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 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. 

California Teacher accreditation ACCJC

Faculty grill replacement leader of the ACCJC
Interim commission president listens, pledges some new ways forward

At the end of a CFT Convention Friday night Community College Council meeting that went over the 10 o’clock ending time, Richard Winn said he wanted to continue being a “thinking partner” with the CFT and thanked everyone for their honesty.

He might have preferred a little less honesty. Winn is the interim president of the Accreditation Commission of Community and Junior Colleges, and the assembled members of CFT had plenty to say about the commission’s unfairness, lack of transparency, and meddling in collective bargaining. The CFT has a federal lawsuit against ACCJC and continues to fight for a new accreditor. 

California Teacher Noon Dutys part-time employment

Bringing part-time playground aides into classified service
AB 670 would give “noon dutys” long overdue workplace rights

> Para leer este artículo en español, hagaclic aquí

Lesa Estrada has been a noon duty aide at Lawndale’s Anderson Elementary since her son began kindergarten here more than 25 years ago. 

“All three of my children attended Anderson,” Estrada said. “I’ve seen kids grow up and bring us their children. Now some are bringing us their grandchildren.”

California Teacher Bilingual Education English Language Learners

Bilingual education back in national spotlight
Where will we find enough multilingual teachers amidst shortage?

Last November, California voters passed Proposition 58 — the Language Education, Acquisition and Readiness Now initiative, or LEARN — by the largest margin of any measure on the ballot.

Today, the CFT and community organizations are working with state education officials and local school districts to revive and update bilingual programs mothballed after voters passed Proposition 227 in 1998.

California Teacher CFT Convention Endorsements

Tony Thurmond speaks from the heart

Announces bid for state superintendent of public instruction after Convention

Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) didn’t have an easy start in life. His father abandoned the family, and his mother, a Panamanian immigrant, died of cancer when he was six.

California Teacher Noon Dutys part-time employment

Luchando por los derechos laborales de los asistentes escolares de tiempo parcial
AB 670 reconocería a "noon dutys" como trabajadores clasificados

Lesa Estrada es asistente escolar en la Escuela Primaria Anderson de Lawndale desde que su hijo empezó el kinder hace más de 25 años.

“Mis tres hijos asistieron a la Anderson”, afirma Estrada. “He visto a niños crecer y traer a sus hijos. Ahora algunos nos traen a sus nietos”, agrega.

California Teacher Gender Equity

Six “Aha! moments” from the Women’s March on Washington

By Katharine Harer

My flight out of SFO was delayed and I nearly missed my connecting flight. But this time it wasn’t just me running from one end of an airport to the other. It was a posse of determined women — many in pink hats with ears — a teenager, a college student, a few of us in that indeterminate age between 40 and 70, including two grandmothers. I ran ahead to make sure they’d hold the flight with one of the grandmothers right behind me. When we got to D.C., the city was teeming with marchers. You didn’t need to see a pink hat with ears to know who we were.

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 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.

California Teacher union fair share Representation elections

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 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.