Classified Articles

Overview

Classified Articles

News for and about classified employees and paraprofessionals working in public schools and community colleges, and support staff in private schools. 

Article Labor Solidarity

State Supreme Court victory brings back pay with interest to Antelope Valley College staff
Local wins fives years of back pay with interest for overtime imposed by anti-union administration

It took more than five years and reached all the way to the California Supreme Court, but the Antelope Valley College Federation of Classified Employees has knocked a toxic administration on its heels.

“Justice moves slowly, but the fight to protect collective bargaining rights is always worth it,” said AFT Local 4683 President Pamela Ford.

Classified employees look ahead to 2020 political challenges
Top of the list: Qualify Schools and Communities First initiative

Members from classified locals across the state recently met in Glendale to swap organizing tips, celebrate victories, and strengthen political skills.

Participants engaged enthusiastically from Friday, October 18, when Council of Classified Employees President Carl Williams welcomed leaders to his first President’s Collaboration, to that Sunday morning, when Superintendent of Instruction Tony Thurmond rallied the troops for coming electoral fights.

Article Charter schools Maternity Leave Free College

Legislative session ends on strong note for classified
Six-month probation won for K-12 staff in non-merit districts, landmark charter reform

In October, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bumper crop of new laws that will benefit classified staff across the state.

“We did well this year,” said CCE President Carl Williams, “but it also shows how much more we can accomplish if we lobby harder and smarter.”

Article CalPERS

CalPERS bails out of private prisons
Drops $12 million investment in GEO Group and CoreCivic

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, CalPERS, recently rattled the cages of the for-profit prison industry by divesting nearly $10 million of stock in the country’s two biggest private jailers.

The August sell-off came on the heels of the California State Teachers Retirement System, CalSTRS, dropping its $12 million investment in GEO Group and CoreCivic (formerly known as the Corrections Corporation of America).

New state program matches funds classified employees set aside
What you need to know about Classified School Employee Summer Assistance

Bernard Benson is enrolled in the new Classified School Employee Summer Assistance Program. His deductions began in August and will continue through June. The state will match his savings up to a dollar for dollar in July.

“It would be ludicrous for me not to participate,” explained Benson. “Where else can I set aside $200 a month for 11 months and make a 100 percent return on my investment?”

Omnibus legislation creates Summer Assistance fund for classified staff

Classified employees should take special note of Assembly Bill 1808, an omnibus education trailer bill. Along with dozens of other provisions, AB 1808 increased the state budget for staff training and other classified programs by $100 million.

Half the increase was earmarked for professional training, including $45 million for K-12 districts and $5 million for community college districts. The other $50 million will go into a Summer Assistance Fund for staff who earn less than $49,920 per year.

Article Privatization

Spotlight on transportation services
Jobs returned when contracting out fails, drivers get more training

A recent video that went viral on social media showed a bus driver being attacked by angry parents in St. Louis. Bernard Benson knows how parents can lose their tempers. He has been driving school buses in the San Joaquin Valley for six years.

“A detour makes a driver late and parents get mad because of the delay. It happens all the time. It goes with the territory,” he said, adding, “Most of the time we’re looked at like the good guys because we get kids to and from school.”

Article CFT Convention CFT Elections

Classified members share spotlight with teachers at Centennial Convention

Delegates had a lot to celebrate as they convened for the CFT’s 100th Anniversary celebration in March.

The state’s largest local union, United Teachers Los Angeles, had held a wildly successful strike less than two months earlier. And the union’s block of classified employee members were set to begin the CFT’s second century with their highest union profile yet.

Article Pesticide Use Environment

Lawsuit draws attention to hazardous chemicals on campus

When Susan Trask was 40, she went back to school and earned a degree in ornamental horticulture at Long Beach City College. Trask has since worked as a groundskeeper at the college district, and this year she was elected president of AFT Local 6108, the Long Beach Council of Classified Employees.

Article Labor Solidarity

We need you… to become a Unionist

Editor’s note: What follows is a condensed version of an inspired presentation from the CFT’s annual Classified Conference.

My name is Carl Williams and I am southern vice president of the CFT Council of Classified Employees, a CFT vice president, proud president of the Lawndale Federation of Classified Employees, a father, a husband… and a Unionist. Now don’t get me wrong, I have not always been a Unionist… the transition from union member is not instantaneous. 

Article Janus v. AFSCME Janus

Supreme Court’s Janus decision barely ripples through classified locals

No one was surprised when the Janus decision from the U.S. Supreme Court came down over the summer. In the months since then, however, locals across California have defied predictions of a mass exodus of dues-paying members. In fact, after two years of recruiting new employees and convincing agency fee payers to join, union ranks are growing.

AFT Local 1931: Framed on Instagram! 

According to Danielle Short, classified vice president for San Diego’s AFT Guild, the local was looking for ways to make campus tabling more dynamic and encourage more conversation with members. 

A brainstorming session led to the idea of a giant photo frame. Campus printing services helped create the frame and printed it. “We used it for our tabling,” Short said. “And then we just ran with it for other events and outreach. It definitely breaks the ice — and it’s a lot of fun.” 

Article Rank & Files

Lavalais named San Francisco Paraeducator of the Year

The mayor of San Francisco recently recognized 10 public school educators for their dedication and professionalism. Honorees were selected based on their ability to promote innovative learning, accountability, and equity and access in the classroom and school site.

The 2018 awards included the mayor’s first-ever Paraeducator of the Year. Mary Lavalais attended City College and earned a bachelor’s degree in social work and a graduate degree in marriage, family, and child counseling at San Francisco State University.

Article Gun Control

Common sense gun control: A school security guard lives with the loss of his son

A.J. Frazier is a familiar face around San Francisco’s Lowell High School. Frazier has helped guard the campus for the last 15 years, after patrolling Mission High for 15 years.

Few people knew about the pain the outgoing ex-Marine carried inside — until he shared it at a recent rally in Santa Ana’s Centennial Park responding to the deadly shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.