Page 1


CaliforniaTeacher C A L I F O R N I A F E D E R AT I O N O F T E A C H

April b May 2011 Volume 64, Number 4 


The Spirit of Wisconsin CFT takes a stand

CFT members say ‘We Are One’

Pechthalt elected CFT President

Faculty pair up for success

California workers join in solidarity PAGE 5

Freitas is new Secretary Treasurer PAGE 6

Mentor program builds community PAGE 8


In this issue


All-Union News 3 CFT Convention 4 Mentor program 8 Around CFT 11

Pre-K/K-12 Classified Community College University

12 13 14 15

  Marty Hittelman, CFT President

You have the power you assume. Exert your power. And persevere.

This leadership team will continue the CFT tradition of providing strong and principled support for members, and the students we serve.

Joshua Pechthalt President Elect

Jeff Freitas Secretary Treasurer Ele ct


ON THE COVER Delegates to CFT Convention rose to their feet in solidarity with AFT-Wisconsin President Bryan Kennedy. Shown, left to right, are members of the ABC Federation of Teachers: Jennifer Flores, Pam Jones, Steve Harris, Gayle Pekrul, and Laura Rico. PHOTOS BY SHARON BEALS

AS I END TWO TERMS as CFT president, I look back on four very difficult years for education in California — and the end of bad times is not yet in sight. We continue to see more teacher and classified layoffs, increased class sizes, increased fees for college students, reduction of vital public services, and continued erosion of California’s future. We must continue to do all that we can to reverse this erosion — and we will. Your participation in the Week of Action focused more public attention on the dire situation. Passage of Proposition 25 will help, but we need to conclude that chapter by passing a ballot proposition that will allow the Legislature to approve taxes by majority vote. We need to find ways to increase state revenues through a combination of higher tax rates for the wealthiest 1 percent (for now, those making more than $500,000 per year), an oil depletion tax, a tax on services, and a change in Proposition 13 property tax laws, so large corporate properties are reassessed on a regular basis. California is a rich state and we should be able to afford the services that are the responsibility of a civilized nation.

The California Federation of Teachers is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. The CFT represents faculty and classified workers in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education. The CFT is committed to raising the standards of the profession and to securing the conditions essential to provide the best service to California’s students. PRESIDENT Marty Hittelman PRESIDENT ELECT Joshua Pechthalt SECRETARY-TREASURER Dennis Smith SECRETARY-TREASURER ELECT Jeff Freitas SENIOR VICE-PRESIDENT Mary Alice Callahan EXECUTIVE COUNCIL Lacy Barnes, Velma Butler, Cathy Campbell, Robert Chacanaca, Kimberly Claytor, Melinda Dart, Betty Forrester, Carl Friedlander, Miki Goral, Carolyn Ishida, Dennis Kelly, Jim Mahler, Elaine Merriweather, Alisa Messer, David Mielke, Dean Murakami, Gary Ravani, Laura Rico, Francisco Rodriguez, Jim Rose, Sam Russo, Bob Samuels, Joanne Waddell, Julie Washington, Carl Williams, Kent Wong, David Yancey


C A L I F O R N I A T E A C H E R A P R I L / M AY 2 0 11

We must not allow administrators and others to treat us like “tall children.” As we improve our working conditions, we improve the learning conditions of our students. We must not let others be allowed to claim that we do not advocate for our students. We must devote our working lives to the students we serve by embracing our responsibility to do the best job we can given the conditions in which we work. We must not allow the pressures of everyday life to erode our ability to negotiate collective bargaining agreements that support and protect workers so that we can live dignified and productive professional lives. Delegates to our annual CFT Convention were united in their determination to fight back against the continuing attacks on public employees and our unions. Speakers called for solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Florida, and numerous other states. Time after time, delegates rose to their feet upon hearing AFT-Wisconsin President Bryan Kennedy’s words of determination as he recounted the story of anti-union actions taken by the Wisconsin governor and Legislature, and the collective efforts to

reverse them. Delegates also expressed solidarity in a tangible form by giving individual contributions to AFTWisconsin. (Our 24-member CFT staff union later contributed $5,000 to AFT-Wisconsin.) Delegates elected new officers of the Federation. Joshua Pechthalt will lead CFT as president in the coming two years, along with Jeff Freitas who was elected secretary treasurer. A slate of 24 vice presidents was elected and will represent the diverse interests of CFT members. Division council presidents Carl Friedlander, Velma Butler, and Gary Ravani were reelected for two more years. This leadership team will continue the CFT tradition of providing strong and principled support for members, and the students we serve. One thing I have learned in my more than 40 years in education and union work is that you have the power you assume. Exert your power. Embrace your professional responsibility to speak and act up. And persevere.

