Topic: Climate Justice

Fixing commercial tax system will help communities prepare for wildfires
Prop 15 will fund local fire protection districts

As a result of our rapidly changing climate, California has experienced the deadliest, largest, and most destructive wildfires in its history. 

In the past five years, we’ve had nine of the 20 most destructive fires the state has ever had, including the Camp Fire in Butte in 2018, the Tubbs Fire in Napa and Sonoma in 2017, the Carr Fire in Shasta & Trinity in 2018, and the Thomas Fire in Santa Barbara and Ventura in 2017.

Article Environment Wildfires

Unions step up to help wildfire evacuees
Wildfires threaten member homes and lives

Fires in California, many started by lightning, have burned a little more than a million acres, and scores of people have lost homes and thousands more have been forced to evacuate, including CFT members. The fires, some of the largest in the state’s history are burning in areas including Lake, Napa, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo counties.

Article Wildfires Environment

Staying safe at work and home during the wildfires
Monitor air quality, know workplace safety and emergency response protocols

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.

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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

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.