Topic: Organizing

California Teacher 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.

California Teacher Lecturers Librarians

Building a member-driven union at the university
An effective site rep structure reaches lecturers, librarians where they work

At UC Berkeley, 16 lecturer site representatives are fanning out across the sprawling campus. In Davis, the union is fielding at least 15. In both places, the effort to meet the challenge of a new era in public sector labor relations is part of an even larger move to change the culture of the union. 

Article Classified Conference

Classified Conference focuses on organizing

About 100 members of CFT’s Council of Classified Employees recently met in Anaheim for three days of training and networking.

The buzz in hallways and workshops was about Gov. Jerry Brown signing AB 670 less than a week earlier. The new law makes part-time playground supervisors part of the classified service.

“This is our opportunity to organize ‘noon dutys,’” said Carl Williams, the CCE vice president for Southern California and leader of the Lawndale Federation of Classified Employees.

California Teacher Union Fair Share Janus v. AFSCME

Delivering for the union: Signing up new members one stop at a time
Driver and local president Albert Lopez moves between 13 campuses

The Riverside County community of Menifee is on the upswing. More than 1,000 new homes are under construction, new businesses are opening their doors, and new families are moving in. The Menifee Union School District sees increased enrollment on the horizon. The Menifee Council of Classified Employees is also expanding. In fact, the CFT recently honored the local for placing second in two categories recognizing member growth: most new members (151) and highest rate of growth (42 percent).

California Teacher Up Front Janus v. AFSCME

Tried and true methods: Union organizing begins in the workplace

By Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President

We learned in the final days of September that the U.S. Supreme Court will take up another union fair share case. With the court’s ruling coming early next year, it feels like we are on a ship with an iceberg rapidly approaching. Fortunately, as we prepare for an unfavorable decision in the Janus v. AFSCME case, we had already prepared for the similar Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case. 

Members unite to fight Trump’s immigration orders
Council builds solidarity by engaging with members on issues that unite

Before the election our focus was on leadership development,” says Mia McIver, vice president for organizing for the University Council-AFT, “and the election brought us a sense of new urgency.” Strong leaders will provide the underpinning for the campaigns the union will undertake as it faces the Trump administration and a predictable tsunami of anti-union and anti-education measures.

California Teacher

Night shift custodians work together, fight short staffing
Midnight organizing at El Camino College pays off

During the day, Manhattan Beach Boulevard overflows with traffic, but the only thing whipping down the street at 10 p.m. is a cold night wind. To the north, the lights of approaching jets trace the landing path to LAX in the night sky.

Darlene Esquivel pulls into a staff parking lot alongside the facilities management building at El Camino College. Esquivel is one of about 30 custodians on the graveyard shift who put the Torrance campus back in shape nightly while more than 22,000 students sleep.

Article Part-time faculty Campus Equity Week

Campus Equity Week can build adjunct-student solidarity
October 24-28 is Campus Equity Week

Most part-time instructors are aware of how damaging adjunct working conditions can be to our lives economically, physically, emotionally, and psychologically. You may also be aware of how these working conditions can hurt students, the institutions, and tenure-track, full-time employees as well. 

But how aware are students?

Article AFT Rank & Files

AFT Honors San Diego Organizer, Lawndale Federation

Tina Solórzano Fletcher of the AFT Guild, which represents nearly 6,000 employees at San Diego and Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community Colleges, was honored with the Talking Union Award at the annual AFT Paraprofessional and School-Related Personnel conference in April. Fletcher is a member-organizer for AFT Local 1931.

This year, the local prioritized one-on-one contact with non-members, and from September 1 through May 31, signed up 506 new members.

California Teacher CFT Convention

Organizing: Building our union power

In a panel discussion moderated by Joanne Waddell, president of the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild, four leaders in very different situations — three from California and one from Texas, a right-to-work state — talked about what they’d done to significantly increase their membership and get people involved with the union.

Freeway Flyers: Local action & quick news

Campus Equity Week draws attention to inequities among faculty in higher education and calls for economic justice, job security, and institutional support for contingent and part-time faculty. Originally organized by the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor, these October events aim to bring greater awareness to the precarious situation for contingent faculty in higher education, organize for action, and build solidarity.

Article Part-time faculty Building Power

One conversation at a time: Part-time faculty join the union in record numbers

By Linda Sneed

As a CFT vice president and representative of part-time faculty in my district, I’m pleased by the efforts made by my local union and the CFT to strengthen member engagement and outreach. The CFT “Building Our Power” campaign is helping locals do a better job of not only sharing information with bargaining unit members but seeking their input.

Article Building Power COPE

Worksite organizing fires up classified local unions
Member-organizers motivate fee payers to become full members

Across the state, classified employees are convincing fee payers to upgrade to full union membership, and convincing coworkers to support the union’s Committee on Political Education, or COPE. 

The flurry of internal organizing falls under the twin banners of the Strategic Campaign Initiative and Building Our Power. Grants from the former help locals meet their political organizing goals, while the latter awards grants based on potential for member growth.

California Teacher Building Power Up Front

The path forward runs through the streets of our towns, cities, and the nation’s capital

By Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President

It’s time for the labor movement to remember what energized our ranks and inspired American workers to join unions. As we face a continued decline in membership and legal challenges that threaten to erode the strength of public sector unions and the movement as a whole, now more than ever, we need to take our message to the streets.