Member Spotlight: Meeting Travis Balzarini, a leader in our union from Sonoma County
Tell me about the work you do on the Budget and Finance Committee for our union’s Executive Board
Usually, we meet once a month except when we are writing the budget. We take all the funding requests across the local and we either approve or deny the requests depending on their merits. We craft a budget for local-wide spending and we talk through whatever issues come up during that process.
What other leadership positions do you hold in the local?
I’m a delegate to the North Bay Labor Council for SEIU and I work with the SEIU California West Coast Pension Trustee group.
Why do you believe the BFC is important?
It’s important to adequately fund our campaigns so we can achieve our goals and our members get the contracts they deserve. We also balance that against keeping the org financially stable so that we can continue to make these investments in our members and continue fighting for their work conditions.
What inspired you to join the BFC?
I was recommended for the position and interviewed by the regional Vice-President, Mary Sandberg. I didn’t know much about the role but I’ve always had an interest in finance. The role fit into my interests and as a programmer, I’m very analytical which activated my skillset. Being on the BFC helped me transition into my role on the Sonoma County Pension System team because the kind of financial management is very similar.
How can members get involved or apply for one of the vacant seats on the E-Board?
They can contact any of the chapter or regional leadership or their reps to let us know they are interested. We look forward to having new people to represent our interests in the region. Anybody who has a somewhat analytical mindset would be perfect. Most of what we do is not very heavy on math and investment knowledge. Anyone who is willing to learn can get the job done.
What is something the BFC does that most people don’t know about?
We take community ally requests and sponsor or fund community allies that we work closely with. For instance, in the North Bay, we work with North Bay Jobs with Justice. We donate yearly and attend their fundraising events (NBJWJ). Through working on the BFC with community allies like NBJwJ, we are supporting ALL workers having collective bargaining rights, employment security, and a decent standard of living within our community and our economy. We donate to numerous organizations across the Bay Area that we partner with in some form or another on economic, social, or political justice. It’s not just what our union does at our worksites, through the BFC we also help the community in a lot of ways.