Below are statements offered by candidates for GTFF Officer positions.
President (2 Candidates)
Joe Henry – Anthropology
My name is Joe Henry and I’m running for the office of the president. I am third year doctoral student in the department of anthropology and my research has been focused on the production of inequality in the U.S. In terms of my experience in the GTFF, I was a department steward for a year before being elected to my current position as VP of external relations. Serving in this position has given me the opportunity to represent the GTFF to the larger labor and activist community. I currently sit on the steering committee for the local chapter of Jobs with Justice, the Eugene Springfield Solidarity Network (ESSN) and was recently elected to the executive board for the Lane County Labor Council. From its beginning I served on the UO Campus Labor Council and continue to be an active supporter of LESS-T. I have worked with GTFs and student groups to promote events, like “Take Back the Night,” and I have been working with ESSN on planning this year’s May Day event. I am very grateful for the many meaningful conversations I have had with members serving on the e-board and e-council and from my colleagues in the anthropology department. As president I look forward to incorporating what I have learned from these experiences, and working with you all on exciting new projects!
Jon LaRochelle – Philosophy
For those who don’t know me, I’m a Philosophy steward and member of the Bargaining Team. If you’ve been to bargaining sessions or GMMs this year, you’ll recognize me as the one that keeps talking about Parental Leave. I’ve been to the last two AFT-Oregon conventions, and so I have a good sense of union activity at the state level as well. Over the course of this year, I have been impressed by the increasing energy that GTFs are bringing to the Union. This marks an exciting moment for the GTFF, when people are rallying to stand together and fight for recognition by the administration. If I’m elected president, I intend to carry this energy into the coming year. My biggest concern is to maintain momentum at the table, and keep bargaining on the agenda once this round is complete. It’s easy to take the first year of the contract off, but I will treat it as a time to reflect, organize, and prepare for the next round. We have a great opportunity to harness the energy generated this year and carry it forward! I would be honored if you gave me the opportunity to do so. Thank you, Jon LaRochelle
Vice President for Organizing (1 Candidate)
Jonathan Turbin – Anthropology
Greetings colleagues. My name is Jonathan Turbin and I am currently a third year graduate student in the Anthropology Department. I am honored to accept my nomination for Vice President of Organizing. I have been an active member of the GTFF since my first year, becoming a steward during my second. Even before serving as a steward I became heavily involved with the GTFF Queer Caucus (currently serving as one of the co-chairs) as well as attending bargaining sessions. Were I elected to the E-Board I would strive to collaborate with my fellow board members while learning how best to effectively represent the GTFF. Moreover, as Organizing VP, I envision my potential role as a facilitator rather than a “chairperson.” I would value obtaining as much of a diversity of opinion from the fellow GTFs as possible, creating a “safe space” for all voices to be heard in a forthright and respectful way. Thank you very much for your consideration and my best wishes to all candidates.
Vice President for Grievances (2 Candidates)
Dave Grych – Physics
As a steward and a member of the GTFF’s bargaining team, the ongoing negotiations of this year’s bargaining cycle continue to commemorate months of my deepening intimacy with our collective bargaining agreement (CBA) (a bond that includes a winter weekend retreat to Yachats (first vacation together) and the AFT-Oregon convention in Sunriver). As VP of Grievances, I want to share this relationship with lamenting members being overworked, confused about their duties, and generally not receiving the respect they deserve for the work they provide the University. Simply put, I’m someone people can talk to that draws a hard line when it comes to a binding agreement (The Importance of Having Boundaries) and an ecstatic fan of transparency in all relationships including the one GTFs have with the University of Oregon. I’ll express my final thoughts as the following:
Here’s a quick fact about our CBA
It’s got three dozen articles and an Appendix J
Future terms will be diff’rent, since this one’s expired
We’ve got your back, we’ll close the gap! Just as the members desired
Now if you need to talk ’cause you’re goin’ deranged
I ain’t afraid to arrange a one-sided exchange
Even with these terms of agreement
There will still be a bit of bereavement
So come relieve yourself to an MC
Such as me to extinguish ambiguity
Shawna Meechan – Political Science
For those who don’t know me, I am a second year doctoral student in political science and have been very active in the union, especially this past year. Specifically, I have been a part of the bargaining team and have been privileged to represent the GTFF at the bargaining table. I feel that this experience has made me intimately familiar with our collective bargaining agreement both as it currently stands and as we hope to have it stand with the new contract. On top of this, I most recently worked for the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry prior to starting my graduate studies, so I feel confident in my knowledge of Oregon labor law. I would love the opportunity to take all of this experience and knowledge and use it to ensure that all GTFs are treated fairly under our contract and under state law and advocate strongly for those who have been mistreated. Additionally, I feel like I have gotten to know much of the membership of the GTFF over the past two years and would like to think that I am both approachable and a good listener for all of you. I hope that you will consider voting for me for your VP of Grievances. Thanks!
