Topic: Standing Together

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

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. 

California Teacher CFT Convention Proposition 30

CFT President Joshua Pechthalt honored with Ben Rust Award

AFT Local 2121 member and former CFT Communications Director Fred Glass presented retiring CFT President Joshua Pechthalt with the CFT’s highest honor, the Ben Rust Award. Glass called Pechthalt, who was AFT vice president of United Teachers Los Angeles before being elected CFT president in 2011, an organizer, a trade unionist, and a fighter for social justice like Rust.

California Teacher CFT Convention

In unflinching terms, Nancy MacLean spells out the right-wing attack on America
Rebuilding union power is key – AFT West Virginia and UTLA are doing just that

WATCH THE VIDEO: Nancy MacLean

WATCH THE VIDEO: Aryana Fields performs “Strike Song”

When future historians look back on this period, Donald Trump and his presidency will be seen as a sideshow while a slow attempted takeover of our core branches of government is underway.

Article Strike Labor Solidarity

Horns & Warm Kleenex: A personal view of the Oakland teachers’ strike

FIRST PERSON | By Katharine Harer

I joined the picket lines in Oakland on three different mornings. On the first day of the strike, teachers brought a boom box and we danced and sang on the line. Another day, at a different school, a parent brought a folding table and fed us tangerines, string cheese, mountains of cinnamon and chocolate croissants and hot coffee.

California Teacher Strike Local Action

Teachers never walk alone when they have union brothers and sisters
Six Days That Shook Los Angeles – Part 6, Conclusion

UTLA’s fight to save public education resonated far and wide. Messages of solidarity and selfies of fist-pumping teachers poured in from Kentucky to Canada. Union locals across Los Angeles set up support networks for more than 200 LAUSD schools. For Writers Guild members, joining teachers on picket lines was an opportunity to pay back their mentors.

California Teacher Strike Local Action

The power of parents: A new generation shows its commitment to local schools
Six Days That Shook Los Angeles - Part 5

United Teachers Los Angeles has fought for nearly 50 years to give parents a greater voice in how their children’s schools are run. In recent years, UTLA stepped up its outreach by hiring community organizers, building coalitions, and working with supporters in changing neighborhoods.

Those efforts bore fruit in January, when thousands of parents joined teachers on picket lines across the 700-square-mile school district to fight for “the schools our students deserve.”

California Teacher Strike Local Action

The UTLA strike was personal for Josh Pechthalt
Six Days That Shook Los Angeles - Part 4

Manual Arts High School has a proud 109-year history. Alumni include painter Jackson Pollock, actor Paul Winfield, and tennis champion Richard “Pancho” Gonzalez. Former teacher Josh Pechthalt was shaped by – and has helped to reshape – the South L.A. fixture.

CFT President Josh Pechthalt was a student at Fairfax High in 1970, when United Teachers Los Angeles struck for nearly a month. He later taught social studies at Manual Arts High School for more than 20 years, and was on the front lines in 1989, when UTLA struck a second time. 

California Teacher Strike Local Action

UTLA retirees link “Class of 2019” to 1989 and 1970 walkouts
Six Days That Shook Los Angeles - Part 3

During the strike, hundreds of retired L.A. teachers returned to their former schools to continue the fight for public education. One veteran of the two previous strikes said back then UTLA was up against an intransigent district, but didn’t have to face billionaires and unrestrained charter school growth.

UTLA-Retired is now mobilizing all its 4,300 members for the special election in March to fill a key seat on the LAUSD school board and tilt the balance away from a pro-charter majority.

California Teacher Strike Charter schools Local Action

Charter schools cost L.A. Unified nearly $600 million per year, board votes for moratorium
Six Days That Shook Los Angeles - Part 2

Eight days after the six-day strike had ramped up public pressure, the Los Angeles Unified school board passed a groundbreaking resolution calling for a moratorium on new charters in the district until Sacramento completes a study of how their unchecked expansion has affected traditional schools. The district also made a significant investment in local community schools.

Article Labor Solidarity

We need you… to become a Unionist

Editor’s note: What follows is a condensed version of an inspired presentation from the CFT’s annual Classified Conference.

My name is Carl Williams and I am southern vice president of the CFT Council of Classified Employees, a CFT vice president, proud president of the Lawndale Federation of Classified Employees, a father, a husband… and a Unionist. Now don’t get me wrong, I have not always been a Unionist… the transition from union member is not instantaneous.