Topic: Standing Together

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. 

Article Janus v. AFSCME Janus

Supreme Court’s Janus decision barely ripples through classified locals

No one was surprised when the Janus decision from the U.S. Supreme Court came down over the summer. In the months since then, however, locals across California have defied predictions of a mass exodus of dues-paying members. In fact, after two years of recruiting new employees and convincing agency fee payers to join, union ranks are growing.

Article Part-time faculty Janus Union Fair Share

Part-timers are still sticking with their union

On June 27, the storm clouds were gathering. The Janus v. ASFCME decision had just come down from the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling, overturning 40 years of legal precedent and marking the abrupt end of union fair share, or agency fee, for public employees.

Now non-union members who benefit from the hard work of unions who still represent them at the bargaining table would no longer be required to pay their fair share.

California Teacher Janus
Theresa Alvarado Quainoo, an academic department assistant and member of the Palomar Council of Classified Employees, has committed to working with her colleagues to strengthen the union as the attacks come.

CFT members step up to the plate following Janus v. AFSCME decision

On June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned decades of precedent and eliminated the right of public sector unions to collect fair share, or agency fees, from non-members.

The justices ruled 5-4 in favor of Mark Janus, an Illinois fee payer, in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, overturning the 1977 precedent established in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. Those backing the case clearly hoped the decision would cripple union operations, but with so much at stake for educators and public education, CFT members have not only chosen to stay united but have gained in strength as a result.

Article Labor Solidarity By Jim Miller

Lessons for Labor Day 2018: Solidarity works!

It has been the worst of times and the best of times for the American Labor Movement in 2018.

Economic inequality has continued to spiral out of control as policy coming out of Washington, D.C. designed to tilt the scales in favor of the rich and corporations weakened the rights of working Americans at every turn. At the Supreme Court level, anti-labor justices joined the assault against labor and undermined public sector unions’ rights to collect dues. This, combined with a tax bill that radically redistributed wealth upward and paved the way for new austerity measures aimed at gutting Social Security and Medicare, had some pundits sounding the death knell for unions and the legacy of the New Deal.

Article Rank & Files

Lavalais named San Francisco Paraeducator of the Year

The mayor of San Francisco recently recognized 10 public school educators for their dedication and professionalism. Honorees were selected based on their ability to promote innovative learning, accountability, and equity and access in the classroom and school site.

The 2018 awards included the mayor’s first-ever Paraeducator of the Year. Mary Lavalais attended City College and earned a bachelor’s degree in social work and a graduate degree in marriage, family, and child counseling at San Francisco State University.

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 Scholarships Member Benefits Local Action

3,000 reasons to appreciate her union

Monica Marlatt, a career development specialist for Santa Cruz city schools, has good cause to appreciate her membership in AFT Local 6084, the Santa Cruz Council of Classified Employees.

Marlatt’s daughter, Madeline, is studying nursing at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. Books and nursing fees alone totaled $900 last semester, but help is on the way. This summer the CFT awarded Madeline, and eight more continuing college students, a Raoul Teilhet Scholarship for $3,000.

Article Classified School Employees Week

Celebrate our week! May 21-27 is Classified School Employee Week

The work of classified employees is easily overlooked, but your behind-the-scenes work matters every day to the success of our schools and colleges. Join us in celebrating Classified School Employees Week on May 21-27 in 2017 — it’s our week to celebrate us.

The Council of Classified Employees has created tools you can use. Use the poster and graphics in your workplace and on social media. Let’s get out the word — classified employees and paraprofessionals are helping California students succeed every day!

Make Classified School Employee Week Meaningful

By Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President

Schools can be amazing places. Institutions that focus on the education and nurturing of young people have a special place in our society. While the interaction of students with their teacher is obviously an essential part of the educational process, it really does take a community of people to make learning possible and schools successful.