After people in leadership at the local where he is the former
president, United Teachers Los Angeles, got up to talk about his
mentoring, his commitment to growing the movement, and the
respect they have for him, the winner of this year’s Ben Rust
award, John Perez, got up to speak.
Many legislators, although they seem good at first, have a “shelf
life,” said Community College Council President Jim Mahler, which
expires when they stop responding to the people who elected them.
Mahler said to combat this by finding your own candidates.
Assemblyman Jose Medina, D-Riverside, winner of CFT’s Legislator
of the Year Award, was just who the union was looking for.
At a rally and march for fair pay and quality public education
held the Friday of the CFT Convention in San Francisco, hundreds
of attendees joined AFT Local 2121, the faculty union for City
College of San Francisco, as they marched from the Hyatt Regency
to offices of the college’s lead contract negotiator a few blocks
away. Two dozen people — community and union leaders as well as
members — blocked the entrance and got arrested in an act of
civil disobedience. This came right after the union’s largest
voter turnout ever for a strike vote, which was approved by 92
Resolution 1 Support best practices in
Local Control Accountability Plans Resolution 4 Ensure adult education exists
in its best and fullest capacity Resolution 5 Call for rationality in
testing Resolution 6 Support for the California
Education for a Global Economy Initiative Resolution 7 Sponsor an education
technology implementation study Resolution 8 Create a School Climate and
Student Engagement Advisory Committee Resolution 10 Create a working group on
When accepting her award for Women in Education, along with her
colleague Theresa Sage, for their successful fight against the
Rocketship corporate charter school chain, Morgan Hill Federation
of Teachers President Gemma Abels gave a speech that brought the
room to tears. She talked about the tough personal fight she
faced thereafter — stage IV ovarian cancer with aggressive chemo
treatments and attendant exhaustion.
In a panel discussion moderated by Joanne Waddell, president of
the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild, four leaders in very
different situations — three from California and one from Texas,
a right-to-work state — talked about what they’d done to
significantly increase their membership and get people involved
with the union.
Four years ago we talked about the need to pass Proposition 30, a
measure that has added more than $6 billion dollars annually to
the state budget after years of devastating cuts. Now we have to
extend it. The measure for which we are gathering signatures —
The Children’s Education and Healthcare Protection Act — will
raise $5 to $11 billion a year, eliminate the sales tax increase,
and continue to ask wealthy Californians to pay a bit more in
personal income tax.
Lab techs. Secretaries. Bus drivers. Groundskeepers. Food service
workers. The varied hats classified staff members wear cover a
multitude of job roles, said Carl Williams, a senior custodian
and president of the Lawndale Federation of Classified Employees.
He had members pick up a hat and come on stage when they heard
their job title called out.
Laura Rico has worked in education for more
than 40 years, starting as an early childhood teacher at the
Artesia High School Children’s Center in the 1970s where she
became a member of the ABC Federation of Teachers.
Delegates took on social justice concerns, passing a resolution
from the United Educators of San Francisco and the CFT Executive
Council to officially support the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
Resolution 23 calls for community meetings, teach-ins and
curricula, such as what’s already posted on UESF’s website and AFT’s Share My Lesson.
Betty Yee said she owes her job as
California’s 32nd controller in part to public education — the
San Francisco Unified School District and UC Berkeley. She
offered a heartfelt thanks to the CFT for its work to get her
elected in a tight race.
When he accepted the Raoul Teilhet Educate, Agitate, Organize
Award, Robert Chacanaca, known as “Chaca,” asked for a moment of
silence to remember Teilhet, the former CFT president who
successfully pursued collective bargaining.
“Inspiring and well organized,” was how AFT 2121 President Tim
Killikelly described the 73rd annual California Federation of
Teachers’ Convention, held over the weekend of March 20-22 in
CFT’s Community College Council President Jim Mahler called state
Senator Marty Block, who represents the cities of San Diego,
Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach, the union’s “go-to guy on
every issue for decades,” when awarding Block the CFT’s
Legislator of the Year Award.
Raoul Teilhet, president of the CFT from 1968 to 1985, who
oversaw the successful struggle for a collective bargaining law
for education employees, was “a rock star,” said AFT Vice
President and United Educators of San Francisco President Dennis
Kelly. CFT President Emeritus Miles Myers read a poem and thanked
Teilhet for the good times. Long-time CFT staffer Annette
Eisenberg told of Teilhet leaving a registration form on her desk
after finding out she had never voted, and how he made everyone
feel they mattered.
North Carolina’s Reverend Barber says it’s time for some
“These are serious times,” Reverend William Barber II told the
CFT Convention delegates on Sunday morning. Barber is president
of the NAACP in North Carolina and the leader of the fast-growing
Moral Mondays Movement, which protests cuts to education,
healthcare and food stamps. He worked delegates into a fervor
telling them that sometimes they needed to get out of their
conference seats and go into the streets to fight back against
things they think are wrong, and that it’s time for some
From helping pass Proposition 30, which raises billions of
dollars for education, to fighting back against Vergara v.
California, a lawsuit filed on behalf of nine student plaintiffs
which seeks to dismantle teachers’ rights, AFT President Randi
Weingarten stands up for California educators and students.
In some cities, the education unions and the mayor engage in
battle. But that’s not the case in Los Angeles where Eric
Garcetti was elected mayor in May 2013 with early support from
the CFT. He welcomed Convention delegates Friday morning by
saying he always keeps his education background in mind.
The Reverend William J. Barber II, president of the North
Carolina NAACP, and leader of the growing “Moral Monday” movement
contesting his state’s descent into the nineteenth century at the
hands of its Tea Party government, provided a parable to the 600
elected delegates in the waning hours of the California
Federation of Teachers’ 72nd annual convention, held in Manhattan
Beach over the March 21-23 weekend.
Speakers laud union’s accomplishments and inspire future
Midway through this year’s state convention, CFT President Josh
Pechthalt and Secretary Treasurer Jeff Freitas ran unopposed as
part of a slate called QES-Quality Education Slate and the entire
slate was elected by acclamation.