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Union Media

  • CFT United is the CFT’s all-union magazine that contains information relevant to members including a section specific to the issues of classified employees.
  • Classified Insider contains valuable news and information about the workplace issues of California classified employees and paraprofessionals and is emailed to members.
  • AFT PSRP Reporter covers issues of relevance to classified employees and support staff members of the AFT Paraprofessional and School-Related Personnel (PSRP) division and is part of AFT Voices.
  • Subscribe to the AFT PSRP email that contains news and information for classified employee and paraeducator members of the AFT.

Organizing Materials

  • Get to Know Your CCE! 
    Learn more about the officers of the Council of Classified Employees on this flyer.
  • How Can You Participate? 
    Learn how you can get involved in the Council of Classified Employees and the larger CFT on this flyer.
  • Poster:
    Be a UNIONIST – United in Fighting for Fairness, Prosperity, Justice, Equality. Post this colorful piece in your workplace!

Know Your Rights

  • CalOSHA Health-and-Safety Rights for Workers: 
    This concise booklet produced by the Department of Industrial Relations/Cal-OSHA outlines the injury and illness prevention program required by your employer under the California Labor Code, your right to a workplace inspection, your right to refuse hazardous work, and your right to obtain documents and records.
  • Know Your Rights: A guide to workplace laws for classified employees and paraprofessionals in California 
    A comprehensive 40-page analysis of the California Education Code as it relates to classified employees and paraprofessionals covers topics such as hours of employment, vacation and leaves, refusal to perform unsafe work and collective bargaining rights, plus the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. It also contains your Weingarten Rights.
  • Family and medical leave
    Our articles defines the leaves available in federal laws, state codes, and individual collective bargaining agreements. Your union local may also bargain improvements.

Our Classified Voice is Strong


CalPERS is the retirement system for numerous groups of public employees in California, including many members of the classified service. The CCE monitors CalPERS actions and sends a representative to its board meetings. 

  • Mike O’Neill, a bus driver and member of the Jefferson AFT Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 1481, is the CCE liaison for CalPERS.

In the Community Colleges

The Consultation Council of the California Community Colleges comprises 18 representatives who have an opportunity to advise the chancellor and board of governors on state policy decisions. Thanks to successful CFT-sponsored legislation, classified staff now have two seats on the council.

  • Pamela Ford, president of the Antelope Valley Federation of Classified Employees, AFT Local 4683, is the CFT representative on the Consultation Council.

AB 800 Workplace Readiness Week: Five Day Learning Cycle
Created by the Young Workers Education Project

Workplace Readiness Week was created by the state of California to support young people currently working and those who will soon be working. AB 800 requires all California high schools to provide by August 2024 a “Know Your Rights” document and to provide students with a week of information related to their rights as workers, the history of labor’s efforts to create and codify those rights, and resources available to protect and enforce their rights. Below is a five-day unit with extension lessons to expand the cycle for up to ten days of learning in accordance with AB 800. The five-day curriculum is intended for use during Workplace Readiness Week, scheduled for April 29 – May 3 in the 2023-2024 School Year. 

These lesson guides were created to support teachers in the earliest implementation of AB 800. Please feel free to read or skim to assess your comfort level with the content and then make choices that feel best for your teaching and your classroom. We have provided an enormous amount of scaffolding that you can use or set aside. Please also note that there are extensions to the lessons that will support deeper student learning through simulations and role plays. 

This curriculum was created by Nicolle Fefferman at the Young Workers Education Project with support from the UCLA Labor Center. Fred Glass and Linda Tubach authored and provided curricular components while also championing this work.

California State Standards addressed in this learning cycle

Grade 11 – U.S. History

11.2.6 – How did the Progressive Movement impact U.S. industrialization? What were the political programs and activities of the Progressives?

11.6.4 – What were the effects of New Deal economic policies? How did the federal government’s expanded role impact society and the economy?

11.6.5 – How has organized labor continued to address workers’ issues from the creation of the AFL-CIO to today?

Grade 12 – Principles of American Democracy

12.2.2 – What are our economic rights as individuals living in this country? How are these rights secured?

12.3.1 – How does our government ensure opportunities for people to engage with each other for political, social, cultural, religious, and economic purposes?

12.3.2 – How does a civil society make it possible for people to influence their government beyond voting and elections?

Grade 12 – Principles of Economics

12.3 – What has been the federal government’s impact on the American economy?

