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 appointed 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.
Grievance Rep, Mission College
Family history, as well as personal experience, has made Jill Biondo, Mission College’s new grievance rep, a strong believer in unions. Her grandfather was one of the founding members of the United Auto Workers (UAW). “Growing up, I learned why my family had great respect for unions. I heard about the terrible way the employees were treated before they had a union,” she said. Her mother would not buy grapes because of the United Farm Workers’ boycott. “Then when I worked in the film industry, I saw firsthand how non-union workers were treated and how they were paid so much less than union employees,” said Biondi.
Her 11 years of teaching sociology at Mission College (five years as an adjunct, six years as a full-time faculty member) have allowed her to see why the faculty union is so important. “Our contract is great – people should read it,” she said. “Our hours, our time off, our working conditions – all of these are because of the union.” When the position of grievance rep at Mission became available, she jumped at the chance to get involved and help her fellow faculty members.
She keeps her family history alive by instilling the value of unions in her two children, who are 11 and 12, just about the right age, she said, for a trip to Washington, D.C. to be a good learning experience. And to those who don’t know why they should support unions, she says, “You need to read a book!”
Grievance Rep, L.A. City College
Nate Lorentz, the Guild’s new Grievance Rep at L.A. City College, has been a member of AFT 1521 since he began teaching at the college. “It’s important that unions have a strong role in the functioning of our public institutions,” he said. “I want to support faculty and promote LACC’s mission through adherence to our contract.”
After teaching a night class at LACC in 2009, Lorentz continued at City and has been the only full-time Geology professor there since 2011. Other experiences at LACC include serving as Work Environment Committee (WEC) Chair and serving on related committees (Facilities, Bond, Strategic Planning, College Council, Emergency Response Team, and the Emergency Operations Center) as well as the Academic Senate.
As for the activities he enjoys when not working, he says, “I know my way around eastern California and Nevada better than most.”