Increasing CFT’s Funding Commitment for Organizing
March 19, 2023
Whereas, the ultimate source of a labor union’s power comes from the capacity of its members to engage in collective action, up to and including withholding their labor; and
Whereas, popular support for labor unions in 2023 in the U.S. is at its highest point since 1965, indicating a favorable climate for organizing new labor unions; and
Whereas, mainstream media coverage of labor union organizing and strikes in the last decade, while still imperfect, has been more favorable than any other time in the U.S. since the 1960s, and has given workers new support for their organizing; and
Whereas, the percentage of U.S. workers who are represented by labor unions reached 10.1% in 2022, its lowest point on record, demonstrating an urgent need to organize more workers into labor unions; and
Whereas, 40% of EC/TK-12 instructors in California polled in 2022 considered leaving the teaching profession, and 20% indicated they will probably or definitely leave in the next three years, highlighting a need to organize for transformative change of our EC/TK-12 system; and
Whereas, government divestment from public colleges and universities, and the corporate mismanagement of both public and private higher education, has increased faculty and staff interest in joining labor unions in California; and
Whereas, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME (2018) eliminated the ability of labor unions to rely on fee-payers to meet their legal obligation to provide a duty of fair representation, making it essential for them to organize internally to engage and sustain their membership, especially by bargaining for the common good; and
Whereas, the CFT lost 13,745 fee payers following the Supreme Court decision in Janus v AFSCME in 2018 indicating a need to invest more money in internal organizing to increase membership in its union locals; and
Whereas, the CFT has the resources to significantly increase its investment in organizing; andWhereas, the affiliation of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) with the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) in 2022 established AFT and its affiliates, including CFT, as the preeminent organization for representing academic labor; and
Whereas, nearly ten years of internal organizing by the Peralta Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 1603 enabled it to win 100% salary parity for community college instructors in 2020, a historic victory that can inspire similar organizing at every community college in California and across the U.S.; and
Whereas, CFT organizers played an essential role in helping the University Council-American Federation of Teachers (UC-AFT), AFT Local 1474 win the best job security protections for non-tenure track instructors in the U.S. in 2021; and
Whereas, CFT organizing was instrumental in securing $200 million in funding and agreements for six CFT locals for PT healthcare; and
Whereas, CFT organizers have successfully helped workers form new labor unions in the last 5 years at a number of private EC/TK-12 and higher education institutions in California, indicating a substantial demand for union representation in that sector of the economy; and
Whereas, further investments in organizing are likely to further support workers in EC/TK-12 and higher education institutions to engage in collective action in California and inspire workers across the U.S.;
Therefore, be it resolved, that in the next adopted budget, the CFT will commit to increasing the budget allocation for internal organizing (increasing membership, recruiting and developing leaders, and supporting collective action) in its union locals, and external organizing to form new union locals.
1. Justin McCarthy, “U.S. Approval of Labor Unions at Highest Point since 1965,” Gallup.com, August 30, 2022, https://news.gallup.com/poll/398303/approval-labor-unions-highest-point-1965.aspx.
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, “News Release: UNION MEMBERS-2022,” January 19, 2 2023, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/union2.pdf.
3. Hart Research Associates and Kai Matthews, “Voices from the Classroom: Developing a Strategy for Teacher 3 Retention and Recruitment” (UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools, September 15, 2022), https:// transformschools.ucla.edu/research/voices-from-the-classroom/.
4. Rebecca Kolins Givan and Amy Schrager Lang, Strike for the Common Good: Fighting for the Future of Public 4 Education (University of Michigan Press, 2020).
5. FORM LM-2 LABOR ORGANIZATION ANNUAL REPORT, File 512-967, 2017, Schedule 13, p. 26. Office of 5 Labor Management Standards (OLMS) Online Public Disclosure Room (OPDR), https://olmsapps.dol.gov/olpdr/. Accessed October 8, 2022.
- Submitted by the Peralta Federation of Teachers (PFT), AFT Local 1603