Topic: Organizing

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.

Article

Activists work hard in week-long Union Summer School

The CFT’s annual Union Summer School kicked off on Monday, June 22, with rank-and-file members from CFT locals across the state in residence at Cal Poly Pomona’s Kellogg Conference Center.

A half dozen week-long classes kept the union activists busily engaged with nuts and bolts union skill-building led by CFT staff and leadership. The majority were first-time attendees at the popular training. 

California Teacher Librarians Educational Technology Union communications

Librarian masters digital tools for workplace and union
Carla Arbagey creates infographics to illustrate workload

UC Riverside librarian Carla Arbagey says, “Technology is like air to me.” It is essential in the library, where she integrates systems and tracks information on more than 3.4 million items. She is the winner of the 2014 Technology New Leader Award from the California Library Association, and a self-described “type-A personality” who likes things to be tidy, organized, and efficient.

California Teacher Community Outreach Black Lives Matter Labor art

Berkeley teachers commit art for justice

Two union campaigns strengthen the bonds of community

In February, Berkeley teachers posted 1,000 “Black Lives Matter” signs in classrooms, hallways, administrative offices and on school grounds to highlight recent court decisions on the police shootings of young black men. They are also distributing “Black Lives Matter” lesson plans and resources to teachers in every grade level at the nearly 20 district sites.

Article Representational Elections

“Unsung heroes” of schoolyard organize

Sixty unsung heroes flexed their union muscle and joined the Lawndale Federation of Classified Employees.

Noon duty supervisors serve as at-will employees and work only a few hours a day at the district’s six elementary and two middle schools, but the final straw, according to Local President Carl Williams, was not getting a 4 percent raise that faculty and classified received.

California Teacher Representational Elections

West Valley-Mission faculty choose AFT/CFT as their union
Independent association affiliates, brings 750 teachers better union representation

Citing disrespect by their district and low pay as motivation, more than 90 percent of faculty at the West Valley-Mission Community College District casting ballots in the November 19 representational election chose to affiliate their previously independent union with AFT/CFT.

California Teacher Part-time faculty Representational Elections

French language school staffs choose AFT as their union

Workers at three Bay Area private schools gain a stronger voice in the workplace

When math teacher Cheryl LaBrecque joined the staff of the French American International School in San Francisco in 1999, the preK-12 school was small and “things worked better.” Staff members “had a closer relationship with administration,” she says. Since then, it has become “more corporate, more top-down, more about money.”

Article AFT

Small AFT locals get big attention from new task force

By the Numbers | AFT local unions
3,370
 Number of locals chartered by the AFT
3,019: Locals with fewer than 600 members (90 percent)
1,819: Locals with fewer than 100 members (54 percent)

One in four of AFT’s 1.56 million members belong to a small local, and 90 percent of AFT local unions are considered small, defined as having fewer than 600 members.

While belonging to a small local can foster a sense of teamwork, small locals often come up short of the resources, training and volunteers to effectively represent members, according to a new AFT task force.

California Teacher Lecturers Librarians

UCLA professor leads mobilization of lecturers and librarians
Statewide campaign builds on established strength in campus locals

Goetz Wolff has taught at UCLA for more than 20 years, but was generally more involved with Southern California’s vibrant labor movement than with the union on his job. Wolff, for example, earned high praise for his six years as research director at the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, but barely knew the ins and outs of the University Council-AFT.

More part-timers choose AFT/CFT as their union

Faculty teaching non-credit courses at both Citrus College and the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Colleges have chosen AFT as their union. Non-credit hourly part-time faculty at Citrus and continuing education part-time faculty at Grossmont-Cuyamaca had been paid significantly less than their colleagues teaching for-credit courses.

Now the faculty have union representation, are on salary schedules with opportunities for schedule advancement, and can accrue sick leave.

Mark James Miller: Meet one of the hardest working organizers of part-timers

English instructor and president of the Part-Time Faculty Association of Allan Hancock College Mark James Miller says that one of the accomplishments of which he is most proud is “getting administrators to recognize how important part-time faculty are. Part-time faculty used to be invisible to them, or seen as just interchangeable parts. That’s not the case anymore.” 

California Teacher Retiree chapters

Union establishes Retiree Organizing Committee to build new chapters

The CFT has established the Retiree Organizing Committee to help local unions take advantage of the experience, skills and commitment of retired union members.

The goal of this new standing committee is to organize AFT retiree chapters around the state so that retirees may continue to contribute to their unions — and have opportunities to connect with former colleagues.