The CFT offers a full schedule of topnotch online trainings and
in-person trainings on a variety of topics. Our webinars are
provided through Zoom videoconferencing and last about 90
minutes. You may find course descriptions below.
AFT Member Benefits
Member benefits can be a useful tool to engage members. Get
informed about the benefits available to members through AFT that
add value to being a union member. Learn about some of the new
benefits available this year, including discount programs and
identity theft protection, and get answers to your questions
about the variety of programs offered by AFT.
All Politics is Local: Lobbying Legislators and other Elected
Officials at Home
To many of our members, Sacramento seems far away and we only
engage with our elected representatives around elections. But
there is great value to building relationships with local
representatives through our union worksites, and many
opportunities to engage them at home throughout the year. Join
our legislative staff to learn how to build your political
engagement locally. We’ll cover the best ways to develop and
maintain local relationships, including successful member
lobbying visits with your representatives. Strengthening these
local relationships can play an important role in your local
initiatives and statewide CFT campaigns.
Building Worksite Structures that Work in Higher Education
Powerful unions require strong leadership structures that are
broad and deep enough to engage our entire membership at the
worksite. A union with distributed leadership can keep members
informed, better handle worksite problems, and provide a
foundation for major campaigns. How do we build such a structure,
and how do we identify and recruit new leaders? Learn from our
organizers and other local leaders how to build strong site
leadership on your campuses, and what resources CFT can offer to
COPE 101 – Do’s and Don’ts for Political Engagement
Learn best practices to set up and run a local COPE (Committee on
Political Education) program, with our recommended best
practices to fund candidate campaigns and voter initiatives.
You’ll come away with important tips to avoid common pitfalls and
make sure your local’s political program keeps everything legal.
Compliance with Union Legal and Constitutional Requirements
Learn how to keep your union operations legal, and consistent
with important requirements of the AFT and CFT Constitutions.
There are layers of requirements concerning representation,
negotiations, officer elections, and convention representation
that derive from both the law and our parent unions. Ensure your
local practices are consistent with these requirements to avoid
potential problems that could divert precious time, energy, and
money away from your local priorities.
Crash Course for New Presidents
This five-session course is designed for local presidents elected
within the last two years, and those wanting a refresher
course. We will cover the basic knowledge you need as an
AFT Local President, provide participatory training on useful
leadership skills, and allow you to share best practices and
challenges leader to leader.
Session 1: How AFT, CFT, and your local union
function together, what resources are available to help in your
work, what opportunities exist to participate in union governance
bodies and events. And the vital signs of effective unions.
Session 2: How to organize members to make your
local union stronger and more effective.
Session 3: Best practices in communicating with
your members and the public. How to identify, recruit and develop
other union leaders.
Session 4: How to plan and run effective
Session 5: The legal requirements of running
unions that every officer should know, including the Duty of Fair
Representation, membership status changes, record retention, and
Digital Communications: Action Network, Hustle, and E-Forms
Member engagement and communication are central to a strong
union, and have gradually shifted increasingly to digital forms.
AFT and CFT support many tools and platforms for digital
communication and engagement that enhance our work, and are
available to all AFT locals. Learn how our locals are using
Action Network, Hustle, and electronic membership forms to engage
their members and improve their communication programs. Find out
which tools best fit your needs, and how to get additional
support to implement them in your own local union.
Legal Update: Duty of Fair Representation and Maintenance of
Get an important update on best practices to uphold the Duty of
Fair Representation (DFR) and maintain your membership. Refresh
your understanding of the DFR legal requirement to provide equal
representation to both members and non-members of your local
union. What are current legal challenges to these requirements,
and what practices are recommended to steer clear of them? Learn
about any new legal challenges to these practices that might
suggest changes to your local union’s current practices.
Understand the latest challenges to union requirements to “opt
out” of membership, and learn the best practices recommended to
handle such requests. In addition to providing the latest news on
these legal developments, we’ll provide time for discussion and
some Q&A with our chief counsel.
