Friday, October 14, 2011

Brandii Grace, Advocate for the Worker

I met Brandii Grace this summer in Washington DC. We were invited, along with David Linton, a college professor from New York, by our national union AFT and the AFL-CIO to speak before the National Labor Relations Board and the AFL-CIO about our experiences in organizing our union locals.

Brandii is an accomplished "game designer", she designs and develops video games. She is also a highly respected teacher of this craft.

I know her as a young, energetic unionist who when she met resistance in organizing her school did not back down but instead fought back and now speaks out for others. She has started a blog to help others more effectively assert their rights. I have places a link to the right, "From the Trenches" and I'll let Brandii tell you more....

In the beginning of 2010, I was the leader for a union movement of the faculty at the Los Angeles Film School. Over the course of a month, we did everything necessary to file for a union election. During that same month, I was promoted, threatened, suspended, put on probation, and fired. It was a busy month.

Before this whole thing began, I was actually anti-union. Being raised by my grandmother in a single parent household, we were terribly stressed when she unfairly lost her job due to a flawed union policy. I grew up thinking unions were bad and caused families to struggle the way mine did.

Now I know the truth: unions are not bad, but they do require good leadership. A bad or ineffective leader will create an ineffective union. In part, I have started this blog in the hopes of creating better union leaders.

My experiences have taught me a lot about unions, unionizing, and the government policies intended to protect our right to unionize. While I believe I did the right thing, and would do it all again if necessary, there are lots of things I wish I had known before I started. This blog is about sharing the lessons I've learned and the stories that taught them to me.

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