CFT United

Overview

CFT United

CFT United, previously named California Teacher, is the union’s flagship magazine that is emailed to all union members. The award-winning magazine contains union news and positions important to members, and covers major issues in each division of the CFT: PreK-12, Classified, Community College, University, and Retired. Browse stories by date here or by index.

CFT United is published regularly during the academic year. We welcome unsolicited articles, letters, and story ideas. Please send letters, submissions, or other inquiries to Publications Director Jane Hundertmark.

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California Teacher CFT Convention

Delegates pass wide-ranging resolutions at Convention
Topics range from rebranding and retirees to the Green New Deal

On its 100th Anniversary, the CFT voted to rebrand itself. In accordance with Resolution 1, which convention delegates passed unanimously, it will now be CFT: A Union of Educators and Classified Professionals. The change formally recognizes that the union proudly represents a broad spectrum of education workers.

Luukia Smith, elected Secretary Treasurer of the CFT by delegates, and the first classified employee to serve in this position, was first to rise in support of the change.

California Teacher CFT Convention CFT 100

Convention delegates celebrate the CFT’s 100th Anniversary
Gala, special guests, videos and exhibits showcase an extraordinary history

Hundreds of delegates to the CFT Convention celebrated the 100th Anniversary of their union at a hotel of nearly the same age, the historic Millennium Biltmore in downtown Los Angeles.

During general sessions, delegates watched a series of videos chronicling the CFT’s history of activism. Outside the ballroom doors, they could view a wide range of exhibits in the CFT Hall of History.

AFT endorses Biden for U.S. president
CFT survey results and AFT election resources

On March 22, AFT endorsed Joe Biden for U.S. President after more than a year of member engagement on the endorsement process — with more than 300,000 AFT members nationwide participating in candidate events, town halls, polls, regional conferences and other efforts — new membership polls show strong support for Biden. 

In November, CFT members will join voters around the country to cast their ballots for the next president of the United States. While we know that every election day is an important one, the upcoming election will represent an historic turning point for our country. 

We not only have the opportunity to elect a president who understands the value of public education, but one who will stand up for the rights of working people.

California Teacher Strike Local Action

Teachers never walk alone when they have union brothers and sisters
Six Days That Shook Los Angeles – Part 6, Conclusion

UTLA’s fight to save public education resonated far and wide. Messages of solidarity and selfies of fist-pumping teachers poured in from Kentucky to Canada. Union locals across Los Angeles set up support networks for more than 200 LAUSD schools. For Writers Guild members, joining teachers on picket lines was an opportunity to pay back their mentors.

California Teacher Strike Local Action

The power of parents: A new generation shows its commitment to local schools
Six Days That Shook Los Angeles - Part 5

United Teachers Los Angeles has fought for nearly 50 years to give parents a greater voice in how their children’s schools are run. In recent years, UTLA stepped up its outreach by hiring community organizers, building coalitions, and working with supporters in changing neighborhoods.

Those efforts bore fruit in January, when thousands of parents joined teachers on picket lines across the 700-square-mile school district to fight for “the schools our students deserve.”

California Teacher Strike Local Action

The UTLA strike was personal for Josh Pechthalt
Six Days That Shook Los Angeles - Part 4

Manual Arts High School has a proud 109-year history. Alumni include painter Jackson Pollock, actor Paul Winfield, and tennis champion Richard “Pancho” Gonzalez. Former teacher Josh Pechthalt was shaped by – and has helped to reshape – the South L.A. fixture.

CFT President Josh Pechthalt was a student at Fairfax High in 1970, when United Teachers Los Angeles struck for nearly a month. He later taught social studies at Manual Arts High School for more than 20 years, and was on the front lines in 1989, when UTLA struck a second time. 

California Teacher Strike Local Action

UTLA retirees link “Class of 2019” to 1989 and 1970 walkouts
Six Days That Shook Los Angeles - Part 3

During the strike, hundreds of retired L.A. teachers returned to their former schools to continue the fight for public education. One veteran of the two previous strikes said back then UTLA was up against an intransigent district, but didn’t have to face billionaires and unrestrained charter school growth.

UTLA-Retired is now mobilizing all its 4,300 members for the special election in March to fill a key seat on the LAUSD school board and tilt the balance away from a pro-charter majority.

