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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Legislature sends governor bill to include noon duty aides in classified service

Current law exempts part-time playground employees from classified status if they don’t also hold a second position in the same school district. Legislation now on the governor’s desk, however, would include part-timers who don’t have a second job.

AB 670 by Assemblyman Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) would help about 1,500 “noon dutys” statewide.

“Part-time playground employees work side by side with classified employees performing similar duties,” Thurmond said. “They deserve the same protection and benefits as classified employees.”

California Teacher Union Fair Share Janus v. AFSCME

Delivering for the union: Signing up new members one stop at a time
Driver and local president Albert Lopez moves between 13 campuses

The Riverside County community of Menifee is on the upswing. More than 1,000 new homes are under construction, new businesses are opening their doors, and new families are moving in. The Menifee Union School District sees increased enrollment on the horizon. The Menifee Council of Classified Employees is also expanding. In fact, the CFT recently honored the local for placing second in two categories recognizing member growth: most new members (151) and highest rate of growth (42 percent).

California Teacher Affordability Crisis

When educators can’t afford to live where they work
Housing crisis hits teachers and staff in urban and rural areas

Last year, Veronica Juarez, a peer education coach and middle-school teacher in San Francisco for more than 20 years, was living in the city with her mom and two kids. Now, after an owner move-in eviction, she and her 10-year-old son, Rio, are living in a couple rooms and limited kitchen access. Her mom moved back to Mexico, and her daughter, in college at Long Beach, will stay there.

California Teacher Environment

CFT becomes first statewide U.S. union to
 adopt Climate Justice Agenda
Core tenets advanced by task force adopted as union policy

FIRST PERSON | Jim Miller

The CFT made history in 2016 when it became the first statewide labor organization in the United States to adopt a Climate Justice Agenda. When Resolution 29 was brought before delegates to the CFT Convention, I presented the history of my local union in forging the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council Environmental Caucus, the first such body in the nation.

California Teacher Immigration DACA Safe Havens

Being an UndocuAlly
How to create a safe campus for undocumented communities

Four days before President Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Sarah, a young student who commutes an hour each way to attend classes, emailed me that she was dropping my class.

She believed the impending end of DACA meant she would lose her source of income, her DACA driver’s license, and access to financial aid. She was also afraid she and her family would be deported. Her fears were real, however the information she received was incorrect.

California Teacher Comparable Worth Pay Equity

Two union women and the fight for pay equity

How the “comparable worth” campaign succeeded

On a hillside in San Francisco a small public school bears the name of one of the pioneers in the movement for workplace equality. Kate Kennedy was born in Ireland, and like so many others, came to the United States during the Great Potato Famine of 1845-49. She was the first San Francisco teacher to join a union. In 1874, she brought a non-discrimination suit that provided the precedent for “equal pay for equal work.” Ultimately a federal law passed in 1963 made it illegal to pay men and women working in the same place different salaries for similar work.

California Teacher Up Front Janus v. AFSCME

Tried and true methods: Union organizing begins in the workplace

By Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President

We learned in the final days of September that the U.S. Supreme Court will take up another union fair share case. With the court’s ruling coming early next year, it feels like we are on a ship with an iceberg rapidly approaching. Fortunately, as we prepare for an unfavorable decision in the Janus v. AFSCME case, we had already prepared for the similar Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case. 

California Teacher

Mid-session update: Union-sponsored bills pass through key legislative committees

Our CFT-sponsored legislation successfully passed out of policy committees before the May 12 deadline for bills introduced in their house of origin to be heard. The union’s proposal before the Joint Legislative Audit Committee also succeeded. In addition, CFT is lobbying several priority bills and continues to monitor legislation that would be harmful to educators, our students and communities. You can find regular legislative updates here.

California Teacher CFT Convention Women in Education Award

Melinda Dart: Women in Education Award

The day after Donald Trump was elected president, Melinda Dart, CFT vice president and president of the Jefferson Elementary Federation in Daly City, saw a sixth-grade boy with his head on a desk, sobbing. Girls asked her how a person who’d said the things Trump said could have been elected president. Dart didn’t have an answer for that, but she was glad to see these sixth-graders angry. 

California Teacher CFT Convention

AFT leader brings perspective and vision

Lorretta Johnson says unions and communities united can take on the right

AFT Secretary Treasurer Lorretta Johnson pledged to join the CFT in resisting. Except for one thing. 

“I went to jail once in a teachers’ strike,” she said. “My husband heard I was in jail and he didn’t come get me — I vowed I’d never go back.”

California Teacher CFT Convention Union Leaders

Officer elections: Pechthalt, Freitas reelected

Delegates overwhelming elected the Unity Slate, led by CFT President Joshua Pechthalt and Secretary Treasurer Jeff Freitas. The slate’s 24 vice presidents were elected from among a field of 29 candidates. Pechthalt and Freitas have now begun their fourth two-year term as leaders of the California Federation of Teachers.

See more photos on Facebook. Members in MotionHighlights Recap.

California Teacher CFT Convention Resolution

Spirited debate on resolutions

Issues range from academic freedom and racial justice to community schools

At the CFT Convention March 31 through April 2, delegates took action on 23 policy resolutions addressing topics from community schools to immigrant rights to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

California Teacher CFT Convention Immigration Safe Havens

Delegates march for immigrant rights

DACA students, educators speak out at ICE building, state Capitol

Friday, Cesar Chavez Day, the first day of the CFT Convention, Art Pulaski of the California Labor Federation promised the delegates that he will make sure other unions — the plumbers, carpenters, and building trades — back up the CFT in their fight against charter schools and privatization. Then he got them fired up for the march in support of immigrant rights.

California Teacher

CFT Convention prepares us for tough challenges facing the union

By Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President

The CFT completed its 75th Convention and Jeff Freitas and I were honored to be re-elected by delegates to lead this great, progressive union. A new Executive Council was also elected, a diverse group of local leaders that will help guide this organization in the difficult period ahead.

California Teacher Rank & Files

Rank & Files, Apr-May 2017

David Stein, lecturer of history and African-American studies at UCLA and member of UC-AFT Los Angeles, Local 1990, received the Maria Stewart Best Journal Article Prize from the African American Intellectual History Society for his article titled “This Nation Has Never Honestly Dealt with the Question of a Peacetime ‘Economy’: Coretta Scott King and the Struggle for a Nonviolent Economy in the 1970s.” Stein also co-hosts a monthly podcast called Who Makes Cents covering the history of capitalism.

California Teacher Local Action

Local Wire, Apr-May 2017

MANY LOCALS
#ScienceMarch Numerous local unions took a stand for reason, facts and scientific analysis in the Science March and Climate March held during the month of May, including groups from the Greater Santa Cruz Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2030, and UC-AFT San Diego, AFT Local 2226.

California Teacher CalSTRS CalPERS

Pension battles shift from ballots to courts
Tracking the latest strategies that attack public employee pensions

For years, people have been trying to attack pensions with ballot propositions, said Doug Orr, an economics professor at City College of San Francisco and the chair of the of the CFT Retirement Policy Committee. Those propositions always go down in defeat, Orr said, and now those attacks on pensions are coming to the courts. 

California Teacher Contingent Faculty Academic Freedom

Contingent faculty and academic freedom in the age of Trump
Organizing the disenfranchised is the key to success

By Bob Samuels, President UC-AFT

Now that more than 75 percent of the instructors teaching in higher education in the United States do not have tenure, it is important to think about how the current political climate affects those vulnerable teachers. Although we should pay attention to how all faculty are being threatened, non-tenured faculty are in an especially exposed position because they often lack any type of academic freedom or shared governance rights.