Topic: Labor 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

University Council-AFT: Bringing dignity to UC lecturers and librarians

Download a single-sheet illustrated history of the University Council-AFT

In September of 1978, Gov. Jerry Brown made good on a promise to the CFT and signed the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act, authorizing employees of the UC and CSU systems to engage in collective bargaining.

The University Council-AFT had already been formally organized on June 19, 1971, when seven AFT locals at UC voted to establish themselves as a council. The council and its constituent locals had represented UC employees as a non-bargaining agent since 1963.

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.

Article CFT 100

PreK-12 Council leads the way on educational issues

Download a single-sheet illustrated history of the EC/TK-12 Council

The CFT originally formed as a union of K-12 teachers. As other education workers joined, the membership of CFT diversified. Because the CFT had a working group of teachers — called the QuEST Council — which dealt with curriculum and policy issues, and reviewed current legislation, there was little pressure for a separate K-12 council.

Article CFT 100

Celebrating 70 years of California Teacher in print

The “Voice of the Union” changes with the times

The committed activists who formed the California State Federation of Teachers in 1919 recognized from the beginning the need for communications among their far-flung members. From rudimentary origins, the California Teacher grew in every way and has been published in print for 70 years.

Article Labor Movement

Documentary movie features United Farm Workers organizer

Five lessons from Dolores Huerta

DOLORES HUERTA, an organizing legend who co-founded the United Farm Workers with Cesar Chavez, was a Girl Scout growing up in Stockton. She took seriously the idea that people should help one another and try to make things better. Something that particularly angered her was police officers stopping her and her Latino friends — but not the white people they knew — on their way home from a basketball or football game.

Article Maternity Leave

The richest country in the world doesn’t have what?

The struggle for paid maternity leave continues

KNOW OUR HISTORY

Okay, educators, here’s a pop quiz: Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Surinam, Tonga, and the United States. What do these countries have in common? The answer is that not one of these has a national paid maternity leave law. Every other nation in the world — 180 of them — has one. 

Article Labor Movement Labor art

New book illustrates the humanity of people who travel with the crops

Writer, photographer and veteran UFW union organizer David Bacon frequently refers to “people who travel with the crops,” agricultural workers who move from place to place to cultivate and harvest California’s fields. They are the subject of his newest work of photojournalism, In the Fields of the North/En los campos del norte. Bacon is a frequent contributor to California Teacher. Below are excerpts from an interview with Capitol & Main. » Read the whole article here.

Article Comparable Worth Pay Equity

Two union women and the fight for pay equity

How the “comparable worth” campaign succeeded

On a hillside in San Francisco a small public school bears the name of one of the pioneers in the movement for workplace equality. Kate Kennedy was born in Ireland, and like so many others, came to the United States during the Great Potato Famine of 1845-49. She was the first San Francisco teacher to join a union. In 1874, she brought a non-discrimination suit that provided the precedent for “equal pay for equal work.” Ultimately a federal law passed in 1963 made it illegal to pay men and women working in the same place different salaries for similar work.

Article Labor Solidarity

Victory in Watsonville: Cannery workers show how solidarity works

KNOW OUR HISTORY

Watsonville, California, a produce powerhouse — July 1985: Mort Console, owner of Watsonville Canning, the major company in town, suddenly cuts wages by 40 percent and reduces health benefits. The factory workers of Teamsters Local 912 immediately vote to go out on strike, just as Console’s anti-union law firm has advised him they would: “Make outrageous demands; the workers will strike. Replace them with scabs. After 12 months, request a union decertification vote, which will then include the strikebreakers too.”

Article

The woman who helped California women win the vote

Immigrant, suffragist, reproductive rights pioneer never gave up

KNOW OUR HISTORY

Hillary Clinton’s historic run for U.S. President and popular vote victory didn’t just come out of nowhere. She and all the other women who are so much a part of our politics stand on the shoulders of the bold, creative organizers who came before them — women who never let a few losses stop them. Women with names we should know but probably don’t. One of these is Frances Nacke Noel.

Article AFT

The first 100 years of the AFT

From eight local unions to 3,000 locals and 1.6 million members

World War I and the Depression: The American Federation of Teachers was founded in Chicago, with eight locals signing on as AFL President Samuel Gompers welcomed the union into its fold in 1916. The union operated from one room of AFT Financial Secretary Freeland Stecker’s five-room bungalow in Chicago. President Charles Stillman lived next door.

Article Labor Solidarity Rank & Files

Honoring “letter carrier who sings” turned teacher

Old school troubadour and modern Joe Hill among top labor artists and activists

Jimmy Kelly comes from a union family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where his grandfather, father and two brothers were all union members. “I grew up in a different era, in a town that traced the origin of its labor movement to the great strikes in the steel mills,” he recalls. “We learned labor terms in fourth grade.”

Article

In Memoriam: Former CFT President Miles Myers dies

Passionate educator led CFT for five years, edited California Teacher for 15

Teacher, author and former CFT President Miles Myers died December 15 from complications related to heart disease. Myers devoted his six-decade career to improving educational standards and the conditions for teaching and learning in public education. He was 84.

Article CFT Convention

Raoul Teilhet: Delegates celebrate life of courageous former president

Raoul Teilhet, president of the CFT from 1968 to 1985, who oversaw the successful struggle for a collective bargaining law for education employees, was “a rock star,” said AFT Vice President and United Educators of San Francisco President Dennis Kelly. CFT President Emeritus Miles Myers read a poem and thanked Teilhet for the good times. Long-time CFT staffer Annette Eisenberg told of Teilhet leaving a registration form on her desk after finding out she had never voted, and how he made everyone feel they mattered.

Post

Teachers like new “New Deal” Conference

The second annual Education and Labor Collaborative conference was held at Antioch University/Los Angeles for a labor film fest on the Friday evening of April 24, and at United Teachers Los Angeles headquarters all day Saturday. About 50 people attended the film show, and 75 attended the conference, about 25 of whom were UTLA members who received salary point credit for attending. Last year’s conference was held at United Federation of Teachers in New York.