Union Vows to Unseat 2 Board Members
Just hours after reaching a tentative labor agreement with the Ventura County Community College District, the president of the teachers’ union on Thursday said efforts to unseat two board members remain on full throttle.
On Thursday, union chief Larry Miller met with members of a Sacramento public relations firm that has been hired to work on a strategy to prevent the reelection of board President Normal Nagel and trustee Pete Tafoya in November.
“Our efforts are not going to cease,” Miller said. “To borrow a phrase from the Jewish Defense League: ‘Never again.’ ”
Miller and other union members have criticized Nagel and Tafoya for what they call “union-busting” tactics, such as voting against an independent fact finder’s report that recommended instructors be given a 5.7% raise.
During the nearly 17 months the contract was being negotiated, the pair treated teachers who belonged to the union differently than other faculty members, according to Miller.
Rather than join officials at a news conference Thursday to announce a long-awaited contract settlement, Miller worked on the campaign to oust the two trustees.
“Negotiations may be over, but this isn’t going to mean kiss and make up,” Miller said. “It’s going to take a long time to heal. And we’re not going through this again.”
He criticized Tafoya, who represents the Oxnard and Port Hueneme area, for seeking an endorsement from the teachers’ union before he was elected in 1990, then turning his back on union members.
“He sought and received endorsement by the Tri-County Labor Council and then voted with the board to attempt to bust this union. It’s hypocrisy at its best.”
Tafoya denies having any anti-union feelings.
“That’s totally false,” he said. “I didn’t meet with them as I used to meet with them while the legal issues were [ongoing] between us. I had to stay emotionally unattached to the negotiations and that’s hard to do when you’re meeting with” union representatives.
Miller also chided Nagel, who represents the Conejo Valley, for making a recent radio advertisement that implied that teachers involved in the labor dispute were being “lazy and greedy.”
Nagel said he wanted to dispel the “tremendous amounts of rumors out there” that he and Tafoya were encouraging faculty members to opt out of the union by allowing them to refuse to pay dues.
Now that negotiations appear to be over, “We can now answer whatever questions there are about how we feel on the issues,” Nagel said. “We never intended to be union-busting.”