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.
The forthcoming Supreme Court ruling in Janus vs.
AFSCME poses a serious threat to union strength. Any
union is only as strong as its membership base, and when unions
have higher percentages of the workers in its unit as active
members, they are stronger at the bargaining table, and better
able to protect its workers from violations of their rights.
Across the state, classified employees are convincing fee payers
to upgrade to full union membership, and convincing coworkers to
support the union’s Committee on Political Education, or
The flurry of internal organizing falls under the twin banners of
the Strategic Campaign Initiative and Building Our Power. Grants
from the former help locals meet their political organizing
goals, while the latter awards grants based on potential for
As a part-timer, I had become more involved in my local’s actions
and issues because a friend brought me to a union meeting. She is
an old school organized labor wonk, and her invitation, offered
years ago, put me in a strong position to apply to become an
organizer in the CFT program called Political Leaders United to
Create Change, or PLUCC. My local union applied for the shared
grant-funded position and was awarded a grant.