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 digital magazine contains union news 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

Membership Growth Awards recognize organizing

With the June 2018 Supreme Court 5-4 decision on Janus v. AFSCME ending “fair share” revenues, many locals were prepared to lose members, and organized to stop that.

“Some people will find it attractive to save a few hundred bucks, so we have to develop a new culture of unionism and union activism,” Community College Council President Jim Mahler told the delegates, encouraging them to greet new workers on campus. “We say, ‘Hi, here’s where the copy machine is, here’s the bathroom, and here’s the union card.’ We’ve got to be membership driven.”

California Teacher CFT Convention Prop 13

Convention speakers inspire through historic perspective
Reverse the damage of Prop 13 and build union strength

WATCH THE VIDEO: Jackie Goldberg

WATCH THE VIDEO: Bill Fletcher, Jr.

Former teacher and Assemblymember Jackie Goldberg welcomed Convention delegates to Los Angeles on March 22 and recounted an important history in the CFT’s 100th Anniversary year. She talked about the need to reverse the damage of Proposition 13.

California Teacher CFT Convention Prop 30

CFT President Joshua Pechthalt honored with Ben Rust Award

AFT Local 2121 member and former CFT Communications Director Fred Glass presented retiring CFT President Joshua Pechthalt with the CFT’s highest honor, the Ben Rust Award. Glass called Pechthalt, who was AFT vice president of United Teachers Los Angeles before being elected CFT president in 2011, an organizer, a trade unionist, and a fighter for social justice like Rust.

California Teacher CFT Convention privatization
Fred Albert, president of AFT-West Virginia speaks to the successful mobilizations of educators in his red state.

In unflinching terms, Nancy MacLean spells out the right-wing attack on America
Rebuilding union power is key – AFT West Virginia and UTLA are doing just that

WATCH THE VIDEO: Nancy MacLean

WATCH THE VIDEO: Aryana Fields performs “Strike Song”

When future historians look back on this period, Donald Trump and his presidency will be seen as a sideshow while a slow attempted takeover of our core branches of government is underway.

California Teacher CFT Convention resolutions

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.

Article Elections 2020

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 strikes 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 strikes 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 strikes 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 strikes 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 strikes 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 strikes

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 members elected

Four members tell their stories of election success
Our voices must be heard! Members elected to district governing boards

Jeanie Wallace had considered running for office before. As a union rep for the Morgan Hill Federation of Teachers and the chair of the local Democratic Party Central Committee, she knew how hard it could be to find candidates for the school board. But she thought she was too busy, and planned to do it when she retired.

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.