12.4.1 – How have American labor unions gained benefits for their members? What has been the impact of unionization? What is the minimum wage? What is unemployment insurance?

Day to Day Curricula

Day One Lesson Plan – Why do workers have rights?

Day 1 Presentation in Canva | PDF of slide deck with presenters notes

Lesson Overview: This first day begins the conversation about why students are engaging in Workplace Readiness Week. It introduces the idea of workplace rights, the purpose of these rights, and the systems in place to enforce these rights. 

Lesson Materials: Day One Canva Deck, computer, projector, chart paper or whiteboard space, writing paper, and post its/paper for exit slips

Lesson Time: 45 – 50 minutes

Classroom Set-Up: Before starting the lesson, students should be paired with someone else. They will be working together throughout Day One. 

Slides 1 and 2 - Welcome and introduction to Workplace Readiness Week (1 minute)

Slides 3 and 4 - Student pairs identify the rights of people living in the United States and our rights as humans. Please ask students to turn their paper landscape/horizontal to make space for a t-chart that will eventually have three columns. Pairs work together and then share ideas in a whole class conversation. (5-7 minutes)

Slide 5 - In a whole class conversation, discuss this question. The goal here is to make certain that students are thinking about how our rights are protected and enforced. There are structures in place to do so- city and state governments, law enforcement, the various court systems- and people have also taken it upon themselves to develop, protect, and enforce their own rights throughout history. (3-5 minutes)

Slide 6 - Pose the question on the slide and have students draw a third column on their t-chart. This column is entitled “workers’ rights”. Remind students to think about their own experiences and the experiences of working adults in their lives. Students work with their partners again to fill out the column. When the partner conversation is done, hold a whole class conversation asking students to share their thinking. Make certain that you add in rights like the minimum wage, breaks, and safety, if students have not mentioned them. Ask students what are the connections and similarities between rights of people in the U.S., our human rights, and our rights as workers. (5 minutes)

Slides 7 and 8 - These two slides help students ground the idea of workers’ rights in more modern history using visuals. U.S. History and Government/Economics students can be asked what they remember about the Industrial Revolution, its impact on the world, and its effects on the lives of workers. The image on Slide 7 shows a group of West Virginia mine workers in the early 1900s. Note that there are Black and white adults working together with a child on their crew. The second slide asks students to work with their partners to analyze two photographs: one showing a child cleaning a factory floor and the other is a child working in a Bangladeshi fast fashion garment factory. 

Student pairs should start with the question:  what is going on in these images? After a minute for them to discuss, bring the class together for a conversation around that initial question. If needed, students can be prompted to delve further with these questions: What are the similarities and differences between these photographs? What is evidence of the setting—physical location and era in time? (7-8 minutes)

Slides 9 and 10 - Click on the link on Slide 9 to take you to an NBC news story on child labor in a slaughterhouse. Migrant children as young as 12 or 13 were hired to clean the slaughterhouse floor during the night shift. The Department of Labor stepped in to address the situation. 

The questions on Slide 10 should be used to debrief the three minute clip. Give student pairs one minute to talk on their own before bringing everyone together for a whole class conversation. (8 minutes)

Slides 11 and 12 - Allow student partners one minute to examine and discuss the chart and questions on Slide 11. Then, bring the class back together for a conversation based on those same questions. Make sure to point out the note at the bottom created by the Washington Post—why did the newspaper include this note? What are they acknowledging about child labor in the U.S.? The second question on Slide 11 is intended to provoke student thinking. Allow for student discussion on it without settling on a “right” answer. 

Slide 12should be projected and students asked how many of them already have a job outside of school. Do not ask how many of them have permits in front of the entire class. Take note of whose hands are raised and check in with them privately. Let students know that the next lesson will provide information on their rights at work. (5 minutes)

Slides 13 and 14 - Write on a whiteboard or giant sticky poster the question on Slide 13—Why should workers know their rights? Give the class two minutes to discuss while you chart their responses. Make sure that you wrap up the conversation stating that the first step in protecting and enforcing our rights is knowing what are our rights. 

Slide 14 is an opportunity for a quick final check in for student partners. They get one minute to talk about the lesson. To assess student thinking, call on a few students to share or have students write exit slips on post its for collection as they leave class for the day. (3 minutes)

Day Two Lesson Plan – What are our rights as workers?

