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 Building Power Local Action

Local Wire, Feb-Mar 2017

MANY LOCALS

#DumpDeVos: Demonstrators at a boisterous event in Oakland — organized on social media in just a few days — denounced the nomination of Betsy DeVos for U.S. Secretary of Education. Hundreds of parents, educators, and students gathered at a noon rally on January 31.

California Teacher Labor Solidarity

Victory in Watsonville: Cannery workers show how solidarity works

KNOW OUR HISTORY

Watsonville, California, a produce powerhouse — July 1985: Mort Console, owner of Watsonville Canning, the major company in town, suddenly cuts wages by 40 percent and reduces health benefits. The factory workers of Teamsters Local 912 immediately vote to go out on strike, just as Console’s anti-union law firm has advised him they would: “Make outrageous demands; the workers will strike. Replace them with scabs. After 12 months, request a union decertification vote, which will then include the strikebreakers too.”

California Teacher Medicare Social Security

Retirees prepare to stand firm in a hostile new world
Social Security and Medicare targeted by majority party

Candidate Donald Trump told the American people he didn’t want to cut Social Security, but Republicans have opposed the system since its creation during the Depression.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has talked about “means testing” Social Security. In other words, wealthy seniors wouldn’t get benefits because they don’t need them. But they wouldn’t pay into the system, either, and losing the top 10 percent of contributors could lead to financial havoc. 

California Teacher State Budget

STATE EDUCATION BUDGET: Highlights and lowlights in governor’s initial proposal

On January 10, Gov. Brown released his proposed budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year amidst uncertainty about how federal actions may impact California. Federal funds currently account for more than one-third of the state budget, and according to the California Budget & Policy Center, 7.9 percent of federal dollars currently go to K-12 education and 5.2 percent to higher education.

Members unite to fight Trump’s immigration orders
Council builds solidarity by engaging with members on issues that unite

Before the election our focus was on leadership development,” says Mia McIver, vice president for organizing for the University Council-AFT, “and the election brought us a sense of new urgency.” Strong leaders will provide the underpinning for the campaigns the union will undertake as it faces the Trump administration and a predictable tsunami of anti-union and anti-education measures.

California Teacher

Union moves new priorities: CFT seeks paid maternity leave, technology audit, labor education

CFT seeks paid maternity leave, technology audit, labor education

Each year our members recommend legislation that will address important issues to educators and the students we serve. Based upon these recommendations and Executive Council approval, the CFT is sponsoring four new bills, an audit and two budget proposals aimed at improving our working conditions, and strengthening the labor movement and public education.

California Teacher Accreditation ACCJC

Fair accreditation: The long arc of our successful campaign
How a rogue agency damaged colleges in Compton and San Francisco

The Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges, a private 19-member panel that oversees community colleges in California and Hawaii, has been much in the news over its threat to pull City College of San Francisco’s accreditation — a battle the union and college recently won with the January 13 news that its accreditation is fully restored for the next seven years.

California Teacher

Night shift custodians work together, fight short staffing
Midnight organizing at El Camino College pays off

During the day, Manhattan Beach Boulevard overflows with traffic, but the only thing whipping down the street at 10 p.m. is a cold night wind. To the north, the lights of approaching jets trace the landing path to LAX in the night sky.

Darlene Esquivel pulls into a staff parking lot alongside the facilities management building at El Camino College. Esquivel is one of about 30 custodians on the graveyard shift who put the Torrance campus back in shape nightly while more than 22,000 students sleep.

California Teacher Part-time faculty Reemployment Rights SB 1379

New law brings reemployment rights for part-time faculty
Successful CFT-sponsored legislation calls for districts to negotiate

Community college districts will soon be compelled to negotiate what CFT-sponsored legislation calls “reemployment preference for part-time, temporary faculty.” The landmark provisions require districts to negotiate with the union in order to receive significant funding available from the state Student Success and Support Program. 

California Teacher California Teachers of the Year

Two members named California Teachers of Year
Poway special education teacher, Los Angeles ESL science teacher honored

Megan Gross, a teacher at Del Norte High School in the Poway Unified School District, one of two CFT members recognized as a California Teacher of the Year, credits her union with having her back.

“I feel like they’re very supportive,” she said about San Diego County’s Poway Federation of Teachers. “They’ve been a great support to both our department and our school.”

California Teacher General Election 2016

California Legislature remains Democratic bastion
Democrats win supermajorities, endorsed candidates fare well

PART 2: STATEWIDE CANDIDATES

With the future of national politics uncertain, the role of the California Legislature in shaping public education policy and labor rights is more critical than ever. The work it undertakes in coming years will have a large and direct impact on members, their students, and their communities.

California Teacher Accreditation ACCJC

Congresswoman Speier leads forum on accreditation
Broad support for San Francisco City College in advance of January decision

Bay Area Congresswoman Jackie Speier convened a panel discussion at City College of San Francisco on November 28, her third on the topic since the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges revoked the accreditation of City College in 2013.

Speier pointed out that the people of San Francisco love their college, having just voted in November for a second parcel tax to support it, and passing Proposition W to make tuition free. She is “hopeful and optimistic” about the college’s future and defeating the ACCJC.

California Teacher First Book Member Benefits

Families drawn to 40,000-book giveaway
Daly City AFT local unions host FirstBook community outreach

The 40,000-book giveaway at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School on October 8, drew many families from Daly City’s Asian community, which accounts for almost 60 percent of the city’s 100,000 residents.

  • Julius Li, who was looking for books with 16-month-old daughter Madison in his arms, said they have story time twice a day.
  • Annabelle Mai, a first grader at Westlake Elementary, was happy because reading books is her favorite thing to do before going to sleep at night.
California Teacher General Election 2016

Retirees work presidential election in swing states
Pajaro Valley’s Julie Armstrong named top volunteer in Florida

Because Hillary Clinton needed to win in Florida, I volunteered, along with CFT and AFT retirees from other states, in the Sunshine State.

We worked with diverse groups of Floridians in the AFT and other labor unions through the Working America Coalition, a political action committee of the AFL-CIO. Working America fights for working families, union and non-union, in campaigns to elect progressive candidates and pass legislation to improve the lives of working families.

California Teacher Up Front General Election 2016

Responding to election of Donald Trump: Reassess, Mobilize, Defend

By Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President

I have been hearing from CFT members who supported Donald Trump and are not happy that the CFT is sticking its nose into politics. 

We would be looking at a much different scenario in our schools and colleges, our communities and unions, and in Sacramento, if the CFT had not led the way on the Millionaires Tax, which became Proposition 30 and now Proposition 55, and before that, led the way on Proposition 25, the Majority Budget Act.

California Teacher

The woman who helped California women win the vote
Immigrant, suffragist, reproductive rights pioneer never gave up

KNOW OUR HISTORY

Hillary Clinton’s historic run for U.S. President and popular vote victory didn’t just come out of nowhere. She and all the other women who are so much a part of our politics stand on the shoulders of the bold, creative organizers who came before them — women who never let a few losses stop them. Women with names we should know but probably don’t. One of these is Frances Nacke Noel.

California Teacher Rank & Files

Rank & Files, Nov-Dec 2016

UC-AFT

#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.

California Teacher Local Action

Local Wire, Nov-Dec 2016

UC-AFT

#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.