Meet Our Slate

Zachary Valdez

he/him

President

Constitutional Convention Delegate

Columbia University Support Staff

Zachary Valdez is an organizer, cultural worker, artist and proud Local 2110 member fighting to make our union more democratic and worker-led. He is a member of Unite All Workers for Democracy and organized alongside fellow union activists for the historic One Member, One Vote referendum. A shop steward and bargaining committee member at Columbia in their ongoing negotiations, Zach has worked to make sure all members in his unit have a voice at the bargaining table through his constant outreach to his 500 member union family. In their most challenging contract fight in years, he has not backed down on members’ demands for a fair wage increase to offset rising costs and better health care. 

 

As the first queer, Latinx president of Local 2110, Zach brings leadership rooted in empathy and a desire to bring workers from all backgrounds together in our fight against the boss. Following in the footsteps of his LGBTQ+ family before him, he brings a fierceness to the worker fight driven not only by his experiences of being marginalized, but by his ancestors’ experiences of racism and discrimination as migrant farm workers in South Texas, and his single-mother’s employment insecurity resulting in low wages, bad benefits and multiple layoffs in her life. Zach organizes for his family, for his coworkers, for all of us. He is excited for the work ahead and looks forward to bringing a new vision to Local 2110 as your president alongside his team on the DIA 2110 slate.

Lee Barrett Diaz

She/her

Vice-President

New York University Graduate Student Organizing Committee

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Leandra “Lee” Barrett Diaz is a graduate worker, educator, and PhD candidate at New York University, where she is a proud member of the Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC). Lee has organized with GSOC for five years, first as a rank-and-file graduate worker, and later as a co-organizer of GSOC’s successful 3-week strike. She most recently served as an elected unit representative, while also building solidarity across shops: she spearheaded a “don’t scab” pledge or academic workers, recruiting more than 775 NYC-area educators to refuse Columbia University’s blatant strike-busting during the 10-week strike by the Student Workers of Columbia, our UAW Siblings. She is currently a GSOC humanities shop steward and co-coordinator of the GSOC working group for International and Immigrant Workers. 

 

Lee’s upbringing as the daughter and granddaughter of a long distance truck driver, a farm worker, and an oil field roughneck allows her to deeply understand and appreciate the importance of democratic union power across sectors.

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María Angeles Taveras has been a Local 2110 member for 20 years and a shop steward for nearly a decade. In her time at Columbia, she has served on the bargaining committee in 2019,  and again this year, one of the most challenging contract fights in recent history. While Columbia demands givebacks on healthcare and attempts to erode her bargaining unit, she has stood firm in defense of her 500 member union family and will continue to do so until members’ demands are met. She attributes her strength in this fight to her faith and her work as a pastor, in which María helps marginalized communities to overcome injustice. Working in the Office of Alumni and Development for two decades, María is experienced in accounting and financial reconciliation and administration. Outside of Columbia, as the CEO of her international ministry operating in the Dominican Republic and the U.S., she oversees all departments, including finances. She is well equipped to be Local 2110’s next Secretary-Treasurer and is dedicated to fulfilling the reporting duties outlined in the UAW Constitution to guarantee the proper functioning of our local.

 

As the mother of a son with a disability who needs weekly medical treatment and visits from home health aides, she also understands the high stakes of winning comprehensive healthcare in new contracts and maintaining hard fought benefits in contract renewals. Able to benefit herself from flexible and remote work, she believes all Local 2110 members should be able to benefit from the same. She joins the DIA 2110 slate because she wants to see stronger contracts and more community in 2110, which she actively builds among the members she represents in her building at Columbia, and which she practices in her own community every day.

María Angeles Taveras

She/her

Secretary-Treasurer 

Columbia University Support Staff

t. tran le

They/them

Recording Secretary

Asian American Writers’ Workshop

t. tran le is the Events and Workshops Coordinator for the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, where they were part of the organizing committee that established the AAWW Union in 2018. Since organizing and collectively bargaining, AAWW Union has won contracts that are thorough in policies regarding discrimination and workplace safety, winning a contract in 2021 that had the most extensive anti-discrimination policy in UAW Local 2110 history. t. currently serves on AAWW Union’s bargaining committee and is the shop steward for AAWW Union.

 

t. is a college dropout from the University of Houston where they facilitated and led campaigns against corporate vendors on campus, calling for more ethical contracts and partnerships at the university. These campaigns sparked mobilization in t., concerning fair labor practices and the wellbeing of workers overall. t.’s work with community has been documented in the Houston Chronicle and as a feature for Student of the Month with Campus Progress.

