeps my heart in place” - her second love is traveling – “it keeps me sane.” Park grew up in Korea and Japan and has visited many Asian countries. She tries to get to Europe every year and is excited to oversee the Spain Study Abroad Program every summer. She also teaches Chamber Music at City. “I don’t want to lose my connection with the students. I need them to know I’m an educator.”
Mario Valadez, Harbor College Chapter President
Mario G. Valadez, Harbor College’s new Chapter President, has been teaching history at the college since 2008 and has served on the Academic Senate as the historian/secretary. He became aware of the importance of unions and workers’ rights from his family. “I come from a long line of immigrant workers,” he explained. “Fleeing the Mexican Revolution of 1910, my great-grandfather moved to Douglas, Arizona, where he worked as a smelter in the copper mines. During the 1950’s both of my grandfathers came to the U.S.A. to work as farm workers. From them, I learned about the struggles of farm workers.”
Valadez earned his A.A. degree from Golden West College, his B.A. from UCLA, his M.A. from UCSB, and a social science teaching credential at CSULB. “My passions in life are history, soccer, and traveling,” he said. “I’ve been to two World Cups.”
More than a decade ago, Valadez was a first-generation college student and it was then that he first participated in a labor strike. As a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters during the United Parcel Service Strike of 1997, he learned firsthand about the power of unity and fighting for better working conditions. In addition, studying the Chicano farm workers movement during his time at UCLA gave him a foundation in labor history.
“With honor, humility, a great sense of responsibility and gratitude, I believe it’s a privilege to serve as chapter president at Harbor College,” he said. “While I have enjoyed my time as a faculty member, both adjunct and full time, for the past 10 years, I am excited to serve as chapter president for 2018-2020.”
“This is a decisive year, not only for us at Harbor, but for public unions across our nation,” he said. “With the Janus v AFSCME case, which can significantly affect what has been accomplished over the years, it is imperative that we work together to strengthen our union. ¡Si Se Puede!”
Curt Duffy, Pierce College Grievance Rep
Having worked in private colleges in the past has given Curt Duffy, Pierce’s new Grievance Rep, a unique perspective. “I know what it’s like when faculty do not have a union to protect them. It’s essential that we protect faculty rights and assert ourselves,” he says. “I’ve seen the difference when faculty don’t have collective bargaining. It’s essential to have it so that the integrity of the academic process is upheld.”
Duffy attends union chapter meetings at Pierce and has been in close contact with the campus’ former and current chapter presidents. He has an activist background, so taking a role in the union seemed like a natural fit. He’s been involved in the Morongo Basin Democratic Club, and as its Vice President was able to increase the club’s level of activity.
He started in the PACE program in 2001 as an adjunct and is now an Associate Professor of English. “I’m always working on processes that make students successful,” he says.
“Issues of concern include the impact of the new funding formula -- we need to ensure that faculty aren’t overloaded and we can preserve our academic integrity,” he explains. “It’s better for students that our rights are enforced so we can do what we do best –help our students. That’s what makes Pierce a great environment in which to teach.”
Duffy lives in a historic bungalow in Hollywood and has a small pit bull named Lola.
Armine Javadyan, Trade Tech Grievance Rep
Taking on the position of Grievance Rep at Trade Tech was a perfect fit for Armine Javadyan. When she worked in the LAUSD, she served as a teacher advisor, helping teachers navigate the system and serving as a whistleblower. Since coming to Trade Tech in 2011, she has been in a faculty support position as well, finding out what faculty need and communicating with department chairs to ensure they receive support, resources, and training to help them do their jobs. She co-developed and had a supporting role in the training academy for new faculty, “Teaching 101,” to help them navigate the system. She was the curriculum development specialist developing courses for METRO university, including Train the Trainer courses for the METRO instructors who were going to teach those courses.
“When the opportunity came up to serve as Grievance Rep, it was a natural transition for me,” she said. “I’m very passionate about helping faculty, seeing how they touch the lives of students. It’s a dream to do it officially.”
Javadyan teaches basic skills, Coop Ed, and ESL, and is qualified to teach linguistics. She is continuing her training and education by pursuing a doctorate in curriculum development, having started in the program at UCLA and continuing through the University of Phoenix.
Her family’s connection to Trade includes her two sons, 11 and 13, both in middle school, who are attending classes at Trade and hoping to earn their certificates in digital media in summer 2019.