Topic: Climate Justice

Article Wildfires Environment

Staying safe at work and home during the wildfires
Use EPA's AirNow index, Cal/OSHA's workplace info, and AFT's family support

With wildfires burning in the north and south of our state, here is some helpful information about air quality, worker safety, and supporting families in need. 

Air quality

You can find the Air Quality Index in your area by entering your zip code in the EPA’s AirNow online calculator, which is also available as an app for your mobile device. Purpleair.com is also a useful resource, offering hyper-local air quality monitoring in many areas.

Article

September 20 Student Climate Strike

On September 20, three days before the UN Climate Summit in NYC, young people from across the world will strike to demand transformative action be taken to address the climate crisis. The day kicks off a week of action across California led by students and supported by environmental groups and unions.

Earlier this summer, the CFT Executive Council voted to endorse the student climate strike, and to support educators, classified, and students’ efforts to demand bold climate action at all levels of government and institutions.

California Teacher Wildfires Environment

Largest-ever California wildfire tears lives apart
Colleagues, students and the union lend support to members in need

Although Laura Carrasco and her husband were at home in Oxnard on Monday, December 4, they didn’t smell the smoke because of the 60-mile-an-hour winds. Around 10:30 pm, they looked outside, saw flames, and a few minutes later, firefighters went up the street with bullhorns, telling people to evacuate. 

It was the beginning of the Thomas fire, the largest recorded fire in California history, which burned 273,400 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, destroying about 1,000 structures. 

California Teacher Environment Wildfires
Jen and William Ortlinghaus stand before the wreckage of their home in the wake of the devastating North Bay fires. Both are members of the Petaluma Federation of Teachers.

Wildfires take member homes
Union provides immediate aid and comfort

After the North Bay fires destroyed more than 5,000 homes and killed dozens of people, William Ortlinghaus, who teaches physical education at Kenilworth Junior High and his wife Jen, a teacher at Valley Vista Elementary, were happy to go back to work after school had been cancelled for a week.

“It was the only normal thing we had left,” Jen said, “And my fourth graders were curious to see if we were still alive and our dogs were OK.”

California Teacher Environment Proposition 39

Campus electricians shine in clean energy awards
Proposition 39 investments reap environmental and fiscal benefits

We don’t spend much time changing bulbs anymore,” said Palomar College electrician Rick Beach. “There aren’t many left on campus to change.”

And fewer by the day. Beach and maintenance and operations staff members of the Palomar Council of Classified Employees, AFT Local 4522, recently led the installation of LED lighting across Palomar’s San Marcos and Escondido campuses.

California Teacher Environment

CFT becomes first statewide U.S. union to
 adopt Climate Justice Agenda
Core tenets advanced by task force adopted as union policy

FIRST PERSON | Jim Miller

The CFT made history in 2016 when it became the first statewide labor organization in the United States to adopt a Climate Justice Agenda. When Resolution 29 was brought before delegates to the CFT Convention, I presented the history of my local union in forging the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council Environmental Caucus, the first such body in the nation.