 

Prior to the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, t. worked in restaurants and hospitality for over a decade. t. has been a working poet for a lifetime and has won nominations for the Pushcart and Best of the Net prizes.

 

Within the arts nonprofit sector, t. cheers for efforts that resist the extensively broken industry and its haphazard care for workers. AAWW Union has been widely sought out for consultation from unionizing workplaces and has participated in national panels on labor and organizing. t. has a keen desire to see the arts and culture nonprofit industry reimagined as worker-centered, non-hierarchical, and dismantling its inherit white and imperial supremacy. In a field notorious for gatekeeping and opaque practices, t. dreams and takes action with colleagues, working across organizations to disrupt as many silos as possible. t.’s commitment to transparency and the wide dispersal of accurate and up-to-date information is lifelong.

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Colin Vanderburg

He/him

Guide

New York University Graduate Student Organizing Committee

Colin Vanderburg is a PhD student in English at NYU and a unit representative for GSOC, the NYU graduate employee union. Active as a rank-and-file member since 2018, Colin served as a shop steward in 2019–20, and as a member of the bargaining committee in spring 2021. While on the BC, Colin helped negotiate GSOC’s historic current contract, which includes 30% raises in the first year for hourly workers; expanded health coverage (including an innovative fund for out-of-pocket costs); tax and legal support for international students; enhanced vacation and parental leave; and much more. These gains were won after a three-week strike that mobilized hundreds of GSOC members even in the midst of the pandemic. As a unit representative, Colin has helped win grievances regarding back pay, health insurance, and parental leave, working closely with members to advocate for their rights. With fellow Democracy in Action candidates and members from across Local 2110, Colin is excited to help build a strong, democratic, worker-led Local.

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Leigh Taylor

He/him

Guide

Sergeant-At-Arms

Columbia University Support Staff

Leigh Taylor has worked as an A/V tech at Columbia since 2011 and has been a Local 2110 member since 2013. In his work on campus, he forms relationships with students, staff and faculty across many different schools and academic programs. As Sergeant-At-Arms, he will continue to build relationships across our local to make our union community more close-knit–because when our community is strong, our union is healthy. He is committed to improving communications with 2110 members and to being a voice for those who have felt excluded from the local in the past. 

 

Working as an essential employee during the pandemic, Leigh and his union siblings were put in dangerous situations by management, asked to work in buildings where students were quarantined without being provided appropriate PPE, and even asked to staff a Covid testing site with only a cloth mask as protection. Now involved in the Columbia contract fight, he sees that the university refuses to acknowledge the hard work he and his colleagues did to keep Columbia running. He joins the DIA 2110 slate to fight for the health and safety of all Local 2110 members, and to make sure that all our union siblings win what they deserve from the boss.

Anila Gill

She/her

Trustee*

New York University Graduate Student Organizing Committee

Anila Gill is a Ph.D. candidate in Cinema Studies at NYU and an organizer with GSOC-UAW 2110. As a Bargaining Committee member in Spring 2021, she fought to win stronger protections against discrimination and harassment and continued to champion social justice unionism as a Unit Rep in Fall 2021. She looks forward to organizing across units within Local 2110 and advocating for worker demands that come from the shop floor.

 

*Anila has been an NYU-GSOC member in good standing for two years, and is appealing the Elections Committee’s decision that she is ineligible for election; her name will not appear on the initial ballot.

Claudette Chanoine

She/her

Trustee

Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung NYC

Claudette Chanoine has been a Local 2110 member since 2015, when Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung unionized. Since then, she has defended her union siblings’ rights under their contract as a shop steward. She joins the DIA 2110 slate as Trustee to advocate for the many smaller shops that have become a part of our local in recent years. For Claudette, to build a strong union, she believes we must work harder to engage union members from shops like hers in our collective fight for good contracts. As an immigrant who directly understands the importance of inclusion, she is also committed to improving communication across Local 2110 so that no member feels left behind, whether during bargaining, cross-shop solidarity actions or in the day-to-day life of union workers in New York City. Coming out of the pandemic, Claudette is concerned for workers everywhere to receive both the healthcare and mental healthcare they need to thrive. As a trustee, she will advocate for improvements to these benefits for all 2110 members. Claudette holds both a B.S. in accounting and an M.B.A., and is an experienced financial administrator who will guarantee the annual financial audit conducted by the Executive Board Trustees is the most comprehensive and professional possible for our great union.

N/A TK (Nathaniel Otting)

They/them

Trustee

Museum of Modern Art

Library Assistant at MoMA and Local 2110 member since 2016, Nat has been an active member of Arts Against Displacement for four years, during which time they've organized with Artists Union, Chinese Staff and Workers Association, NMASS, and Youth Against Displacement.

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