Topic: Labor History

Article Labor Solidarity

Unions weather the storm and look to build a brighter future
Labor Day 2019

FIRST PERSON | Jim Miller

These last few years have been particularly challenging times for the American labor movement as we’ve faced everything from a host of anti-labor policies coming from Washington to a Supreme Court decision designed to gut public sector unions. The good news is that despite all of that, the union movement has persevered and the number of Americans who support unions and say they would like the opportunity to join one is the highest it has been in decades. 

Article CFT 100

Commemorating 40 years of collective bargaining
The difference one law makes for teachers and classified employees

Editor’s note: California Teacher published this article in 2015, 40 years after K-14 teachers and classified staff won collective bargaining rights in California.

By Elaine Johnson

On May 20, 1976, I cast the first vote for teachers’ collective bargaining in the state of California. TV cameras recorded the event at Redwood High School in Larkspur, and in those pre-DVR times, the family watched it that evening on the 6 o’clock news.

Article CFT 100

Memoir of a Union Lobbyist: 50 Years Looking Back

Editor’s note: This memoir was originally published as “30 Years Looking Back” in August 1999 by the Institute of Industrial Relations in CPER, A Periodical of Employee Relations in the Public Sector. 

By Mary Bergan

I begin with Robert Reich’s admonition that a memoir is not a history. It chronicles events as the writer remembers them. This is a memoir.

Article CFT 100

What To Do Between Strikes
An essay by Raoul Teilhet

Editor’s note: This essay was presented to CFT Convention on March 9, 2002. Because of Raoul Teilhet’s Parkinson’s disease, it was read by then-Vice President Greg Camacho-Light, a drama teacher from the Gilroy Federation of Teachers and Paraprofessionals. Gov. Gray Davis attended convention that day and officially named it Raoul Teilhet Day. 
 

By Raoul Teilhet

Article CFT 100

The birth of a statewide Federation
A piece of our history is revealed for the first time

By Dennis Kelly

On May 16, 1918, J.P. Utter wrote to the president of the AFT to remind him that a year earlier Utter had asked about chartering a local. In that year, the Vallejo teachers had organized 57 of 58 teachers and principals, had elected two officers, created a salary committee that delivered a raise, demanded and won 12 monthly paychecks, and had created a temporary organization. Utter enclosed $10 for the charter fee. 

Article CFT 100

California Senate honors CFT’s 100th Anniversary

On May 16, the California Senate presented CFT leaders a resolution in honor of the Federation’s 100th Anniversary. The text of the resolution follows.

Whereas, The CFT was founded in 1919 to provide a labor union alternative for classroom teachers and celebrates its 100th year anniversary on May 31, 2019;and

Whereas, the CFT is a union of professionals affiliated with the more than 1.7 million member American Federation of Teachers, and through it with the AFL-CIO; and

Article CFT Convention CFT 100

Convention delegates celebrate the CFT’s 100th Anniversary
Gala, special guests, videos and exhibits showcase an extraordinary history

Hundreds of delegates to the CFT Convention celebrated the 100th Anniversary of their union at a hotel of nearly the same age, the historic Millennium Biltmore in downtown Los Angeles.

During general sessions, delegates watched a series of videos chronicling the CFT’s history of activism. Outside the ballroom doors, they could view a wide range of exhibits in the CFT Hall of History.

Article CFT 100

100 years of the CFT — a capsule history

The CFT turns 100 on May 31, 2019. To kick off this anniversary year, California Teacher digs into the archives to present a commemorative issue about the rich history of our statewide federation of unions. The big events — legislation, elections, social trends — described here affected every member. But this capsule history cannot possibly relate the profound impact almost 100 years of activism had on thousands of individual education workers.

Article CFT 100

Council of Retired Members taps a resource: Retirees are “stickin’ to the union”

Download a single-sheet illustrated history of the Council of Retired Members

What retirees have that unions need — knowledge, experience and memories — are concentrated in the Council of Retired Members, the newest division of CFT. Convention delegates in 2014 overwhelmingly voted to add the council to the union’s governance structure so retirees could contribute in the same way as working teachers and classified employees. 

Article CFT 100

Council of Classified Employees: High-quality representation wins respect for support staff

Download a single-sheet illustrated history of the Council of Classified Employees

When the AFT in 1977 welcomed educational workers other than teachers into its ranks, paraprofessionals and classified employees became one of the fastest growing sectors of the national AFT. In the 1980s, several thousand California support staff voted for the AFT as their bargaining agent.