Day 2 Presentation in Canva | PDF of slide deck with presenters notes

Lesson Overview: The second day of learning is centered on students learning about their rights in the workplace using the “Know Your Rights” document. Students work through the document in individual and group activities to better understand the content and the document’s usefulness as an ongoing resource.

Please make certain to view the Notes in the Canva Slide Deck. Click on the icon in the bottom left corner next to the Duration and Timer icons. 

Lesson Materials: Day Two Canva Deck, “Know Your Rights” document in color, and “Know Your Rights” document in black and white. The document can be added to your school’s learning management system as a PDF or they can be printed out. Note: the document is being beta-tested and the QR codes don’t work, but they are not needed for these lessons in Workplace Readiness Week. 

Lesson Time: 45 – 50 minutes

Classroom Set-Up: Before starting the lesson, students should be arranged in groups of four for the day’s activities. In addition, small pieces of paper or post-its can be attached to the four corners of the room to help direct students to their page expert groups. The papers should be numbered 1, 2, 3, or 4, with enough sitting or standing room for students to meet up at the appointed time in these corners or spaces. 

Slides 1-2 - Welcome students back to Day Two of Workplace Readiness Week. Let them know that today they will be doing individual and group activities. (1 minute)

Slides 3-4 - Either hand out hard copies of the “Know Your Rights” document or post the document on your school’s learning management system. As students are receiving the document either as a hard copy our pulling it up as a file on their devices, go around the room and count off students as numbers 1-4.These will be their home groups. Let students know that they should write down the number they were assigned. Each group will have one of each number and they correlate to the pages of the “Know Your Rights” document. (5 minutes)

Slides 5-6 - Ask students to take out a pen, or grab a notebook and pen, for this five minute reading. Students can do a deep reading of their page and underline or take notes as they go along. They are going to become the experts of their page- learning about the topic and then sharing their learning with their home groups. (5 minutes)

Slides 7-8 - On Slide 7, students will start their micro-research related to their page topic. Ask students what questions they have about their directions and circulate around the room to check in with them as they work. Students can write their findings directly on their document page or in a notebook. 

After doing their individual reading, thinking, and writing, students now have the chance to meet up with other folks in the room who became expert on the same page. Ask students to meet up with the other students in the room who looked at the same page- 1,2, 3, or 4- for a conversation and check in before they share their learning with home groups. Students can make certain they understood the information and can add to their notes. Ask them to review what they considered to be the most important information and what their research helps them understand about their page. (5 minutes)

Slides 9-10 - Slide 9 directs students to return to their “home” groups where they should have one person who became expert in each page. All students should listen with a pen in hand to underline and add notes as the page experts present the information. Groups should go in numerical order to follow the logic of the document. (5 minutes)

Once students have shared, listened, and taken notes, do a quick understanding check. Give students four minutes to talk as a group to answer the four questions on Slide 10. They can either write them down on a paper for quick collection or you can hold a whole class conversation. Call on various groups to share their responses to these questions after they have talked and/or written down responses.. Some student answers might be:

  1. It is easier for employers to not give you what you are owed in wages and benefits. Workers might get cheated out of pay and it makes it hard to prove.
  2. Teenagers are not allowed to work in construction and can’t use power tools. They can’t make or serve drinks.They can’t work at jobs that deal with radiation.
  3. People under the age of 18 must be hired as an employee. Independent contractors don’t have the same rights.
  4. You cannot be fired for refusing to work before your shift starts or  after your shift ends.

Slide 11 is there to remind everyone to put this document someplace safe because it will be needed again on Days Four and Five. (5- 7 minutes)

Slide 12 - This slide is an easy way to gauge student comfort with today’s learning on a scale of 1-5. Ask them to show fingers to help you understand their confidence in understanding this day’s information. 1 finger indicates needing more time to think about all of it while 5 is someone who feels super confident in their understanding. There will be a range of responses. Reassure students that by the end of the week, they will all feel more confident in their understanding of their rights as workers. 


Additional lessons on workplace safety can be found here by the UC Berkeley Labor Occupational Health Program Young Worker Project

Day Three Lesson Plan – How were workers’ rights established?

Day 3 Presentation in Canva | PDF of slide deck with presenters notes

Lesson Overview: This lesson gives students vocabulary and an historical overview of the struggle for these rights. 

Lesson Materials: Day Three Canva Deck, Day Three Student Reading either as a link that can be provided on your school’s learning management system for student access or a handout that can be shared in class, computer, projector, and speakers.

