Contagious…This spring Ann Marie Wasserbauer, president of the Association of College Educators, delivered 513 petitions from faculty and students to the West Valley-Mission Community College Board of Trustees with the message: “Come back to the bargaining table!”
The union is seeking a faculty-inclusive, shared governance-based structure. When school resumed this fall, so the did the local’s campaign. At flex day, faculty members held up signs demanding a “Fair Contract Now” and “Quality Education for Students.”
Steward Carol Brockmeier, chair and 14-year veteran of the Health Occupations Department at Mission College, described the atmosphere in the room as “contagious,” and said there were not enough signs for all those emboldened to take part. The faculty action was designed to jumpstart negotiations ahead of mediation in September.
Memorial scholarship…The Antelope Valley College Federation of Classified Employees has established a scholarship fund in honor of Karen “KC” Curtis, a former CFT field representative who died suddenly on September 2. “KC did so much for our local and she really empowered me as a union leader,” said local President Pamela Ford.
Curtis, 61, retired from the CFT last year. She was the former president of the Compton College Federation of Employees, and a CFT field representative in Los Angeles for 22 years.
Power at work…Nearly 100 members of the Cerritos College Faculty Federation rallied at the district board meeting September 21 to demand that trustees approve the tentative agreement already ratiﬁed by faculty, 283 to 2. The board had declined to vote on the contract.
“This is the power of collective action at work,” bargaining team member Stephanie Rosenblatt told the crowd. In the end, the board approved the contract 7-0.
After years of stalled negotiations, the Federation increased membership and faculty involvement. This fall at campus orientations, the local served breakfast to 70 new full- and part-time faculty members, landed a slot on the packed agenda, and signed up 50 new members. New faculty were welcomed by their union on their ﬁrst day of work, and know to make the union a key part of their support network.
CFT honored for efforts to ban pesticide use near schools
The Californians for Pesticide Reform recognized the CFT for helping to protect schoolchildren and staff from hazardous pesticides sprayed near schools. The “Organizational Leadership Award” was presented after a July 12 action in Sacramento where 150 demonstrators delivered 27,000 petitions to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Pesticide Regulation.
Many people believe the department has waited too long to protect children in California from chemicals associated with health-harming agents that can cause a host of life-threatening diseases.
Demands for new protections have grown since 2014, when the California Department of Public Health released a groundbreaking report, “Agricultural Pesticide Use Near Public Schools in California,” which documented the extensive use of hazardous pesticides in close proximity to schools in 15 agricultural counties.