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Article Labor Solidarity

When workers stand together, we can win!

By Velma J. Butler, President, CFT Council of Classified Employees

I spent the day after Thanksgiving with family and friends at Walmart. We weren’t in front of the largest — and richest — retailer in the world for Black Friday sales. We were there to support employees standing up for what every worker wants: dignity and respect on the job.

Walmart’s formula for “success” is no secret. They offer cheap prices by paying suppliers around the world like dirt, paying their 1.4 million employees like dirt, and driving smaller competitors out of business. If other “big box” stores try to play by the same rules, it touches off a race to the bottom that spreads the pain.

Article Part-time faculty Labor Solidarity

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Organizations and campaigns advocating for contingent faculty

NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL

Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor (COCAL ) An integrated coalition of activists from faculty organizations and unions representing contingent, non-tenured faculty members in all segments of higher education in North-America, with the goals of coordinating activities to educate the public about the inequities of contingent faculty, promoting legislation, and improving bargaining rights, working conditions and education standards.

Article Part-time faculty

CFT grants help faculty organizers reach freeway flyers
One-on-one conversations galvanize part-timer participation

How can we convince more part-time faculty that union membership and participation are the single best way to improve working conditions, pay rate, and job security within California’s community colleges? One-on-one conversations, say part-time faculty Natasha Bauman and Sharon Kerr, whose local unions are both recipients of a new grant from CFT. The Member Organizing Committee, or MOC, grant helps locals conduct member outreach and sign up new members.

Article PEPRA CalPERS

New law! Significant pension changes for CalPERS members start January 1

Classified employees with questions about the new Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 may find answers on the Frequently Asked Questions page of the CalPERS website. Here are some answers to common questions.

The new law requires that new employees of public schools and community colleges contribute at least 50 percent of the total normal cost or the same contribution rate as “similarly situated” employees, whichever is higher.

Classified Conference highlights staff as partners in student success
Attendees hear how co-workers educate, mentor kids

For Esmeralda Grubbs, success starts when a Local 1475 member takes a preschool boy or girl by the hand and begins to build a foundation for lifelong learning.

Grubbs works with the Early Childhood Federation, a Los Angeles County local representing preschool workers, from faculty and teaching assistants to custodians and kitchen staff. Challenges can be daunting, especially in low-income communities. In October, a drive-by shooting threatened a Head Start program in a Watts housing project.

Article Proposition 30

Classified rise to the challenge of passing Prop. 30
Threat of more furlough days spurs community outreach and response

Classified employees had a lot to lose if voters rejected Prop. 30 on November 6. Staff swung into action across California, racking up victories in state and local campaigns that will go a long way toward saving public education.

Gilroy paraprofessionals in AFT Local 1921, for example, resisted pressure to take 10 furlough days until the need was clear, even though district teachers represented by CTA and classified employees represented by CSEA had agreed beforehand to give up the days.

Article Local Action

Gilroy paras win email time, domestic partner coverage

The Gilroy Federation of Teachers and Paraprofessionals is breaking new ground in negotiations covering about 120 paraprofessionals in the Gilroy Unified School District. President Arcelia O’Connor said previous contracts had not addressed emails and granted only limited rights for domestic partners.

“But now we have time to check district communications online,” O’Connor said, “and we have added domestic partners to members of the immediate family for items like family illness and bereavement.”