Lesson Time: 45 – 50 minutes

Classroom Set-Up: Before starting the lesson, students should be placed in groups of four. They will be working together throughout Day Three. 

Slides 1-2 - Welcome students back to Day Three with Slide 1. Slide 2 lists many of the rights students learned about in yesterday’s lesson. Please make clear, once again, that undocumented and documented students both have most of these rights. Undocumented workers do not have access to unemployment. (2 minutes)

Slides 3-4 - Students will analyze the image on Slide 3. Ask students to take out their t-charts from Day One. They should do 2 minutes of writing about this image. Once they are done with their 2 minutes, pose the question on the slide to the class for a whole class conversation. Start with volunteers and then call on other students who only have to read their written responses. 

As the conversation winds down, ask students—What do you all think of this idea? How does the idea expressed in this image connect to the rights we discussed on our first day? They can flip to their t-charts as a reminder of their previous thinking and learning. (5 minutes)

Let them know that the concept came from Robert Owen—a Welsh man who was part of the British textile industry in the 1800s and eventually became a social activist. This idea took hold in the U.S. within the growing working class created by industrialization in the 19th century and continues to be promoted today.

Slide 4 has a link to the Golden Lands, Working Hands documentary. Ask students to watch the clip while thinking about what it shows us about the struggle for these rights. Play the Part 1 clip from the start until 5:30. Golden Lands, Working Hands – Part 1. (6 minutes)

Slides 5-6 - Once the clip is done, give students 1 minute to talk about the Slide 5 question with a person next to them. After students have talked a little with their partners, bring the class together for a 4-minute conversation based on these questions. 

If students need additional support in thinking and talking about this video, you can ask- What is one word you would use to describe the struggle for workers’ rights? Why that word? (5 minutes)

If they are not already in groups of four, please put students in groups of four for the rest of this lesson. They will be doing some group reading and discussion. 

Once everyone is in these groups, ask each student to be responsible for learning about one of the terms on Slide 6. They will be building a word bank together for the upcoming reading. Each group member should pick a word to be responsible for and then look up its definition. Students should paraphrase the definition and then write an original sentence using the word appropriately. This will function as a word bank for the upcoming reading. Students can continue writing on the back of their t-chart from Day One. (6 minutes)

Slides 7-8 - Slide 7 has instructions for the group that can be left up while they work as reference. Students can use their phones or in classroom dictionaries to look up these terms. Give students 4 minutes to look up their term, put the definition in their own words, use it in a sentence and then share it with their table. Circulate around the room to assess student understanding. Students should read their definitions and sentences to everyone at their table. They should write down their peer’s definitions. (8 minutes)

Definitions should be something like:

Union - workers who organize to fight together for fair wages and working conditions

Compensation - the wages and benefits workers earn at their job

Strike - when a group of people stop working in protest against unfair wages and working conditions or some sort of workplace injustice

Collective - when people act together as a group

The Slide 8 notes has this link to a reading that can be placed as a file on your school’s learning management system or can be printed as a two page handout. Students will be using the reading protocol called “The Last Word”. Review the protocol with students on Slide 8. This reading activity helps students dig into the text and then engage in dialogue with their peer’s about the text. 

As students do the reading, circulate around the room to check they are underlining three sentences. Once they start engaging in the dialogue part of this protocol, sit with a student group or two to participate as well. Comment on student choices and share one of your own underlined sentences.

You may need to put up some sentence stems on a whiteboard or chart paper to help students respond to their peers’ choices in their Last Word dialogue:

“I find that sentence interesting too because….”

“This sentence reminds me of….”

“This sentence makes me wonder….”

(20 minutes)

Slide 9-10 - Both slides have historical images connected to the reading students just completed. For Slide 9, let students know that this was one of the collective actions that moved the U.S. Congress and President Roosevelt to create new laws like the National Labor Relations Act to support workers’ rights. Give them time to read the caption and view the image.

For Slide 10, tell students that the fight continued so that laws protected all workers- including the people who grow and harvest our food here in California. This struggle continues to this day. Workers were able to move the government through their collective actions. (3 minutes)

Slide 11 - If there is time for a quick debrief, give students 30 seconds to cook up a sentence to share with the class. Whip around the room asking each group to share their thinking.


