Join CFT


Join the Union
You deserve to have a union on your side!

Being a union member is the single most effective path to advocating for your profession and those you educate. Every educator deserves union representation, whether you are full-time, part-time, classified or certificated, higher education or preschool, working in public education or at a private school or university.

Becoming a CFT member means that you join 120,000 educators in California who together are advocating for quality education at their workplaces, in their communities, and in the halls of the Legislature. Be a part of this important work!

What are you joining?

You are joining a Union of Educators and Classified Professionals and by so doing, you will have a reliable union to call on when you’re having trouble in the workplace and good contracts backed up by strong union representation.

The CFT is proud to represent public sector and private sector education workers in their quest for dignity. All educators deserve the protection that a union contract provides.

If there is an AFT local union in your workplace… 

  • You can join your AFT local union in just minutes! Many local unions have online membership forms for quick sign-up. Find the link for your AFT local in our Know Your Local section. 
  • If your local union does not have an electronic membership form, and you wish to join the union, please contact your local union leaders.
  • You may also join the union by completing and returning our Statewide Membership Form to your local union or to the CFT Los Angeles County Office, 2550 North Hollywood Way, Suite 400, Burbank CA 91505. 

Download the Statewide Membership Form

Join as a member-at-large

As a member-at-large, you will enjoy some benefits of union membership without union representation in collective bargaining. You will stay updated on professional issues by receiving CFT newsletters, have an opportunity to vote for your delegate to the CFT Convention, and be covered by the AFT Occupational Liability Insurance and a one-year Accidental Death and Dismemberment policy. 

If there is no union in your workplace and you want a union…

Education workers have the right union representation, whether you are working in public education or at a private school or university.

  • If your workplace does not have a union and you want the benefits of unionization, you may get assistance from our Organizing Department.

Your Right to Organize a Union
To form a union, bargain collectively your employer, and have a greater voice at work

If you don’t have a union, you already know the boss can do whatever he or she wants. You really don’t know from one day to the next what could happen to your pay, your job, or even your workplace.

Without a union, you leave all of your rights outside when you walk through the door to work. But you — and the people you work with — can change this. It’s your legal right.

A union gives you the power to make your employer pay a fair wage, provide a decent place to work and a voice in the decisions that affect you. It’s the organization that represents and defends workers from unfair treatment — and it really works.


After numerous attempts starting in the 1950s, the CFT in 1975 introduced and lobbied successfully for passage of the Educational Employment Relations Act (EERA), which gives teachers and classified employees the right to bargain collectively with their public school and community college employers. This landmark legislation became law on January 1, 1976. 

Only three years laters, the CFT lobbied similarly for passage of the Higher Education Employer-Employe Act (HEERA), bringing collective bargaining to university employees. 

  • The California Public Employment Relations Board is the governmental agency charged with administering and enforcing state collective bargaining statutes covering employees of California’s public schools, colleges, and universities, and other groups of public workers.


Educators and support staff who work for private sector employers have the right to organize a union under the National Labor Relations Act, passed by Congress in 1935. The NLRA is a federal law that grants employees the right to form or join unions and engage in protected, concerted activities to address or improve working conditions.


Join the Worldwide Fight for Worker Rights!

world map with workers of all varieties

Join the movement to unionize workers in California, across the nation, and around the world! Get to know the non-governmental organizations advocating every day for the right of workers to form democratic unions, providing resources to workers and their families, and promoting social justice issues.


Unionize California.

  • California Labor Federation 
    Dedicated to promoting and defending the interests of working people and their families for the betterment of California’s communities. Each AFT/CFT local union is affiliated with its regional Central Labor Council and the statewide Labor Federation.
  • Voters Injured at Work 
    Serves injured California workers and their families by providing a voice for changing workers’ compensation laws and educating the public about problems experienced by injured workers.
  • Young Workers’ Health and Safety 
    A resource network that helps prevent California’s young workers from being injured or killed on the job. Includes a resources section for educators



  • Labor Notes 
    National media and organizing project that has been the voice of union activists who want to put the movement back in the labor movement since 1979. Sign up for emails to get labor news and learn about trainings and conferences.


    Building power for more than 12.5 million working people across North America. The CFT is affiliated with the AFT, and through it with the AFL-CIO.
  • Association for Union Democracy 
    The only national, pro-labor, non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the principles and practices of democratic trade unionism in North America
  • Coalition of Labor Union Women 
    A national organization affiliated with the AFL-CIO that offers valuable resources for female unionists.
  • Jobs for Justice 
    Fighting corporate attacks on working people and standing up for our rights as working people to a decent standard of living and to organize and bargain collectively.
  • Labor Project for Working Families 
    Download resources, reports and publications on organizing, bargaining, and advocating for family-friendly workplace programs and policies.
  • United for Respect 
    A multiracial national movement of working people advancing a vision of an economy where corporations respect our work, recognize our humanity, and in which everyone can live and work in dignity. 
  • United Students Against Sweatshops 
    A national student labor organization fighting for workers’ rights with chapters on more than 150 campuses.



  • LabourStart 
    World labor news with the tagline, “Where trade unionists start their day on the net.”


  • AFL-CIO Solidarity Center
    Assists workers across the globe as, together, they fight discrimination, exploitation and the systems that entrench poverty—to achieve shared prosperity in the global economy.
  • Global Unions 
    International trade union organizations working together with a shared commitment to the ideals and principles of the trade union movement.
  • International Labour Organization 
    The ILO is devoted to promoting social justice and internationally recognized human and labor rights.
  • Workers Rights Consortium 
    An independent labor rights organization that conducts investigations of working conditions in factories around the globe with the aim of combatting sweatshops and protecting the rights of workers who make apparel and other products.