Topic: Standing Together

“Let’s have our voices count!” urge CFT Black leaders
Avalanche of protests call for racial justice following murder of George Floyd

For days, hundreds of thousands of people have filled the streets of 160 cities across the country, even during the coronavirus pandemic, expressing their outrage and grief at the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Two Black leaders of the CFT, with long histories of fighting for racial equity, say they could not help being profoundly moved by the murder itself, and the outpouring of rage in response.

Now – yes, now – is the time for contingent faculty to organize
If we don’t fight now, we may not get another chance

By Josh Brahinsky and Roxi Power, UC-AFT Santa Cruz

When graduate-student workers at the University of California at Santa Cruz voted overwhelmingly in December to reject their statewide union contract and follow the West Virginia teachers’ model of a wildcat strike, the precarious lives of academic workers became a news story once again.

Article Retiree chapters Coronavirus

Tips for seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic
How one retiree chapter is supporting seniors during stay at home

By Susan Morgan, President, AFT Local 1931 Retiree Chapter

As a retiree chapter, one of our current challenges is to find new ways to stay connected, be supportive, and sustain our esprit de corps. The current pandemic has increased challenges for retirees, many of whom were already dealing with the social challenges of isolation and loneliness. These newly heightened mental health concerns are real, and our task is to find meaningful ways to connect with our members to support our common union values and goals.

Article Coronavirus Retiree chapters

Being retired in the time of Covid-19

By Dennis Cox, Southern Vice President, Council of Retired Members

AFT retirees have contributed so much to American education, and are in line for well-deserved gratitude from their students, colleagues and communities. You warrant a heartfelt thanks for what you have done, and for staying home and keeping yourselves safe during this outbreak. You are extremely valuable citizens. So, thank you to all who have served, and are now staying safely sheltered in your homes! Please continue to do all you can to stay safe.

The CFT campaign to Fund our Future

By Jeffery M. Freitas, CFT President

In 2011, the CFT worked with community partners to lead the charge for a Millionaires Tax that eventually turned into Prop 30 and was then extended by Prop 55. Those funds helped stop the bleeding in K-14 education following the recession and drastic funding cuts of the mid-2000s.

Now, however, there are pressures throughout our school districts and community colleges that are preventing CFT members from getting the pay, benefits, program funding, and staffing levels our schools, colleges, and communities desperately need.

Article Lecturers

Thousands of UC lecturers mobilize for job rights, fair salaries
Academic and blue collar workforce fight back against university’s substandard pay

When Josh Brahinsky isn’t teaching “Academic Literacy and Ethos” and “Brain, Mind, and Consciousness” classes to new students at UC Santa Cruz, the lecturer is researching bio-cultural anthropology at Stanford University, teaching at San Jose State, or leading online classes at Bucks County Community College in Pennsylvania.

“UC only pays me $19,900 yearly,” Brahinsky said. “That’s not enough to live on, so I have to make up the difference somewhere else.”

Article

Nominate your classified colleagues for national and state recognition
AFT helps in creation of new national RISE award

“Recognizing the work we do has been a long time coming,” said Carl Williams, president of the CFT Council of Classified Employees.

The “unsung heroes” of education have continued to enjoy new levels of respect since California first proclaimed Classified School Employee Week in 1969. This year’s weeklong celebration will be from May 17 to 23, but staff and paraeducators may also be recognized through a series of national, state and local awards.

Article Lecturers

Telling, Not Being the Joke
A personal essay by Andrew Tonkovich

Q: Tell me, how long have you been working here?

A: Ever since they threatened to fire me.

That old cornball joke still makes me laugh, 50 years after I read it in a kids magazine. I understood it then as honest if everyday acknowledgement by the presumably once-lazy worker of his or her required acquiescence to power, and of isolation. But its splendid trick syntax and on-the-nose calling out of the coercive relationship of management to labor suggested more, even to a 10-year-old: cognizance of at least the potential inherent power of the worker — all workers? — to apprehend, to subvert, to jest, however fatalistically, cynically or — my own favorite — insubordinately.

Article Union communications

New CFT website wins top national awards
CFT wins 16 labor media awards

This was another excellent year for the CFT in the labor media contest sponsored by the International Labor Communications Association, with the union winning 16 awards, including top honors for the new website.

With the union’s switch to digital communications, the CFT’s focus switched to developing a modern and robust mobile-friendly website with digital storytelling capability and strong member outreach capacity. 

Article Part-time faculty Labor Solidarity

Part-timer takes the helm at State Center Federation of Teachers

One of the great powers of a union is its ability to uplift the living conditions and status of its members, not just at the bargaining table, but within the structure of the union itself — when the seemingly most marginalized members assume leadership roles.

In local unions representing all faculty, there has been a recent trend of the membership electing a part-time faculty member to lead the union, with significant support from the full-timers. There is perhaps no better example of this, though he might be reluctant himself to say so, than Keith Ford.

Article Part-time faculty

What I learned in my research of the “Involuntary Adjunct”

By Bobbi-Lee Smart, Cerritos Faculty Federation

My dissertation research focused on the perceptions of the impact of adjuncts on community college campuses in Southern California. I specifically wanted to understand the reality of involuntary adjuncts — those whose who want full-time tenure track jobs, couldn’t get a position, so worked as “full-time” adjuncts (those whose adjunct work is the majority or entirety of their income).

The key findings of my research and interviews follow.

Article Up Front Civil Rights

Union work is social justice work

By Jeffery M. Freitas, CFT President

When I was elected CFT President in March, I said in my speech to Convention delegates: “I believe that when we fight for education, we also fight for social justice, racial justice, gender equality, LGBTQ rights, and climate justice.”

To be a social justice union, we must not only consider the complex lives of our members and the challenges they face, but look beyond the doors of the schoolhouse to consider the ways our campus communities intersect with our larger communities. When we fight for labor, we must fight for our communities, too.

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 Labor Solidarity

Unions weather the storm and look to build a brighter future
Happy 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.