California Teacher Strike Charter schools Local Action

Charter schools cost L.A. Unified nearly $600 million per year, board votes for moratorium
Six Days That Shook Los Angeles - Part 2

Eight days after the six-day strike had ramped up public pressure, the Los Angeles Unified school board passed a groundbreaking resolution calling for a moratorium on new charters in the district until Sacramento completes a study of how their unchecked expansion has affected traditional schools. The district also made a significant investment in local community schools.

California Teacher Up Front

A Blue Wave – but what next?

By Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President

By all measures, this was a very successful midterm election. Democrats picked up 40 seats in the U.S. House, which they will now control, and more than 300 legislative seats nationwide. In California, we ran the table on statewide officers and elected a supermajority in both houses of our state Legislature. Most importantly for us, Tony Thurmond was elected superintendent of public instruction. 

California Teacher Strike

Strike? Stand with L.A. teachers to win the schools students deserve

UPDATE: After the factfinding report was released on December 18, UTLA announced it will go on strike January 10.

A Red-for-Ed wave rolled through downtown Los Angeles on December 15 as tens of thousands of members and supporters of United Teachers Los Angeles protested large class sizes, low pay, over-testing, a shortage of school nurses and other support staff, and the unregulated growth of charter schools.

California Teacher

Students need more mental health support on campus, faculty too

By Mia L. McIver, President UC-AFT

In a recent survey of UC-AFT faculty, members highlighted mental health as an issue that deserves our union’s attention and energy. UC students experiencing psychological challenges often seek support from lecturers and other contract faculty, who are sometimes the only faculty with whom they can develop a one-to-one relationship.

California Teacher

Retirees stay true to the cause – keeping political, union skills sharp

AFT activists don’t stop being active when they retire. United Teachers Los Angeles retiree Jimmie Woods-Gray, for example, remains a whirlwind in the fight to stop the privatization of public education. UC-AFT Riverside’s Stephanie Kay, meanwhile, continues the daily fight for lecturers’ rights on University of California campuses.

California Teacher Rank & Files

Rank & Files
Nov-Dec 2018

KATHRYN MAYO, instructor of photography at Cosumnes River College and member of the Los Rios Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2279, grew up in a rural farming community just outside Selma, Alabama. Her narrative photography work – We are Selma: The Selma Portrait Project – will be honored at the local’s Union Hall Gallery in Sacramento in February.

California Teacher Up Front

A Blue Wave — only if we make it happen

By Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President

Years back, my family took a trip to Hawaii. While there, Japan suffered a serious earthquake and we were told to prepare for a tsunami that never materialized. Like the one on my trip, the “blue wave” that could give Democrats a majority in the House and possibly the Senate, might be just as illusory as our Hawaiian experience. Unless we help make it happen.

California Teacher Endorsements
Teachers welcomed the opportunity to talk one-on-one with Tony Thurmond at an event hosted by the Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers in Watsonville.

Choose True Blue on November 6
Vote Thurmond for state superintendent

It’s not every election cycle that California finds itself with critical, competitive races, but 2018 is not just any election year. California is a battleground state to take back the House of Representatives. Jerry Brown is termed out, so voters will elect a new governor for the first time in eight years. And the race for state superintendent pits charter schools against public schools.

California Teacher Janus
Theresa Alvarado Quainoo, an academic department assistant and member of the Palomar Council of Classified Employees, has committed to working with her colleagues to strengthen the union as the attacks come.

CFT members step up to the plate following Janus v. AFSCME decision

On June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned decades of precedent and eliminated the right of public sector unions to collect fair share, or agency fees, from non-members.

The justices ruled 5-4 in favor of Mark Janus, an Illinois fee payer, in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, overturning the 1977 precedent established in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. Those backing the case clearly hoped the decision would cripple union operations, but with so much at stake for educators and public education, CFT members have not only chosen to stay united but have gained in strength as a result.

California Teacher Charter schools

CFT scores major legislative victory by prohibiting for-profit charter schools in California

Gemma Abels, the president of the Morgan Hill Federation of Teachers, saw how for-profit charter schools hurt the children and families in her district in Santa Clara County. A school there, Flex Academy, operated by the largest for-profit charter company – K12 Inc. – closed just a few weeks before school started, leaving families scrambling to find places for their children.