CaliforniaTeacher (ISSN 0410-3556) is published

Direct letters or other editorial submissions to the editor. Letters must not exceed 200 words and must include your name, address, and phone number. Letters will be edited for clarity and length.

four times a year in September/October, November/ December, February/March and April/May by the California Federation of Teachers, 2550 N. Hollywood Way, Suite 400, Burbank, CA 91505, and mailed to all CFT members and agency fee payers. Annual subscription price: $3 (included in membership dues). For others: $10 per year. Periodicals postage paid at Burbank and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address corrections to California Teacher, 2550 N. Hollywood Way, Suite 400, Burbank, CA 91505. California Teacher, a member of the International Labor Communications Association and the AFT Communicators Network, is printed by union workers at Pacific Standard Press in Sacramento using soy-based inks. The paper is Forest Stewardship Council-certified and contains 10 percent post-consumer recycled content. ®

EDITORIAL OFFICE California Federation of Teachers, 1201 Marina Village Pkwy., Suite 115, Alameda, California 94501 Telephone 510-523-5238 Fax 510-523-5262 Email Editor Jane Hundertmark Contributors this issue: Mirella Burton, Velma Butler, Megan Dias, Carl Friedlander, Fred Glass, Marty Hittelman, Lance Howland, Bryan Kennedy, Ron Levesque, Amber McCall, Josh Pechthalt, Monica Peck, Mindy Pines, Richard Requa, Bob Samuels, Laura Sanchez, Malcolm Terence, Khalid White, Sharon Youngblood Graphic Design Kajun Design, Graphic Artists Guild

977-M IBT 853

Cert no. SW-COC-001530


FRONT OF CARD [ART: Sharon portrait or teaching pic,

Soquel High teachers took part in solidarity events.

around the union…

All-Union News CFT-sponsored poll finds strong support for taxing the rich Voters respond positively when presented with alternative to slashing public services MINDY PINES

WITH SOLUTIONS TO the state’s a new understanding in Sacramento $26.6 billion budget deficit in short and a new direction to channel voter supply, a recent poll of 800 likely Calianger and frustrations with the econfornia voters sponsored by the CFT omy. Republican legislators should be suggests a way forward. informed that their base constituents When asked if they would support support the “1% on 1%” bill. an additional 1 percent tax on the 1 percent of residents earning more than THE CFT ALSO POLLED on cur$500,000 a year, called the “1% on 1%” rent attitudes of the voting public tax, a whopping 78 percent said “Yes.” toward public employees. There is Such a tax would raise an estimated good news here, too. $2.5 billion a year. Democrats polled Fifty-six percent have a modestly at a near-unanimous 89 percent in favorable image of public employees, favor, normally tax-averse Republicans 13 percent are unfavorable, and 30 showed 60 percent in support, and 79 percent are undecided. Support for percent of those not in either party public employee collective bargaining were favorable to the idea. runs from 61 percent to 32 percent. The telephone opinion poll, run in When asked whether they sided March by San Francisco-based pollwith Wisconsin Governor Scott ster Ben Tulchin and paid for by the Walker or the Wisconsin public CFT, looked at two issues: first, how employees: 56 percent sided with to pay for public services, second, to public employees and 37 percent the determine voter perceptions about governor. public employees in the wake of events These poll results should encourin Wisconsin and other midwestern age CFT members worried about the A CFT-sponsored poll showed that 78 percent of likely voters favor higher taxes for the wealthy. states where Republican governors future of public education. If educatime, and the Legislature needs a two- contacting legislators and telling them and Legislatures are attacking public tors take these numbers to their logithe wealthiest Californians need to pay cal conclusion, then action in the real thirds vote to pass a tax. employee rights. AB 1130 and the CFT poll results do their fair share of taxes, rather than Those polled demonstrated a world will make these ideas reality. continue to see colleges and schools provide an opportunity to talk about strong understanding — better than — By Fred Glass, CFT Communications Director deteriorate. CFT members can create reasonable state budget solutions. By a two to one margin — that wealthy residents and big corporations have gotten richer in recent years while 1% middle and working class people on 1% have struggled. There is an equally AT PRESS TIME, CFT members were involved in actions across the state as part of the strong sense that the wealthy don’t CFT Week of Action May 9-13. The actions focused, in part, on two alternative ways to raise pay their fair share in taxes to support public services. needed revenue for the state. Likely voters also thought it would Pass the “tax extensions” Prevent the unnecessary expiration of taxes be a good idea to close business tax How to solve the loopholes, reassess large commercial budget puzzle that Californians are already paying and the $8.5 billion in revenue that would be lost annually from this expiration. properties at current market value (“split roll”), and levy a 10 percent Restore higher taxes for wealthiest Californians The wealthiest 1 perseverance tax on oil. California is the cent of Californians pay less in taxes now than they did in the mid-1990s. only oil-producing state that has no AB 1130 would tax those who make more than $500,000 an additional severance tax. 1 percent. This single change would bring in $2.5 billion annually. Assemblywoman Nancy SkinS ner, D-Berkeley, floated the “1% on N NSIO EXTE 1%” idea by introducing AB 1130 >>> Send a card of support to your state legislators and ask them to TAX in the Legislature. Passage of the support these actions. Go to to download a card. bill is unlikely though, because no Republican will vote for any tax, any

A P R I L / M AY 2 0 11 C A L I F O R N I A T E A C H E R






Bryan Kennedy tells dramatic story of fightback against governor’s attempt to end collective bargaining for public employees

Excerpted from the speech of AFT-Wisconsin President Bryan Kennedy


Are you fired up?

