AFT Local 2121 member and former CFT Communications Director Fred
Glass presented retiring CFT President Joshua Pechthalt with the
CFT’s highest honor, the Ben Rust Award. Glass called Pechthalt,
who was AFT vice president of United Teachers Los Angeles before
being elected CFT president in 2011, an organizer, a trade
unionist, and a fighter for social justice like Rust.
In a crowded field of 17 propositions on the statewide ballot
November 8, voters clearly saw the value of publicly funded
education and passed CFT’s top priority, Proposition 55,
with an impressive 24-point margin.
Supporters of Proposition 55, including educators, elected
officials, parents and other community representatives, held a
press conference in front of Hamilton High School in Los Angeles
on August 15, kicking off the local campaign for the ballot
initiative that will protect schools and students from losing up
to $4 billion per year.
»Gilroy Federation of
Paraeducators negotiated a 5.5 percent pay increase
retroactive to December 1, a one-time 2 percent raise back to
July 2014, adjustments of 3 percent for most job classes,
increased stipends and out-of-class pay.
»Weaver Federation of Educational
Employees will see a 5 percent raise retroactive to
July 1, 2014, and 1.1 percent off-schedule for the entire year;
another 5 percent raise and one-time 1.1 percent lump sum on July
1, and a third 5 percent pay increase in July 2016.
California’s largest, oldest corporations have not been paying
their fair share for more than 35 years. As a result, the state
has lost billions of dollars in uncollected property tax revenues
— a major factor pushing our public schools to the national
bottom in per pupil spending and class size average. The state’s
most at-risk families and individuals have also seen essential
services repeatedly cut for more than a generation.
After years of stagnant wages, classified
employees are finally seeing long-overdue salary relief in recent
The raises largely result from the CFT campaign two years ago to
pass Proposition 30. This year, the governor’s budget included
$5.6 billion in additional funding for K-14 education. Prop. 30
will generate an average of about $6 billion per year for seven
Two CFT members were named Labor Leaders of the Year by the
Tri-Counties Central Labor Council: Steve Hall, president of the
Ventura County Federation of College Teachers, and Debra
Stakes president of the Cuesta College Federation of Teachers.
Congratulations Steve and Debra!
The Courage Campaign, a CFT community partner, awarded CFT
President Josh Pechthalt with the United in Courage Award on
April 22 at Sacramento’s Citizen Hotel. The United in Courage
Award is given each year to a progressive leader who exemplifies
courage and collaboration in the pursuit of a more fair and just
Public school educators face a new threat in the form of the
Vergara v. California lawsuit, which aims to declare
unconstitutional five provisions of the Education Code that
ensure seniority, due process and other rights for K-12 teachers.
CFT President Joshua Pechthalt was honored Thursday, May 23,
2013, by the UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education, at the
Center’s annual banquet, for his work to help pass Proposition 30
in November 2012.
Instructors, students and others committed to quality public
education in California breathed a sigh of relief with the
passage of Proposition 30, the ballot measure that will bring
increased revenue to public education and other services through
temporary progressive taxation.
Classified employees had a lot to lose if
voters rejected Prop. 30 on November 6. Staff swung into action
across California, racking up victories in state and local
campaigns that will go a long way toward saving public education.
Gilroy paraprofessionals in AFT Local 1921, for example, resisted
pressure to take 10 furlough days until the need was clear, even
though district teachers represented by CTA and classified
employees represented by CSEA had agreed beforehand to give up
Courage Campaign Chair Rick Jacobs and CFT President Joshua
Pechthalt hold up a cake painted with California map frosting
before Progressive Convening attendees in Los Angeles celebrated
the Prop 30 victory by consuming it.
The meeting included representatives from the Reclaiming
California’s Future coalition and dozens of other organizations.
The group analyzed the election results and began to plan for the
next steps in making California a better place to live.
Voters in California sent a powerful message on Election Day,
passing Proposition 30 which raised income taxes on top earners
to support public education — the first major tax increase since
passage of the revenue-cutting Proposition 13 almost 35 years
Nearly nine in ten CFT members, 87 percent, voted for Prop. 30,
the merger of CFT’s Millionaires Tax and Gov. Brown’s original
initiative, according to a post-election poll commissioned by the
California Labor Federation.
With the passage of Proposition 30 in the November 2012 election,
California is finally looking at improved prospects. Prop 30
begins the process of reversing the massive redistribution of
wealth upwards that has taken place over the past thirty years.
By imposing a 1–3% increase on the wealthiest Californians’
income taxes, and a modest sales tax increase of one-quarter of
1%, the state budget will gain some relief and programs in
education and social services will not face further savage cuts.
We all know the challenge to maintain salaries and benefits and
keep our members working has never been more difficult. But in
spite of difficulties, our members and local leaders continue to
organize and win victories.
Proposition 30, the Schools and Local Public Safety Protection
Act, is on the November 6 ballot. Along with Proposition 32, it
is the most important issue facing California voters among the
many ballot measures.