Topic: Education Issues

Part-timers and allies lobby legislators for healthcare, pay parity
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Students and full-time faculty join forces with part-time faculty

From the Bay Area to San Diego, and from the Central Valley to the Mojave Desert, part-time community college faculty, along with full-time faculty and student allies, gathered at Sacramento’s famed Sutter Club on Monday morning, May 1, to go forth and make California legislators aware of the critical need for part-time faculty healthcare and pay parity.

Article part-time faculty PT campaign

Part-Time Faculty Conference empowers through learning
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Workshops focus on bargaining, lobbying, organizing, diversity, communications

When it comes to union work, power and knowledge work hand in hand. Union is not simply about expressing demands, speaking truth to power, and being resolute in the face of adversity. It’s about making connections, sharing truths, building solidarity, empowering, and speaking to be heard.

Developing the knowledge to do these things and putting the power of that knowledge to use was core to the workshops at the CFT Part-Time Faculty Conference held May 1-2 in Sacramento.

Article coronavirus Classified Conference
conference group shot

Trades workers, custodians ready for increasingly dangerous workplaces
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CFT conference tackles tough issues of coronavirus, toxic chemicals, climate change, active shooters

Dozens of classified members from locals up and down California recently met at Compton College for the first Custodial and Skilled Trades Conference hosted by the CFT Council of Classified Employees.

“We have talked about this for years, and put it off for two years because of COVID, but here we are,” said a buoyant CCE President Carl Williams.

Article part-time faculty PT campaign
conference group shot

Part-time faculty power up for change
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Conference spotlights CFT equity campaign for contingent faculty

A crowd of more than 100 members strong — some seasoned part-timers with decades of experience, others new adjuncts for which this was their first union event — were engaged as the CFT Part-Time Faculty Conference opened to roars and cheers with its theme of “Equity for Contingent Faculty.” The feeling one had as a part-timer was best summed up by Lin Chan, co-chair of the CFT Part-Time Faculty Committee, “You’re not one person…you’re one of thousands.”

Article part-time faculty PT campaign
CFT Part-Time Faculty Survey Report 2022

Groundbreaking CFT survey calls out healthcare crisis among part-time faculty
Critical insights into part-time faculty in community colleges statewide

The results of CFT’s groundbreaking statewide survey of part-time faculty offer critical insights into the daily, personal, and structural challenges that part-time and contingent faculty experience when it comes to healthcare.  

Article coronavirus part-time faculty SCFF
AdFac President Seija RohkeaBarbara Baer

Continued enrollment woes create local challenges for part-time faculty
Local unions finding solutions in pandemic-driven tough times

While California is showing strong signs of emerging from an economy ravaged by the pandemic, the community colleges are still reeling from the impact, most strongly demonstrated in the sharp decline in student enrollment. This has led to tough situations for many adjuncts, and for the local unions representing them.

Article part-time faculty
HELU Winter SummittHigher Ed Labor United logo

HELU Winter Summit unites efforts across unions
Promotes socio-economic and racial justice in higher education

HELU, or Higher Education Labor United, a cross-union and cross-sector coalition, held its Winter Summit virtually on February 23-27, pushing forward with the larger goals of reclaiming the promise of higher education, and promoting socio-economic and racial justice embodied by the New Deal for Higher Education campaign and Scholars for a New Deal in Higher Education.

Janine LugoUESF's Sean Nunsley-Wills and CFT Vice President Anthony ArinwineGilroy Federation officers with CFT President Jeff FreitasCindy EscarenoJanine Lugo

The new normal for special education instructional aides
‘‘SpEd IAs’’ face student pandemic trauma, larger classes, and low pay

California schools have returned to in-person learning, but acute staff shortages are hobbling the return. The hardest positions to fill are often special education instructional aides.

For “SpEd IAs,” as they are known from early childhood programs to post-secondary classrooms, there is no “social distance” with their students. Assignments may require feeding children, changing diapers, and handling medical equipment. Emotional outbursts can also be physically punishing to paraeducators.

Article staff shortage coronavirus AFT
CCE President Carl Williams

AFT task force tackles national staff shortages in education
CFT seeks to set minimum salaries and hourly pay

COVID didn’t create the national staffing crisis we face, but the pandemic has stretched classified and certificated members so thin that some schools have been forced to shut their doors.

AFT has stepped up to the challenge and created an Education Staffing Crisis Task Force co-chaired by Carl Williams, head of the CFT Council of Classified Employees and an AFT Vice President, and Michael Mulgrew, leader of AFT’s largest local union, New York City’s United Federation of Teachers.

Article Leadership Conference racial justice SPI AFT
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond nd with membersState Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony ThurmondndCFT Secretary Treasurer Luukia SmithAFT President Randi Weingarten zoomed in from the strike lines in Minneapolis.JEDI Organizer Cynthia Eaton

Leadership Conference focuses on racial and social justice
Thurmond, Weingarten address delegates

About 200 CFT members from around the state converged at San Francisco’s Hyatt Regency for a Leadership Conference — the first time they’d been able to join together for such an event since the state shut down for COVID on March 13, 2020.

