For Gary Brilowski, president of the Fox Valley Technical College Education Support Professional Association, work and union are interwoven in his daily experience.
Brilowski, one of two employees on the college’s Digital Media Team, knows the campuses’ operations in-and-out. And he’s happy to provide his expertise to faculty and union brothers and sisters alike.
As part of WEAC’s strategic goal to elevate Education Support Professionals, state Secretary-Treasurer Arlene Braden toured Fox Valley Tech to hear firsthand about the similarities and differences when it comes to work in this area of our membership.
For instance, Brilowski and leaders in other technical college settings are gearing up for upcoming recertification elections. Technical college unions recertify in April, instead of November when K-12 locals can recertify.
“I’m blown away by the magnitude of programming and skill level of the Educational Support Professionals and faculty in the tech college setting,” Braden said. “The way the faculty and ESP units work together is a good example for locals across Wisconsin.”
“We try to work with instructors as closely as possible, when it comes to work or union,” Brilowski said, noting that respect between all employees is essential. “We talk a lot about how our issues are so different, but some are the same. And we all have the same goal, the same purpose, at the end of the day.”
“We educate homeless people who now have jobs and homes. We have programs teaching criminal offenders about welding, and most of the graduates now have a job in manufacturing. We have high-tech programs you can’t find anywhere else,” Brilowski said. “Just like in K-12 schools, educators in tech schools are there to help our students succeed.”