Vice President for Political Education (1 Candidate)
John O’Connor – Anthropology
Hello GTFF Members,
My name is John O’Connor, and I am a first year PhD student in the Department of Anthropology. I was recently nominated for the office of Vice President for Political Education for our Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation 3544. Upon my arrival to the University of Oregon, I was impressed by the level of commitment among Graduate Teaching Fellows toward the improvement of graduate teaching appointments, the stabilization of benefits and pay, and the cultivation of a student community that recognizes the value of standing together as one voice for the betterment of others. I have been working for the Committee on Political Education (COPE) with our current VP to address issues affecting members of our student body and look for solutions to effectively navigate the system in which we live and work. I look forward to continuing this work as an officer of the GTFF Executive Board. The GTFF 3544 is a unique organization among universities. We are lucky to stand together in solidarity and must make the most of these opportunities for current UO students and those of future cohorts.
Vice President for External Relations (1 Candidate)
Heather Marek – Sociology
Heather is interested in issues of peace and justice. She received a masters in conflict and dispute resolution in 2010, and is currently a doctoral student in sociology.
Heather has worked for nonprofits on human rights, civil liberties, and democracy reform, and she is currently a GTF steward. Upon completion of her program, she hopes to continue this work by conducting public interest research.
Heather greatly values her time spent working in the community, and looks forward to new opportunities to do so. She is running for VP of External Relations with a desire to cultivate relationships with ally groups and build an ever-stronger solidarity movement.
Vice President for Operations (3 Candidates)
Brianna Bertoglio – College of Education
Who am I and why would I be a stellar VP of Operations?
One of the most important tasks for this position is organizing all the social events, GMMs, end of term parties, etc.
- As it happens I have years of successful party planning/event coordinating experience! Parties people talk about years later, where everyone feels let down the next day from the fun hangover. As a native Oregonian there is nothing I enjoy more than accommodating dietary needs, so no one is ever left hungry or thirsty on my watch.
- Before I started my PhD program (Critical and Sociocultural Studies of Education) I was an elementary school teacher, which means I’m good at making sure everyone feels included and troubleshooting ahead of time so all potential problems are sorted out (take 25 kindergartners to OMSI or 30 first graders to the zoo and cat like reflexes and tactical planning skills develop!).
- I’m good at navigating bureaucracy–skills developed as a public school teacher, but heightened teaching in Abu Dhabi where the Kafaesque system requires a dozen signatures to get anything done.
VP of Operations needs to make sure the office runs smoothly, supervise the office staff, sit on hiring committees, etc.
- Finally a chance to put all that experience from working for non-profits, enduring endless staff meetings, office temping like a madwoman, sitting on hiring committees to good use! Actually, supervising other adults is a really challenging task for anyone but I think I’m good at making expectations clear and communicating respectfully and effectively.
Sitting on the Health and Welfare Trust, the really fun part!
- We all know how important the Trust is to us, and I take this part of the job very seriously. Having worked for an HMO and the Red Cross, done billing for an NP, and at a couple Planned Parenthoods I have experience in the healthcare arena and am prepared for taking on this responsibility.
- I became active in the GTFF winter term helping on the contract committee and doing weekly canvassing to other departments to inform and encourage involvement in the bargaining sessions. This was equal parts really super fun and daunting, and I feel like I got to meet a lot of the membership and learn what is important to them. I served as a delegate to the AFT Oregon convention, and have served as a steward for my department and have worked to get more stewards from the College of Education involved.
- Apparently, if given a bullhorn I can chant non-stop at an impromptu rally outside of a bargaining session–but I promise if elected VP of Operations I will only use bullhorns judiciously and only in a case of need.
Malori Musselman – Political Science
My studies of unexpected activism through tattooing and the voices of children, as well as my skills in beer brewing and organizing of the biannual Naked Lady clothing exchanges make me an excellent candidate for the VP of Operations.
Evan Shenkin – Sociology
Vice President for Membership Communications (1 Candidate)
Richard Wagner – Physics
Born the son of a unionized steel worker and hospital dietician, Richard Wagner (no relation) learned the values of hard work and helping others from an early age. After studying at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio (it’s complicated), Richard moved on the University of Oregon to pursue a doctoral degree in Physics. Deep into his studies, he found himself missing a purpose and a silly creative outlet, both of which are largely lacking while locked in a physics lab. He began to find these by throwing himself into his union. In addition to working along side the GTFF bargaining team, Richard filled in for the current VP of Member Communications during his absence, wrote long-winded (but little read) overviews of bargaining session, helped design many event fliers and posters, and has attended both University Administration and State Congressional meetings to speak to issues that impact GTFF members. Learning about the concerns and desires of his fellow GTFs, helping synthesize these into bargaining strategies and working to find creative ways to reach out to the membership of the GTFF, Richard began to find fulfillment. Very rarely serious, but understanding the seriousness of his union duties, Richard hopes to continue the work he has been doing for your benefit as your next VP of Member Communications because working with the union is, say it with me, fun as crap.
Treasurer (1 Candidate)
Krista Abrahamson – School of Music and Dance
I am a soon-to-be PhD candidate in Music Theory. I have GTFFed for 3 years and been in grad school for 5. I am also active in other community groups including social dancing and the Society for Creative Anachronism.
In the GTFF, I have been a steward for Music since the beginning of this year, as well as helping out with the Bargaining Committee and the Contract Campaign Committee. I have enjoyed meeting people from across campus, and hope to be able to serve more in the future. I have previously held the position of treasurer for a small campus group as an undergrad. I like numbers and spreadsheets. I am very well organized, in terms of documents and schedules. As people may have heard, the bulk of the “platform” I’m running with is color-coded spreadsheets. Also, dragons.