I’m Bryan Kennedy, the president of AFT-Wisconsin. When it comes to the labor movement in Wisconsin, we are on fire! Republican Gov. Scott Walker ignited a firestorm when he made one of his first acts in office a proposal to end public sector collective bargaining in the state. And now he can’t seem to put the fire out. On November 2, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker edged Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in the closest governor’s election in Wisconsin in 90 years. On November 3, I called the governor-elect to congratulate him. I left a friendly message and said that I looked forward to sitting down with him soon. I left him my cell phone number. Today is March 20, 4½ months later, and I’m still waiting for that call to be returned. AFT-Wisconsin represents more than 17,000 workers, 10,000 of them white-collar workers in state agencies. Walker made public remarks during his campaign about public employees being the “haves” while private sec-



C A L I F O R N I A T E A C H E R A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 1

tor workers were the “have-nots.” We were prepared for tough bargaining and to fight privatization. By Thanksgiving, most of our bargaining units were finalizing negotiations and their contracts would be ready for legislative approval before the new governor and Legislature took office. Walker said he did not want our contracts approved; he thought we were up to sneaky tricks. I went on TV and said that these contracts were austere. They contained no salary increases for the two years, and actually had a 3 percent pay cut because we accepted 16 furlough days. We had increased our contributions to both retirement and health insurance…but we were willing to sit down and talk. In mid-December the Legislature held a special session and voted on the contracts. Walker convinced a couple of Democratic senators to vote against the contracts. After the contracts failed in the Senate, I went on TV again to say that our folks were fully prepared to return to the bargaining table after the holidays. In January, the Legislature passed $130 million in tax cuts for the wealthy and for corporations, and then the governor complained that the state was now running a deficit in the current fiscal year. He was going to introduce a “budget repair” bill to bring it back into balance. On Friday, February 11, Gov. Walker unveiled his “budget repair”


bill. Make no mistake — it was not a “budget repair” bill; it was a repeal of public sector bargaining. He wanted it passed in less than a week. When the Finance Committee held 13 hours of hearings, nearly 10,000 workers showed up to testify. The Democrats insisted that the people be heard and that was our opening to continue occupation of the people’s house. As long as there was a hearing going on, the Capitol would remain open. The Democrats kept the unofficial hearing going for nearly two weeks. The bill went to the Senate. You all know about our 14 brave Senate Democrats who fled the state to deny a quorum spending three weeks living in northern Illinois. They are heroes. We began bussing our members in from around the state. By that Saturday, 25,000 people were at the Capitol. Within a week, 70,000. We have a number of Republican senators who represent districts that Obama won easily in 2008, but were swing

districts in 2010. By February 26, we were focusing on in-district events. There were over 200 protests around the state that day. We had 50,000 people at the Capitol. Two years earlier, we had finally won bargaining rights for University of Wisconsin faculty and staff. Unfortunately, Walker’s “budget repair” bill repeals the Faculty and Academic Staff Labor Relations Act of 2009. By the time Gov. Walker unveiled his biennial budget on March 1, his approval rating had plummeted to 39 percent. When the people of Wisconsin saw more tax breaks for millionaires and billions more in spending cuts to education, healthcare, recycling, parks, and transportation, the rest of the state lit up. Gov. Walker has lit a fire among the middle class in Wisconsin. His assaults are not just against labor. They go against everything we stand for as a people. In Wisconsin, our state motto is Forward. We have long been a leader


The Inside Story

MOVED BY THE UNION stand in Madison, CFT members joined 1 million workers throughout the nation in protesting the Republican attack on public employees, unions, and collective bargaining. Across the state,10,000 Californians took part in the April 4 “We Are One” actions commemorating the day Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated 43 years ago in Memphis before leading a march of striking sanitation workers. Bay Area longshore workers shut down ports and 1,000 demonstrators marched across Carquinez Bridge. More than 3,000 educators and other workers marched through San Francisco’s financial district, stopping at banks and the Federal Reserve to name Wall Street’s lending of subprime mortgages and tax-dodging by the ultrarich as causes of the economic downturn. According to Aaron Neimark, kindergarten teacher and member of United Educators of San Francisco, educators are the human face of public employees. “We

We continue to stand up, stand together and speak out as one people, people who stand together to ensure that our motto continues to be Forward and who speak out about the dismantling of vital public services. We invite everyone to join us in Wisconsin. But if you come, you’d better bring fireproof clothes. Wisconsin is on fire. Solidarity!