Link for full CFT reading on “A Very Brief Outline of American Labor History for Beginners

1934 West Coast Longshore General Strike role play – The longer version can be found starting on page 33 of the Workplace Issues and Collective Bargaining in the Classroom curriculum

1934 West Coast Longshore General Strike role play – This abbreviated version can be used for a shorter classroom experience. Please use the Teacher’s Instructions, Student Handout 13-B, and character texts on Student Handouts 13-C, 13-D, 13-E, 13-F, and 13-G, from the longer version starting on page 33.

Day Four Lesson Plan – What happens when workers’ rights are violated?

Day 4 Presentation in Canva | PDF of slide deck with presenters notes

Lesson Overview: This day asks students to interact with their “Know Your Rights” document as a resource for a game. It provides students the opportunity to deepen their understanding of particular rights they have as workers.

Lesson Materials: Day Four Canva Slide Deck, “Know Your Rights” document, link to the Protected Concerted Activity clip for Slide 16

Lesson Time: 45 – 50 minutes

Classroom Set-Up: Before starting the lesson, students should be assigned a partner. They will be working together as a team for a game and for conversation. 

Slide 1-3 - Welcome students to Day Three of Workplace Readiness Week. With Slide 2, ask students to take out their t-charts again and then pose this question. Let them talk with a partner next to them for 1 minute before showing them the next slide. 

When moving to Slide 3, ask students—what is going on in these images? Allow students to speak with their partners for 1 minute and then bring the class together for a 4 minute conversation. 

Questions to prompt further student thinking and conversation:

  • Which rights are being addressed in these images? 
  • Which are human rights? 
  • The rights we have as people in the U.S.? 
  • What strategies are people using to protect and enforce their rights?

(6 minutes)

Make sure to point out to students that the Disability Rights activists in the lower left hand corner are sitting in front of the nation’s Capitol in 1980 to support the American with Disabilities Act. Above that image is a black and white photograph of the 1963 March on Washington. The color photograph in the upper right hand corner is a protest run in 2016 on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation as people sought to preserve their clean water. The newspaper headline in the lower right corner is about the 19th Amendment’s ratification.

Slides 4-5 - Remind students that at the start of today’s class, you all discussed the different strategies people use to protect and enforce their rights as people in the U.S. Ask students the question on this slide. Give them some time to discuss with their partners and then hold a 2-3 minute class discussion to generate some ideas…. (4 minutes) 

Using Slide 5, explain to students that these are the immediate steps to take when students experience their rights being violated at work. Let them know that you are a trusted adult and can be supportive. Remind them to keep the AB 800 document handy, either in their notebook or as a picture on their phone.

Slides 6-7 - Give students a little time to find their documents and if needed, replace them with additional copies.

For Slide 7, give students two minutes to familiarize themselves with the document again and get settled with a partner. Hand out two index cards or ask students to tear a piece of paper in half. They should write LEGAL on one card/piece of paper and ILLEGAL on the other. Another option is to have students use American Sign Language using the ASL sign for the letters “L” and “I”. (2 minutes)

Slide 8-9 - Legal or Not? 

Explain to students that you are going to read some scenarios and their goal is to figure out if the employer is breaking a law. When they have figured it out, they should put their LEGAL or ILLEGAL cards in the air/make the ASL signs for “L” or “I”.

Depending on your students, you could give them 20 seconds to one minute to work through each scenario with their partners to make a choice. The entire game activity should take about 5 minutes. 

Slide 9 is the first scenario and you can use this as a practice round. Students can have extra time to work through this one. 

Slide 9’s answer is: This is ILLEGAL! This is wage theft. Your employer cannot charge you for required uniforms, broken equipment, or cash register shortages because of mistakes or accidents. 

Slide 10 - This is LEGAL. Unless the haircut is part of a religious tradition, an employer can tell you how to wear your hair at work. 

Slide 11 - This is LEGAL! Your employer must pay you at least the minimum wage set by your city and the state of California. You do have the legal right to discuss your wages and working conditions with fellow employees. If you are a union member, your union contract will have wage increases negotiated and approved by employees. 

Slide 12 - This is ILLEGAL! If you are 14 or 15, you can only work 3 hours a day on a school night. If you are 16 or 17, you can only work 4 hours a day on a school night. 

Slide 13 - This is LEGAL! But you could try talking with your friends and other workers about having a conversation with your employer about the issue. 

Slide 14 - This is ILLEGAL! People under the age of 18 may not use equipment like a meat slicer. If you are over the age of 18, you must have the right amount of training to handle potentially dangerous equipment. Five minutes is not enough time to appropriately learn to safely handle this machine.  