Seeming excited to see one another in person, attendees went to workshops, many dealing with racial and social justice issues, and heard from speakers including JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) Organizer Cynthia Eaton, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, and AFT President Randi Weingarten.

Article Up Front racial justice

Stand up to defend free thought, honest history, and gender identity
Right-wing targets schools and colleges across the nation

By Jeffery M. Freitas, CFT President

When I decided to become a teacher, I was focused on helping students and meeting them where they are. I became a mathematics teacher — slopes, quadratic equations, fractions, square roots and all. But I entered into the profession because I was interested in who my students are as people, not just in class. I wanted to understand their hopes and dreams and help them become the people they wanted to be.

Article special education staff shortage
Heather Molloy in her classroom with globe behind herMarcela Chagoya in classroom

Pandemic magnifies long-standing challenges in special education
CFT Special Ed Summit motivates members to take bold action

This is Heather Molloy’s first year on CFT’s Special Education Services Committee. She says she feels grateful to be part of it and thinks in a short period of time, the committee has accomplished a lot.

Molloy, a high school teacher and member of Oxnard Federation of Teachers and School Employees, is referring to the EC/TK-12 Council’s Special Education Summit in February where members wrote a resolution to change the state’s Education Code, which she thinks desperately needs updating.

Article AFT part-time faculty PT campaign

New AFT report shows pandemic wreaked havoc on nation’s adjunct faculty
Transition to remote learning, impact of virus lead to declines in job security, increased reliance on public assistance

WASHINGTON — A new national adjunct faculty survey from the AFT underlines the brutal economic reality faced by millions of contingent and adjunct faculty at the nation’s colleges and universities — and illustrates how the pandemic further eroded job security and bolstered the need for public help.

Article part-time faculty PT campaign
members on zoom

Part-time faculty step up to win the healthcare they deserve
Dozens of faculty testify before state legislative committees

Dozens of CFT members testified this week in front of two different budget subcommittees of the California Legislature to urge our elected leaders in Sacramento to support Governor Newsom’s $200 million proposal in the state budget to fund healthcare for part-time faculty in California’s community colleges.

Following the launch of CFT’s campaign for part-time faculty healthcare last fall and a successful letter campaign, the governor included the $200 million in his January budget proposal.

Article Up Front lecturers part-time faculty PT campaign

UC lecturers’ victory inspires broad movement for equity across higher education
CFT wages a campaign for part-time faculty in the community colleges  

By Jeffery M. Freitas, CFT President

For about three years the University Council-AFT engaged in protracted negotiations on behalf of lecturers in their unit. Their aims have always been about fairness — better working conditions for lecturers and improved learning conditions for students. Their fight has been about not only winning economic and contractual gains for members, but gaining professional respect and recognition for their teaching at the University of California. Their campaign has been a true member-driven effort, rooted in years of organizing by the statewide local that represents both continuing lecturers and librarians, led by their president, Mia McIver, and a committed negotiations team. 

Sarah Auwarter, president of the Newport-Mesa FederationSkylar Petersen, president of the Lompoc FederationJuan Ramirez with CFT President Jeff Freitas

Overwork, underpayment, burn out and blame, lead to staff shortages
Unions speak to pandemic-driven shortage of teachers, subs, paras, classified

For years, California elementary and secondary schools have had teacher shortages, particularly in areas of special education, math, and science, but it’s grown worse since the pandemic started, with fewer teacher candidates getting credentials, and 26% more teachers retiring in 2020 than the year before.

Article student debt
Jessica Saint-Paul at work Peter Huk is a lecturer of writing at UC Santa Barbara Kristi Jacobson at her classroom door

What does gratitude look like? Find out from three members deep in student debt
How AFT’s legal victory with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program will change lives

In 2018, Jessica Saint-Paul, who has a doctorate in medical science and teaches public health and health occupation courses at Southwest and Trade Tech colleges, attended a benefits conference put on by her local, the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild. They covered Public Service Loan Forgiveness, a federal program that promised if you worked in public service for 10 years and made 120 payments, the remainder of your loan would be forgiven.

Article coronavirus part-time faculty
CFT officers with officers of Adjunct Faculty United outside campus building, standing socially distancedWest Valley-Mission Federation receiving check from HSBC, all wearing masks

Part-time faculty face loss of work, health benefits in COVID times
Locals negotiate vaccine stipends, reduced class minimums, retention of health benefits

As the COVID pandemic stretches into the fall, community college adjuncts have been hit especially hard by the decline in student enrollment, limited support services, and inadequate or even non-existent access to healthcare. The loss of work, loss of insurance benefits, and even the breakdown of personally financed yet essential teaching equipment have been the tragic results.

Article PT campaign part-time faculty
graphical presentation of inequality in healthcare

CFT launches campaign to secure healthcare for part-time faculty
“Adjuncts deserve, at the very least, the basic right of healthcare”

The pandemic has pushed many harsh realities in higher education to the forefront, none more so than the inadequacy of healthcare for part-time faculty. With the cost of an average COVID hospitalization, according to a number of sources, running in excess of $20,000, the financial effects alone on an uninsured part-timer contracting COVID can be devastating. Add a possible uninsured family member or members to the mix, and the reality becomes even more frightening.