Legal Update: Parental Leaves for Education Workers
Members frequently ask how to prepare for childbirth or adoption,
and which laws and programs provide benefits. Are school
employees entitled to the leave and pay provisions of FMLA and
CFRA? How do members know if they’re eligible for disability
benefits, and under which plans? What are my rights to
child-bonding leave? What benefits are common in union contracts,
and how do members coordinate all of these benefits with the
employer? Join one of our attorneys to find out how it all works
and provide the answers your members need.
Local Union Plans That Get Results
Planning involves more than making a list and checking off boxes.
A good plan establishes vision and direction, democratizes our
knowledge, focuses resources, and keeps us on track to our goals.
Our best work emerges from proactive planning instead of reactive
responses. Improve your understanding and skill in creating solid
plans for your local, from individual meetings to extended
Making the Most of Site Meetings
The increasingly busy lives of our members often make it
difficult for them to attend union membership meetings. But there
are lots of ways to bring the union meetings directly to our
members’ worksite! From informal union coffee breaks to
formal standing worksite meetings, meeting members where they
work can be a valuable way to build visibility and increase
member participation. Learn how our locals have successfully
brought the union to their members, and how to plan your own
meetings to be successful.
Member-to-Member Outreach Drives
Member-to-member outreach drives have become a necessity for many
of our local unions today. Successful outreach programs increase
membership, build visibility, and identify new leaders, and
activate member participation. They are a critical component of a
local union program in worksites lacking a robust new employee
orientation program, and when turnover is high. Learn what’s
required to run a successful outreach drive, and hear from local
leaders who have used them to build stronger local unions.
Understanding and Negotiating Health Benefit Plans
Negotiating health benefits consumes tremendous time and energy,
and much of the ‘negotiations’ happens away from the bargaining
table between districts, brokers and providers. Learn the
different ways that medical benefit plans are structured and
priced so you can play a more active role in shaping the benefit
packages in your own district. You may become better informed
than your employers about the best options to minimize costs
while maximizing benefits.
Understanding California’s State Budget
Everyone knows that our schools and colleges are underfunded and
lack the resources students need. But how well do we understand
the way schools are funded in the first place? Join our CFT
Research Director to learn how education is funded through
California’s budget process, and the role CFT and our members
play to advocate for better funding for our schools and
Winning New Members from the Start: New Hire Orientations
Our experience since the Janus decision highlights the importance
of a well-executed new hire orientation program. Good
relationships forged at the beginning of employment between the
union and new employees are stronger and tend to persist over
time. The most successful union orientations are those that
utilize a team, a well-prepared presentation, good materials, and
advance preparation. The good news is that every local union is
capable of such a program! Utilizing our collective experience
and stories from successful local unions, we’ll provide
everything you need to be successful signing up new employees
from their first day on the job.
Bargaining Strategies and Layoff Preparations for 2020-21
With the announcement of a severe state budget shortfall as
a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are facing the imminent
possibility of significant cuts across every sector of public
education in California. We want to offer you the best possible
guidance for contract negotiations through 2020-21, and help you
become fully prepared for the discussions about layoffs that are
already happening in some districts.
This training will provide specific and detailed information to
prepare you for the immediate steps needed to protect members’
jobs and safeguard your contracts to the best of your ability.
Our trainings are tailored for specific concerns among classified
staff, community college faculty, and certificated K-12
Conducting Local Union Officer Elections During the COVID-19
Many local unions are trying to figure out how to conduct local
officer and AFT delegate elections during the current pandemic
and “shelter in place” orders — while also complying with local
constitutions & bylaws and federal union election laws. We will
offer guidance and recommendations from the AFT and CFT, and help
you figure out the best way to implement these practices in your
local union. This training will feature CFT General
Counsel Glenn Rothner.
Engaging and Supporting Our Members in a Crisis
Communicating with our members has never been more important.