Slide 15 - You could have students do this as a lighting round for a tie breaker. Whichever group has the correct answer first, wins all the points and maybe the entire game. The correct answer is Cal/OSHA. 

Whichever group had the most correct answers during the game should get high fives in class and maybe their names written on the class whiteboard as “The Champions”. We did promise them eternal fame. 

Slide 16 - Before students view this 45 second clip, ask them: What are McDonald’s employees doing in this video? Why are they engaged in this action?

For more information, see this source.

Slide 17-18 - Let students know that Protected Concerted Activity is a protected right for all workers and that this type of protest is just one example of actions workers can take together at their jobs.

Explain that workers have the right to come together in order to address problems at their job. Protected Concerted Activity can be all sorts of things including what is listed on Slide 18. Review what is listed on Slide 18 and ask students which of these activities feels like an especially impactful way of dealing with a workplace concern. 

Slide 19-20 – Read the slides to students. For Slide 20, ask students, “What is going on in these images?” The images used come from these sources: pic 1 | pic 2.

Slide 21-22 – On Slide 21, give students a few minutes to check out the graph. Use the question on the slide to lead a whole class conversation. 

Read Slide 22 to students first. Explain that as a union, workers negotiate with their bosses over wages and working conditions. Ask students: What do Starbucks workers want in their contract? 

Slide 23-24 - Explain to students that most contract bargaining is completed without workers needing to go on strike. During the last five years, teachers have gone on strike because negotiations broke down or because their employers engaged in Unfair Labor Practices. 

Using Slide 24, give students one minute to put away their paper, grab a Post It or card, and write a little something with their partner. These can be collected on the way out of class as an Exit Ticket to assess student learning. 


Day Five Lesson Plan – How do we protect and enforce these rights?

Day 5 Presentation in Canva | PDF of slide deck with presenters notes

Lesson Overview: This final day asks students to take action in sharing their learning with the wider community. Student pairs will create a meme with a caption based on this week’s reading, thinking, and conversations. These memes should be collected for a digital gallery posted on the class page for your school’s learning management system. Once the memes have been reviewed for accuracy and clarity, please post them on your school’s social media outreach to share this information with students and community members who may not know their workplace rights.

Lesson Materials: Day Five Canva Slide Deck

Lesson Time: 45 – 50 minutes

Classroom Set-Up: Before starting the lesson, students should be assigned a partner. Students will be working together to collaborate on designing a shareable meme.

Slides 1-2 - Welcome students to the last day of Workplace Readiness Week! Ask them to take out their “Know Your Rights” document and sit with a partner. 

Slides 3-4 - On Slide 3, ask the question to the class and give them 30 seconds to 1 minute to examine the map. Hold a 2 minute whole class conversation based on their thinking.

This information can be found in this report from UCLA’s Labor Center.

For Slide 4, ask students to review this slide and have a conversation with a partner about the information on this slide. What do these statistics help us understand about young workers in our state?

Give students 3 minutes to read and discuss with their partner before holding a 3 minute whole class conversation.

Slides 5-6 - Remind students that they have learned about their workplace rights, the history of how these rights were developed, the resources available to protect and enforce these rights, and actions that they can take with their co-workers to make certain that their workplace is respecting these rights. 

However, there are plenty of young people who have not experienced Workplace Readiness Week and are going to work everyday.

On Slide 6, remind students that on the first day of this week, we showed students a news story about child labor being used by U.S. companies. We know the law is being violated. We know that more and more violations are being caught by the government. At the same time, more and more young people are joining the workforce. 

Slides 7-8 - Review Slide 7 with students. Read through Slide 8 with students. Let them know that the work produced at the end of this lesson can serve as an assessment of learning. They can be evaluated or graded on: 

  • -use of references and learning from this week
  • clarity of message
  • -post design

Slides 9-10 - Let students know that we are going to provide some examples….  

Ask students to pick the best meme on Slide 10. Discuss with students what makes for a memorable or sharp or funny meme. 

Slides 11-13 - Review these slides with students. Make sure to point out the captions at the bottom that provide the viewer with additional information and hashtags. 

Slides 14-15 - As students work, walk around the room and check in with groups. Encourage them to take on various rights from those listed on the KYR document. There should be some diversity in their topics with limited repetition. These posts are intended to be shared with the larger school wide community. 

