Local 1521’s new organizing director has covered a lot of ground, figuratively and literally.
In a career that has included stops in Minnesota, Colorado, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Sacramento -- and now LA again -- Chase Golding has worn many hats.
“When people talk about their identities, there are so many different things they use,” said Golding, a native of Louisville, KY. “I’m an organizer, I’m a facilitator, I’m an activist, I’m a labor educator and I’m a unionist. As this organization continues to reflect on its vision, I will be leaning on my organizational development skills to help members find the path they want to take.”
Golding comes to AFT 1521 most recently from SEIU Local 1000 in Sacramento, where he served as the leadership development coordinator. He was the lead organizer at SEIU 221, where he coordinated a bargaining unit for 10,000 employees in San Diego County. Golding has also helped the California Nurses Association and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, where he lent his expertise to the LA Fed’s organizing training program.
Dating back to his days in Minnesota, Golding spent many years as an anti-war activist. Those duties provided a natural segue into organized labor.
“I was introduced to different social movements,” said Golding, who earned a degree in American Studies at Carleton College. “The labor movement was so disciplined and robust and active in Minnesota. I wanted to be part of that.”
Golding is the son of a university English professor and a psychotherapist mother. Having grown up around academics and their families, he is familiar with the landscape of education and its terminology. He considered a position within a union representing community college faculty to be appealing for several reasons.
“We are a working people’s movement,” Golding said. “People ought to be able to earn a living, make their rent and put food on the table. Sometimes that requires skills that they don’t have. Anybody can come into this system. It doesn’t matter your age, your immigration status, or what kind of money you have, and that’s a beautiful thing. The labor movement should be like that.”
Since starting his new post in early December, Golding has been making the rounds to the nine campuses and getting acquainted with his new union brothers and sisters. He looks forward to the looming contract fight and being involved with the various Contract Action Team (CATs) as they gear up for negotiations.
“The Guild has a proud history,” Golding said. “I’m learning about the legacy of Carl Friedlander and the standards these faculty members have fought hard for and won over many years. That they have struggled through recessions, mass firings, and attacks on their benefits and have been able to weather all that is tremendously inspiring. As they continue on that journey, I feel blessed to be a part of it, and I hope to bring anything I can to help them be effective.”