Taken from an interview with Julien Minard: 4/29/16
First professional work
“Every eleven years I change professions…. I was a public school teacher, two years at Glendale High teaching speech and English, then I came to CSU Long Beach for my masters and taught a junior high school reading class. I taught for ABC (Artesia, Bloomfield, Carmenita Unified School District). That’s how I got involved with and started working for the union, with CFT – (California Federation of Teachers).
Back in the 1960’s there was no collective bargaining. We passed ours in 1975, that’s when it effected people I knew. Before that the only way to get an agreement was if you had a lot of power and could leverage it. There was the Winton Act, which said the management had to sit down and listen to us. They called it “Meet and Confer” we called it “Meet and Differ”. But the new law said that for teachers of K-12 and community college, you had the right to form an employee organization without management interference.”
With the union
“I started on January 1st, 1978 and did that until August of 1988. I lived in San Jose and Santa Cruz. We were organizing all over the place and teaching people how to bargain contracts. Not everybody jumped in right away, and it took years for all the elections to happen, to select which union to represent the people (CFT, CTA, others…)
When the law was first passed, the first group that wanted a union had to circulate petitions that said something like “I hereby authorize the CTA to represent me in all things about hours, wages, working conditions, terms and conditions of employment…” And they had to get 50% of the employs to sign that card. In 1978, Proposition 13 changed the property taxes here in California and that changed how much money schools got, and the layoffs were amazing. 400 teachers laid off…. We’ve undercut ourselves (in the schools) dramatically since then. My masters degree at CSU Long Beach in 1969 was $50. UC, State schools, and community colleges were tuition free. It’s doable…”
After the union
“…I was working in Santa Cruz and San Jose for the union and I wanted to leave. That’s when I moved to Portland, Oregon. I thought about mediation for labor, but I was tired of labor and its’ subjects. I was tired of hearing management’s arguments. And when you get tired of something, sometimes… I have a tendency to get disrespectful, which doesn’t get you anywhere. I was ready for a career change, and went to Willamette University – their law school had a dispute-resolution certificate, and I worked for the city of Portland part time (Portland City Mediation Center). Later, I went to work for them full time. They weren’t paying me much but I wanted the experience.
Once I started working full time I got to really implement things. There were 4 full-time mediators working here, and we ran a volunteer program. One thing we developed was a Police-and-Citizen mediation program. If you filed a compliant with internal affairs against a certain police officer they would offer you the opportunity to have a mediation with that officer. It was voluntary for both parties. I ended up being the one who ran it, and we used volunteer mediators for the most part. I like justice, but I also like connecting with people. I like the courage. I like when people stand up for what they believe.”
Back to the union
“…In ’99 the place was so crazy that I called my old boss (at CFT) and asked if they had any work. I moved back to California, and applied for a job that just opened up and I got it. They said I could locate anywhere I wanted and I picked Long Beach. With the union job I had in Santa Cruz in the 80’s, we did a 5 night, 6 day summer school program where you could take a class on collective bargaining, political action, grievances… Maybe 8 different cases. It was a big operation, and I decided early on that I wanted music with the night program. It was labor music and political music. When I came back to work for them I did that again. I would get musicians for the convention and different programs.
(Some of the other artists include Mark Levy, Jon Fromer, Emma’s Revolution, Joe Jencks, Francisco Herrera, and Rebel Voice).”
“I went to high school in South Dakota, at a time where South Dakota and Mississippi were fighting for last place in per capita income and how much was spent on education. This school was sad in many ways, but we had band, and choir. We were never good, but there were some individual musicians that were good. And they never cut that program, even though they didn’t really have the money. I was a jazz fan before I even heard of labor music. My sister came home from the University of Minnesota and she had been listening to jazz – Dave Brubeck and Errol Garner were the first two people that she introduced me to. My parents weren’t musical but they loved to dance, and we lived in this tiny town in the middle of nowhere, and there was this man that lived in town and would book bands like Tommy Dorsey, Lawrence Welk, and a pianist named Frankie Carl, and they’d come and play a dance show and a concert.”
“Anne Feeny and Chris Chandler performed for the first concert I did here at the house in 2004. Other groups and performers include String Madness, New West Guitar Group, Sara Gazrek, Luther Hughes, Joe Bagg, Ron Eschete, Bruce Babad, Becca Stevens, and Steve, Sasha, and Martin Masakowski. I don’t really know what I’m doing… But I love their music, and I want the people that I really like to be heard by more people.”
The next house concert will be Sunday, August 21st from 3-6pm featuring Will Brahm and Homenaje. Tickets are $20 per person, and dinner is served for an additional $12.