Students can submit to your school’s Learning Management System for sharing with the class. Once the posts have been shared and reviewed, they should be shared with your school’s Student Government class to post on their Instagram page. Another option is posting these on the school’s landing page so that all community members can view this work.

For now, you can project their submissions for the whole class to view and enjoy.

Slides 16-17 - As students wrap up their work, show Slide 18 to demonstrate to students that working people have organized unions, fought to pass supportive laws, and taken action for these rights we have discussed this week.  

Using the final slide of the deck, thank students for a great week of learning! 


Homestead Strike role play can be found on page 23.

You did it!!! 

You and your students have just completed the first year of Workplace Readiness Week. When we know our rights, we are able to create safer and more fair workplaces for everyone. Congratulations on supporting the rights of young people at their jobs. 

Please reach out to youngworkersedproject@gmail.com with any questions or comments. 


Fourth Annual Special Ed Summit Leaves Attendees with Hope and Strategy


When Steve McDougall became the president of the Early Childhood/TK-12 Council, he sent out a survey to the local leaders asking them what trouble areas they saw that needed addressing. 

“Special education always percolates to the top because it’s an underfunded mandate since 1975,” he said.


Embracing the Educational Paradigm Shift: Navigating AI and Literacy in the Classroom

In an age seemingly plucked from the realms of science fiction, where artificial intelligence (AI) systems reminiscent of Hal from “2001: A Space Odyssey” and Data from “Star Trek” once existed solely in the realm of imagination, we find ourselves grappling with pressing educational concerns. Chief among these are the intersection of AI and literacy, two pillars reshaping the landscape of learning.

Article Emily Wilson

The CFT March Summit Play by Play

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Legislative Update: Newsom’s Proposed State Budget ‘24-25
Initial Overview

January 11, 2024

Governor Newsom presented his initial 2024-25 budget proposal yesterday, with less dire projections than had been anticipated. The $291 billion budget proposal is about 6% smaller than the total 2023-24 budget, and about 8% smaller than the General Fund spending approved in the 2023-24 budget act.

The budget deficit as calculated by the Department of Finance (DOF) is estimated at $37.9 billion for the coming fiscal year; this is about $30 billion lower than the Legislative Analyst projected last month.

Article Obituaries In Memoriam

Honoring Mary Bergan
Long time CFT President Mary Bergan passed away November 30th, 2023

Mary Bergan
September 13, 1941 – November 30, 2023

Click here to watch the memorial slideshow of Mary Bergan’s family life and career

Mary Astrid Bergan, former president of the California Federation of Teachers died November 30, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, after a long illness. Her career of service stemmed from a Kennedy-era idealism that took her first to the Peace Corps and on to classroom teaching and ultimately an enduring leadership role in education unionism. 


UESF’s big win for paras shows strength and challenges for Classified workers
UESF leaders share the vision and wins of historic new contract

People call San Francisco a city of love and a city of fog, according to Cassondra Curiel, the President of United Educators of San Francisco. But what it really is, she said, is a union town. 

Curiel told attendees at the Council of Classified Employees Conference that the union of 6,500 classified and certificated members just won one of the biggest tentative agreements in the history of the organization.

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Classified Insider Special Edition: CCE Conference 2023
The theme, "Flexing our Power, Protecting our Progress," was felt throughout the weekend

The annual Classified Council of Employees Conference took place at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco October 27-October 29. The theme of the conference was Flexing Our Power – Protecting Our Progress. Some of the local wins over the past year that were discussed by members included a six-figure settlement for employee overtime, paraeducators getting a living wage, and bilingual employees’ checks reflecting their expertise. 


Bittersweet Legislative Year for CFT Part-time Faculty

Bittersweet would best describe the end results of the 2022-2023 legislative season for community college part-time faculty.

One of the clear positives was the realization of a record 8.22% cost-of-living allowance for California Community Colleges, up .09% from Governor Newsom’s initial proposal of an 8.13% COLA in January. The COLA followed off a fairly robust COLA of 6.56% in 2021-2022. 


Student Application Portal
Applications now being accepted!

Welcome student applicants! Here you will find information about scholarship eligibility and the link to our online application portal. Please read each section carefully and plan ahead to allow enough time to complete your application. The application period for each CFT Raoul Teilhet Scholarship is open for six months.


When you click on the application link below, you will be asked you to create a log-in for our application portal. Please keep track of your username and password. Once you have a log-in, you may work on your application at any time until you complete it and submit it.

