Topic: Organizing

Council of Classified Employees looks ahead to 2020 political challenges
Top of the list: Qualify Schools and Communities First initiative

Members from classified locals across the state recently met in Glendale to swap organizing tips, celebrate victories, and strengthen political skills.

Participants engaged enthusiastically from Friday, October 18, when Council of Classified Employees President Carl Williams welcomed leaders to his first President’s Collaboration, to that Sunday morning, when Superintendent of Instruction Tony Thurmond rallied the troops for coming electoral fights.

Article Part-time faculty AFT Local Action

Freeway Flyers: Local action & quick news
Salary comparison, part-timer conference, celebrity part-timers

Los Angeles adjunct becomes chair of California Democratic Party

Rusty Hicks, known to the larger California public as the newly elected leader of the California Democratic Party, is known to the students of the Los Angeles Community College District and the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild, Local 1521, by another title since 2016 — Adjunct Instructor of Labor Studies.

Article Labor art

How unionizing the Lusty Lady has influenced faculty members
Novelist and poet works to organize faculty in creative departments

When Aya de León started as a lecturer in African American Studies at UC Berkeley and director of its Poetry for the People program, she was excited to join AFT Local 1474. She’s been working since she was a teenager, de León says, but this is the first job where she has a union to represent her.

When she was younger, the idea of being in a local seemed very adult to her, and now being a member of one makes her feel she has arrived, she says. That’s just one reason she’s excited to be a union member.

Article Lecturers

UC lecturers take bold stand with university in negotiations
Momentum has built activism and organizing success

Eighty UC-AFT members and their allies showed up at the first bargaining session at UC Davis as lecturers began their contract negotiations last spring. The impressive number of rank-and-file members in the room to support the team helped them win open bargaining, says UC-AFT President Mia McIver.

California Teacher CFT Convention

Membership Growth Awards recognize organizing

With the June 2018 Supreme Court 5-4 decision on Janus v. AFSCME ending “fair share” revenues, many locals were prepared to lose members, and organized to stop that.

“Some people will find it attractive to save a few hundred bucks, so we have to develop a new culture of unionism and union activism,” Community College Council President Jim Mahler told the delegates, encouraging them to greet new workers on campus. “We say, ‘Hi, here’s where the copy machine is, here’s the bathroom, and here’s the union card.’ We’ve got to be membership driven.”

California Teacher Strike

Strike? Stand with L.A. teachers to win the schools students deserve

UPDATE: After the factfinding report was released on December 18, UTLA announced it will go on strike January 10.

A Red-for-Ed wave rolled through downtown Los Angeles on December 15 as tens of thousands of members and supporters of United Teachers Los Angeles protested large class sizes, low pay, over-testing, a shortage of school nurses and other support staff, and the unregulated growth of charter schools.

California Teacher

Retirees stay true to the cause – keeping political, union skills sharp

AFT activists don’t stop being active when they retire. United Teachers Los Angeles retiree Jimmie Woods-Gray, for example, remains a whirlwind in the fight to stop the privatization of public education. UC-AFT Riverside’s Stephanie Kay, meanwhile, continues the daily fight for lecturers’ rights on University of California campuses.

Article Janus v. AFSCME

Workplace organizing: Facing new threat, members recommit to their unions

For years, the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court threatened to clip unions’ wings if the right case came before the bench.

Classified AFT locals across California have been preparing for the decision in Janus v. AFSCMEby asking agency fee payers to become full members, and recruiting at new employee orientations. The membership drives have meant an influx of new enthusiasm and a renewed sense of union pride.

Article Representational Elections

Compton campus police choose AFT as their union

Generations of Compton rappers have created an indelible portrait of their city’s mean streets. Life in this Los Angeles suburb isn’t easy.

Jermaine Ford and the 17 members of the Compton Unified School District police are a “thin blue line” sworn to keep the 36 schools and additional dozen district facilities safe. Their job hasn’t gotten any easier, either.

California Teacher Up Front CFT 100

Our history teaches us the power of organizing for collective action

By Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President

At this pivotal moment in our history, we can look back with pride while looking forward with a tempered sense of confidence. Knowing what our union has overcome in its first century, we will face the coming challenges and emerge a stronger union.

Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the CFT. Previous generations of educators won the right to due process and collective bargaining. They built the foundation that led to decent compensation, healthcare and retirement benefits, and much more.

California Teacher CFT Convention

Women in Education Award: Sandra Larsen, Petaluma Federation

A woman’s place is in her union, Morgan Hill Federation of Teachers President Gemma Abels told attendees at the CFT Convention before introducing this year’s winner of the Women in Education Award, Sandra Larsen, president of the Petaluma Federation of Teachers, who led a successful strike last spring, the first in the union’s history.