Members need to receive critical information about health,
safety, and employment, and they need to know that the union is
here to support them. Local unions are now engaging members in
new ways, including Hustle text messaging, email systems, online
meeting platforms, tele-town halls, and more. Some locals
are going beyond simple engagement to develop programs to support
members who may be at-risk or more vulnerable in the current
crisis. Learn about the variety of tools available to
communicate with members and tips for effective
communication. You’ll also hear what some local unions are
doing to provide real and meaningful support for vulnerable
members of our unions and communities
Finding Relief from Student Debt
Is student debt still weighing you down in the current crisis?
There may be a way to find relief! Recent federal legislation
provides some relief from your student burden, at least on a
temporary basis. And if you work for a public institution
or for a nonprofit, you may already qualify for public service
loan forgiveness. Learn what’s changed to relieve the student
debt burden during the current pandemic. We’ll also share
how to qualify for loan forgiveness, how to make your payments
manageable, and how we can work together to address the student
debt crisis in California.
Treasurer Roundtable: Keeping the Union Running During the
Using results from a recent survey, in this informal discussion
we’ll talk about the administrative and financial challenges
to running your local unions during the pandemic. This training
is limited to local union treasurers and presidents, or their
Unemployment & Underemployment During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Are you losing your job (or losing hours) as a result of the
current pandemic? Is someone in your household unemployed or
underemployed? In many cases, you may be eligible for benefits
you’re not aware of. Unemployment benefits have been
significantly expanded as a result of the CARES Act and other
recent laws, and we’ll cover important changes members need to
This workshop will also demystify the process of applying for
unemployment benefits. Learn about requirements of the Employment
Development Department (EDD) and the step-by-step process when
applying for benefits. This workshop will benefit anyone facing
reduced, cancelled, or unscheduled work in the present and near
future, and those whose households include people experiencing
loss of work.
Presidents: How to Run an Effective Local Union
This course covers the basic knowledge you need as an AFT Local
President, provides participatory training on useful leadership
skills, and allows you to share best practices and challenges
leader-to-leader. This training is designed for local
presidents elected within the last two years and those
wanting a refresher course.
Treasurers: Financial Stewardship for a Strong Local Union
This comprehensive training will put you at ease and
provide you practical tools to effectively carry out your role
and responsibilities as a local union treasurer. Using a hands-on
format, accounting experts share examples of best practices
essential in union administration. The course is designed
for new or experienced AFT Local Union Treasurers whose
responsibilities include maintaining union’s financial records
Running for Public Office: Candidate Training
We need our voices represented in public office! Are you
interested in running for office? Is your local planning to
run a candidate? Learn how to identify and recruit candidates,
create personal stories that resonate, and raise the necessary
funds to elect our members and advocates into office.
Site Reps & Stewards: Resolving Workplace Issues
Achieving good resolutions
to on-the-job issues is an important
way that the union brings fairness and the voice of educators to
the workplace. In this introductory course for union stewards and
site representatives we discuss strategies, best practices, and
skills to address on-the-job issues so that our classrooms,
campuses, school buses, offices, and school grounds are better
places for our members to work and our students to learn. We look
at a variety of tools including basic grievance handling,
organizing, and member outreach.
Train-the-Trainer: Worksite Leaders
Participants will leave this Train-the-Trainer prepared to teach
the CFT Worksite Leaders Training Program for new union site
reps, building reps, and stewards. The training that participants
will deliver covers a range of introductory topics including
legal rights, basic grievance handling, role of worksite leaders,
member outreach, and tools to address worksite issues and
contract violations. This is a great course for local unions that
aim to strengthen representational programs and expand
Train-the-Trainer: Political Organizing
Elections are critical for public education unions and workers’
rights. Local governing board seats may be open and significant
statewide races may be in play. This curriculum will provide
local union leaders and staff with materials for political
action workshops at union meetings and key information to
ensure a win at the ballot box.