#NoDAPL: University members have been steadfast in support of the Standing Rock Sioux resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline that threatens tribal water sources. On November 10, UC-AFT Berkeley members rallied in front of Wells Fargo Bank in Oakland, urging it to stop financing the pipeline.
On November 22, more than 100 members staged a “Say No to Trump, Say Yes to Standing Rock” protest at UC Irvine. Standing in solidarity with the Sioux, the crowd called out the president-elect’s dangerous position on climate change. Andrew Tonkovich, president of UC-AFT Irvine declared the protests “part of our commitment to teaching for the advancement of critical thinking.”
Although other unions may have convinced the AFL-CIO to support the pipeline for jobs, the project violates Native American treaty rights and increases global warming. The CFT sent a letter to the AFL-CIO in opposition to the Dakota pipeline route.
The CFT Executive Council passed a resolution supporting Standing Rock on December 3, the same weekend the Army Corps of Engineers issued a halt construction order.
#NativeEd: Robert Chacanaca joined AFT members from Hawaii, Alaska, the Midwest and Southwest at the recent National Indian Education Association convention in Reno.
The event included a presentation on the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s fight to stop the Dakota Access Pipe Line, as well as scores of workshops.
Chacanaca — a member of the Kupa tribe who heads the Santa Cruz Council of Classified Employees — said the AFT stepped up its support for the NIEA last year, when President Randi Weingarten was the keynote speaker at the annual convention, resulting in “more Native awareness within the AFT.”
Classified employees often play a key role, Chacanaca said, in “schools where there are Native teaching aides, food service staff and office personnel, but not necessarily Native teachers.” The majority of California’s Native students attend public schools.
#unionstrong: Teachers and staff at the Spanish-immersion Escuela Bilingue Internacional have joined the Bay Area French-American Federation of Teachers, which represents French-immersion Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley and other private schools. A majority of educators at Escuela chose AFT as their exclusive bargaining representative on October 18.
“Joining the CFT reassures our teachers and staff that they will not be forgotten,” said educator Laura Guevara, “and that they continue to play a central role in the school’s success and longevity.”
#ABCteachernews: Over 110 educators participated in the Annual West Coast Labor Management Institute held in Buena Park on October 19. District teams throughout California shared promising labor-management collaboration practices.
Other guests included top officers of the CFT and AFT, CTA and NEA, Consortium for Educational Change, and representatives from the South African Democratic Teachers Union. Saul Rubinstein, professor of Labor Relations at Rutgers University, presented the latest research on labor-management collaboration and its impact on student achievement and teacher retention.
The next day, participants joined the ABC Federation of Teachers’ 17th Annual Partnership of Administration and Labor Conference, where union site representatives and school principals share best practices of collaboration. In workshops, teams from district schools promoted technology projects and Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports.