What is the CFT?
The CFT is a union of educators and classified
professionals affiliated with the 1.7 million
member American Federation
of Teachers, and through it with the AFL-CIO, representing more than 12.5
million working people.
- The CFT comprises 147 local
unions chartered by the AFT. Each local is affiliated with
its regional AFL-CIO Central Labor
Council and the statewide California Labor Federation.
- Through its local unions, the CFT represents more than
120,000 educational employees working at every level of public
and private education from Head Start to the University of
- In all segments of education, the CFT is committed to
promoting high-quality education and to securing the conditions
necessary to provide the best services to California’s students.
Why is there a CFT?
The CFT was founded in 1919 to provide
a labor union alternative for classroom teachers. To
gain employee rights taken for granted by other workers, CFT
lawyers and courageous teachers tested the courts again and
again, building a strong body of case law. One observer said,
“The AFT in California is responsible for having won 90 percent
of the cases dealing with teachers’ rights during the 1960s.”
- To provide essential workplace rights,the CFT in 1953
introduced the first teachers’ collective bargaining
bill in the California Legislature. It reintroduced
similar bills for the following two decades, until passage of the
Educational Employment Relations Act in 1975 finally brought
collective bargaining rights to K–14 teachers and classified
employees working in public education. Since then CFT has
represented these employees in professional and
- Three years later, in 1978, CFT helped pass the
Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act,
bringing the benefits of collective bargaining to university
employees. Today the CFT represents lecturers and librarians at
the University of California.
What has CFT achieved?
The CFT leads the state’s movement for quality education based
on high academic standards for both students and teachers.
Through the collective bargaining contract, AFT unions became
trailblazers in establishing successful peer assistance and
review programs, and other professional development, still in
place today. CFT works to secure universal preschool for all
California children as well as lifelong learning for adults.
CLASSIFIED EMPLOYEES AND
The union works to ensure that classified employees are
recognized for the valuable work they perform. CFT believes the
work of qualified school and college support staff is essential
to building strong campus communities and enhanced student
Representing a majority of faculty in California, the CFT
supports a strong core of full-time faculty and seeks to reach
the system goal of having 75 percent full-time and 25 percent
part-time faculty. To better the working conditions of more
than 30,000 part-time faculty, CFT has worked in coalition to
win equity funding to boost salaries. The CFT continues to seek
legislation that will end the exploitation of part-time
UC LIBRARIANS AND
The CFT organizes academic workers at the University of
California and has negotiated one of the best contracts in the
nation for non-tenured faculty.
PRIVATE SCHOOL AND COLLEGE FACULTY AND
The CFT organizes education workers at private schools and
colleges, Head Start, and job training centers who need a union
on their side to secure the most basic employee rights.
The newest division of the CFT encourages retirees to stay
active in the union and advocates for the security of retired
members by monitoring issues retirees face with their pensions,
Social Security, and healthcare.
How does the CFT work?
The highest political body of the CFT is its biennial
Convention. At the
Convention, hundreds of delegates elected in local unions
throughout the state debate and decide issues facing the
organization. Delegates also elect the CFT President, Secretary
Treasurer, and 24 Vice Presidents.
Between Conventions, the State Council, to which all local unions
may send delegates, makes decisions for the CFT. Between these
meetings, the Executive
Council, comprising the officers of the CFT, makes
decisions for the Federation.
At State Council and Executive Council,
the Committee on Political Education
(COPE) reviews ballot propositions and political candidates
and their positions on issues. Through COPE, the CFT
participates in the campaigns of endorsed candidates.
Four Division Councils correspond to the major
groups of education employees: EC/TK–12, Classified, Community
College, and University. Retirees also have a division. The
councils meet quarterly to share information and formulate
policy proposals for the CFT governing bodies. Council officers
are elected by their constituent local unions.
Who are the CFT’s elected officers?
Where can the CFT be found?
AFT local unions
can be found from Del Norte County in the north to San Diego
County in the south. Many locals employ their own staff.
The CFT’s officers and
staff work at larger offices in the Bay Area, Los
Angeles County and Sacramento and field offices in the Central
Valley, the North Bay, Orange County, and Ventura County.