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Article Lecturers

Telling, Not Being the Joke
A personal essay by Andrew Tonkovich

Q: Tell me, how long have you been working here?

A: Ever since they threatened to fire me.

That old cornball joke still makes me laugh, 50 years after I read it in a kids magazine. I understood it then as honest if everyday acknowledgement by the presumably once-lazy worker of his or her required acquiescence to power, and of isolation. But its splendid trick syntax and on-the-nose calling out of the coercive relationship of management to labor suggested more, even to a 10-year-old: cognizance of at least the potential inherent power of the worker — all workers? — to apprehend, to subvert, to jest, however fatalistically, cynically or — my own favorite — insubordinately.

Article Union communications

New CFT website wins top national awards
CFT wins 16 labor media awards

This was another excellent year for the CFT in the labor media contest sponsored by the International Labor Communications Association, with the union winning 16 awards, including top honors for the new website.

With the union’s switch to digital communications, the CFT’s focus switched to developing a modern and robust mobile-friendly website with digital storytelling capability and strong member outreach capacity. 

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).

Article Schools & Communities First Elections 2020

Put Schools and Communities First on the ballot
Join CFT members in gathering signatures

The California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act will restore over $12 billion per year to California’s schools, community colleges, health clinics, and other vital local services.

For nearly four decades, big corporations have not been paying their fair share of commercial property taxes, leaving California with the most overcrowded classrooms in the United States and with some of the worst ratios of counselors, librarians, and nurses per student.

Article Wildfires Environment

Staying safe at work and home during the wildfires
Use EPA's AirNow index, Cal/OSHA's workplace info, and AFT's family support

With wildfires burning in the north and south of our state, here is some helpful information about air quality, worker safety, and supporting families in need. 

Air quality

You can find the Air Quality Index in your area by entering your zip code in the EPA’s AirNow online calculator, which is also available as an app for your mobile device. Purpleair.com is also a useful resource, offering hyper-local air quality monitoring in many areas.

Article Part-time faculty Labor Solidarity

Part-timer takes the helm at State Center Federation of Teachers

One of the great powers of a union is its ability to uplift the living conditions and status of its members, not just at the bargaining table, but within the structure of the union itself — when the seemingly most marginalized members assume leadership roles.

In local unions representing all faculty, there has been a recent trend of the membership electing a part-time faculty member to lead the union, with significant support from the full-timers. There is perhaps no better example of this, though he might be reluctant himself to say so, than Keith Ford.

Governor signs loan forgiveness bill, vetoes paid maternity leave
From the Capitol – On the cusp of good things for part-timers

Budgetarily, it’s been a tough year for winning greater gains for part-timers in Sacramento, but with regard to legislation which CFT succeeded in getting to the governor’s desk, and for legislation already in the wings for next year, part-timers are on the edge of good things.

Article Part-time faculty

What I learned in my research of the “Involuntary Adjunct”

By Bobbi-Lee Smart, Cerritos Faculty Federation

My dissertation research focused on the perceptions of the impact of adjuncts on community college campuses in Southern California. I specifically wanted to understand the reality of involuntary adjuncts — those whose who want full-time tenure track jobs, couldn’t get a position, so worked as “full-time” adjuncts (those whose adjunct work is the majority or entirety of their income).

The key findings of my research and interviews follow.