Campaigns underway for chapter president of College Faculty Guild

Three faculty members at Pierce College have begun their campaigns toward becoming the newly elected Pierce College chapter president for the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 1521 this spring.

Mitra Hoshiar, associate professor of sociology, Fernando Oleas, chair of the modern languages department, and Joseph Perret, professor of computer applications and office technologies, are the three candidates competing for the two-year term.

The Los Angeles College Faculty Guild, AFT Local 1521 is a union that represents both full-time and adjunct faculty members of the nine colleges in the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) according to their website.

For this election, each candidate is required to personally pay for the materials they wish to use during their campaigns. A clause in the Elections Code and Procedures document states that in order to keep impartiality, the use of employer or union funds is prohibited.

The document also states that each candidate cannot use college email addresses in order to contact their unit members in an attempt to sway their votes. Because of this, all three candidates have created different methods in order to recruit their voters.

Oleas, who has been working with the union for about four years, said he hasn’t been campaigning heavily.

“I have spent a couple of hours stuffing mailboxes myself with flyers,” Oleas said. “That is the only approach that I have used so far.”

Oleas said he is confident that through his involvement with several campus committees and by being an AFT representative, he has developed solid connections with the faculty members.

“I have faith that they will recognize that my experience, my knowledge, transparency and the commitment that I have shown in the last year will somehow prevail,” Oleas said.

The main focus for his campaign is accountability and preservation of the contract agreement that oversees the rights of district employees and faculty members.

“We need to continue the good work that we have done and carry on with the vision of our union,” Oleas said. “We need to support the pieces of legislation that could affect in one way or the other our environment.”

Perret, a member of the Professional Growth Committee, has created blue campaign buttons that contain his picture and his campaign slogan, “Peace, Participation, Progress.”

“The ‘Peace’ stands for peace between the faculty guild and the (Pierce College) Academic Senate,” Perret said. “I also want to bring participation back and involve the faculty in the decision making to continue our progress toward our benefits.”

Perret is hoping to speak to faculty members in order to convey his message of ending the autocratic system he believes in currently happening.  He said his motivation to run for the position was the division that he noticed.

“I was disgusted by that,” Perret said.  “At that point I said ‘something has to be done.’”

Hoshiar, an active executive board delegate at Pierce for the union decided to incorporate social media and take a different approach. She created a short video on YouTube in which she addresses the camera, directly outlining the reasons why faculty members should vote for her.

“I’m a great advocate for technology,” Hoshiar said. “I think it’s better to see me in action and besides, we live in the 21st century.”

Hoshiar said that collegiality has been challenging between the union and the faculty members.

“I believe that the faculty voices should be heard and that we need to unite and put an end to faculty disagreement,” Hoshiar said. “I strongly believe in faculty empowerment.”

The ballots for this campaign will be mailed to faculty members’ homes starting April 14 and all must be mailed back to the American Arbitration Association no later than May 5, according to the 2014 Guild Election Timeline.

A candidates’ forum will take place at the Great Hall on April 17 at 12:45 p.m. and will feature a debate among the three candidates.