We recommend that you allow four weeks to complete your application. It requires you to complete several sections and write an essay. In addition, the application requires other individuals to respond to your requests and you cannot control the timeliness of their responses. Please start your application early and plan your time accordingly to allow for successful completion. 


High school students

Application opens: June 15, 2024
Deadline to apply: December 15, 2024


  • Applicants must be high school seniors or undergraduate continuing college students.
  • The applicant’s parent or guardian must be a member in good standing of an AFT local union in California.
  • The applicant must be listed as a dependent on their parent’s or guardian’s tax return.
  • Award selection is based on academic achievement, special talents and skills, participation in extracurricular activities, community service, financial need, and a 500-word essay on a social issue of the applicant’s choice.
  • Scholarships are awarded for any one year of higher education: High school seniors who received Raoul Teilhet Scholarships are not eligible for another scholarship as continuing college students. Continuing college students who received a Raoul Teilhet Scholarships are not eligible to apply again.
  • The CFT accepts only online applications.


Requirements for each scholarship are detailed in our application portal. However, knowing in advance what documentation and other information you will need may speed your application. Here’s what to have ready when you apply for a CFT scholarship.

  • Transcript: You will need your most recent transcript. High school seniors are asked to provide an official transcript. 
  • Parent/Guardian Federal Tax Return: The first two pages of your parent’s or guardian’s signed federal tax return are required.
  • Member Verification by Parent/Guardian: You will need your parent’s email address.
  • Member Verification by AFT Local Union President: You will need the name and email address of your parent’s AFT local union president.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Three recommendations are required are required for high school senior applicants, and two recommendations are required for continuing college student applicants. You will need the email addresses of your recommenders.
  • Essay: A titled essay on a social issue of the applicant’s choice, not to exceed 500 words.

We recommend that you allow four weeks to complete your application. The application requires you to complete several sections and write an essay, In addition, it requires other individuals to respond to your requests and you cannot control the timeliness of their responses. Please start your application as early as possible and plan your time accordingly to allow for successful completion. 


A unique salary formula ensures higher wages in Salinas Valley

Kati Bassler, President of the Salinas Valley Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 1020, says the salary formula the local has had since 2011 ensures members they will get a fair share of district funds.

“Their increase in salary is based on financial standing of district,” she said on a video call. “It creates a culture where everyone understands that if the district gets more money, they’re going to get a raise.”


CalSTRS and CalPERS Data Breach: Impacts and Actions
Information and action items to protect yourself

Both Dennis Cox, the Southern Vice President for the CFT Council of Retired Members, and Doug Orr, Chair of the CFT Retirement Policy Committee, want impacted members to do whatever they can to protect themselves from a recent data breach that affected both CalSTRS and CalPERS.

In June, officials from both pension funds announced that cyber attackers stole information, including names, Social Security numbers and birth dates.


New Look for Orange County Classified Professionals
“Employees” is now “Professionals” – in line with the CFT approach

Get out your smart phones and change your listing for AFT Local 4794. Members of the Coast Federation of Classified Employees voted unanimously at their spring meeting for a new name and look. “Employees” is now “Professionals” – in line with the CFT approach – and a Local 4794 task force created a new logo.


Lawndale Federation brings home medical coverage for part-timers
The District scheduled part-timers so they were always a few minutes short of the ACA requirement to provide health benefits.

Watch this powerful video of members talking about their hard fought win for medical benefits.

For 30 years, the Lawndale Elementary School District denied their part-time classified employees health benefits. The District scheduled part-timers so they were always a few minutes short of the ACA requirement to provide health benefits.


Back to School Tour 2023

As the new school year gets underway, CFT’s elected leaders will once again take part in a Back to School tour with visits happening across the state. The tour window will open in August and continue throughout September, with CFT leaders taking the opportunity to meet with local leaders and rank-and-file members to kick off the year.

The visits will be attended by President Jeff Freitas, Secretary Treasurer Lacy Barnes and Executive Vice President Juan Ramirez. 


Data leak impacting hundreds of thousands of STRS and CalPERS retirees and beneficiaries

In June both the CalSTRS and CalPERS systems announced that data from a third-party vendor had leaked, impacting hundreds of thousands of retirees and beneficiaries in both systems. The leak did not impact actively employed members of either system.

In total, cyber-attackers stole personal information from 769,000 CalPERS retired members, including names, Social Security numbers, and birth dates. The hackers also may have gotten the names of former or current employers, spouses or domestic partners, and children.