Newsroom

Article Coronavirus

The pandemic — reopening, regrouping, testing and protecting
K-12 locals put safety first, find communities on their side

The week after Thanksgiving, Mariah Fisher, president of the Novato Federation of Teachers and a middle school drama teacher, said she was ready to go back to in-person teaching, starting that week. She had marked off six feet of space between all the desks and she was preparing to teach acting to students wearing masks.

Article Elections 2020 Members elected

Paul da Silva became the candidate he wanted to see
First teacher elected to College of Marin Board of Trustees

For years, Paul da Silva, a biology teacher at the College of Marin and a member of United Professors of Marin, Local 1610, wondered about the lack of teachers on the college’s Board of Trustees and tried to talk retiring professors into running. No one took him up on it.

So when he decided in the summer of 2019 that he would retire, he concluded, to paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, he’d have to be the candidate he wished to see in the world.

Article Elections 2020 Free College

A First Lady who is a community college teacher
President-elect supports two years of free community college

Dr. Jill Biden, a community college teacher, union member, and soon to be First Lady, spoke virtually to members of the AFT and the National Education Association, thanking them for all the phone banking, text messaging, voter registration drives and poll work they did to get her husband, Joe Biden, elected. AFT President Randi Weingarten and NEA President Becky Pringle introduced her.

Article State Budget

Legislative Analyst forecasts state revenue windfall
Preliminary state budget outlook for 2021-22

Each November, the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) is tasked with providing the state Legislature with forecasting of the state’s revenue and budget constraints. Those numbers have just been released to provide a starting point for what to expect in budget negotiations for the California 2021-22 state budget.

Article Coronavirus

With COVID on campus and normal a long way off, strategic action saves classified jobs
Unions save graveyard custodial shift, defeat layoffs

El Camino College has been slowly resuming activity. Nursing, auto repair, construction and other “essential classes” returned to the Torrance campus in late September, along with scores of custodians, groundkeepers, computer techs and facilities staff.

Returning to normal is another matter. Administrators are trying to eliminate the night shift, even though “graveyard” is typically the busiest time for custodians. Meanwhile, four COVID cases on campus have underlined the pandemic’s ongoing threat, as well as the importance of properly trained and equipped cleaning crews.

Article Labor Solidarity

San Diego County college staffs tackle food insecurity in their communities
Food bank distributions feed thousands of families
PHOTO GALLERY

March 20 was the last day of on-campus classes for about 18,000 San Diego City College students. The college has maintained a food pantry for needy students, faculty and staff, but AFT Local 1931 stepped up the emergency response in September with monthly giveaways.

“It’s joyful to see everyone — students, staff and faculty — come together to help. My happiness was seeing everyone smile,” said Neary Sim, a Guild member and instructional office specialist in the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Article Classified Conference Coronavirus

Virtual Classified Conference educates, unites, entertains
How the pandemic has changed our unions
PHOTO GALLERY

CFT capped an unforgettable year with its first virtual Council of Classified Employees conference. The November 14 online meeting focused exclusively on life with the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were also warm moments of old friends seeing each other, the occasional technical glitch, and a madcap show of goofy eyeglasses.

CCE President Carl Williams welcomed the virtual participants, who appeared in thumbnail windows around the computer screen to be as happy as Williams was to be gathered together — at a distance.

Four new laws classified employees need to know about
From contracting COVID at work to personnel commission changes

Workers’ Comp classifies on-the-job COVID cases as occupational injuries

Senate Bill 1159 (Hill, D-San Mateo) directs the state Workers’ Compensation system to presume that an employee’s COVID-related illness is an occupational injury and therefore the worker eligible for Workers’ Comp benefits if specific criteria are met.

Article Elections 2020 Schools & Communities First

Prop 15 defeated, but our coalition remains strong

CFT members worked so hard to put Proposition 15, also known as Schools & Communities First, on the November ballot and over the finish line right through the close of polling places on Election Day.

But after election day, Prop 15 was trailing by about 400,000 votes with approximately 4 million votes yet to be counted. CFT and campaign allies were optimistic and patient, holding out hope that the measure would amass the votes needed to pass.

Article Elections 2020 Coronavirus

Members brave public rallies to demand, “Count Every Vote!”
PHOTO GALLERY

The polls closed in Hawaii, the westernmost voting site in the United States, at 1 am eastern time on November 4. At 2:28, less than two hours later, President Trump sent out a tweet announcing that he’d won the election.

Millions of votes had yet to be counted, especially those cast by people voting early because of the coronavirus. But Trump demanded that counting stop, and made false charges of election rigging. He immediately filed suits in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia to stop the count.