CFT members join in national solidarity events see the families of our students every day and we can counter ideas that we are part of the problem. Collective bargaining for educators directly speaks to how we teach, class size, working conditions…and this directly affects kids.” Like Neimark, third grade teacher Janet Harrison from Daly City’s Jefferson Elementary Federation sees the link between collective bargaining and student success. Children come to school more prepared to learn “when their parents have decent jobs with decent wages and can provide better for their families.” English instructor Teeka James from the San Mateo College Federation, whose sister teaches in Madison, wants to show that “we are connected to the workers in Wisconsin.” James is angered by the “vilification of union workers and the attacks on our pensions.” Wendy Kaufmyn, engineering instructor and member of the San Francisco Community College Federation, marched

to express her outrage “that corporations get huge bailouts while unions are being attacked. Unions are our collective voice in the workplace. Without them, the divide between rich and poor will only widen.” UESF’s Tom Harriman sees the same gap: “America is becoming a two-tier, caste-based social system where only the wealthy have access to universities, decent healthcare, and secure retirements.”



speaking out. We are now engaged in recall efforts for all eight Republican state senators who have been in office for at least a year and are therefore subject to recall. (At press time, there are enough signatures to begin recall of six senators.) The “budget repair” bill passed the Legislature but is tied up in the courts and an injunction halts its implementation.

vice. And we were the first state to pass public sector collective bargaining more than 50 years ago. Gov. Walker is attacking our state’s history and our values. Instead of Forward, he is taking us backward. Rather than shrink from the fight, Wisconsinites are doing what we have always done when it comes to worker rights and progressive values. We are standing up, standing together, and

San Francisco teachers and paraprofessionals present a united front.


of good, clean government and a mainstay in progressive populism. Wisconsin passed the country’s first worker’s comp law, the first unemployment insurance law, the first bill on workplace safety standards, and was the first state to mandate an eighthour workday. We were the first state to enact a comprehensive civil service sector and remove political appointees from nearly all levels of state ser-

College instructors from the San Mateo Federation joined the Bay Area protest.

In his 21 years as a paraprofessional Harriman has seen a steady worsening of student-to-staff ratios and asks, “How will current generations of students acquire the skills they need?” He knows that without a union and collective bargaining rights, it would be worse. “Unions give us a say in our careers and our workplaces. We must stand in support of all workers.” — By Mindy Pines, CFT Reporter

A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 1 C A L I F O R N I A T E A C H E R 5

CFT CONVENTION 2011: Speakers inspire. JUDY CHU was laid off in1986 by the Los Angeles community college board looking to cut costs after she had taught for five years. “Nothing burns more than looking at a pink slip,” she recalled. The union restored her job along with many others and helped elect new board members in the next election. She learned back then just how powerful a union can be and said that power is needed now. Chu holds the eastern Los Angeles congressional seat. When Education Secretary Arne Duncan appeared before the House Education Committee, Chu questioned him aggressively. She brought up the firing of all teachers at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island, asking if “not a single one of those teachers was good enough to stay.” Chu proposes a framework for school improvement that would include collaboration, wrap-around services, and effective teacher development, but said passing a good bill now is difficult. “Despite all these obstacles,” she concluded, “I see a bright light. The American people are paying attention and the polls are on our side. We are going to tell America that we are the ones fighting for students and their educations.” TOM TORLAKSON, new Superintendent of Public Instruction, spotlighted state budget woes, citing his San Mateo alma mater where summer school and arts programs have been cancelled and teachers employed for even six years laid off. He lamented the thousands of educators who have been given pink slips. Torlakson declared a financial emergency for schools, promising a program including preschool and healthcare for all children, vocational ed, and a reduced emphasis on testing.



C A L I F O R N I A T E A C H E R A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 1



Delegates elect Josh Pechthalt CFT president and Jeff Freitas secretary treasurer

Josh Pechthalt


osh Pechthalt, a classroom teacher who rose to be president of United Teachers Los Angeles, the largest AFT local in the state, was elected president of CFT at the annual convention in Manhattan Beach. The second contested vote in 20 years, the campaign had begun nearly a year ago when President Marty Hittelman announced he would not seek reelection. Pechthalt won the seat by nearly a three-to-one margin against Mary Alice Callahan, former president of the Morgan Hill Federation of Teachers and CFT senior vice president.

Jeff Freitas

Mary Alice Callahan

attack workers. Pechthalt and Jeff Freitas, who ran as a slate, offered a strategy “to counter the money and power that will be thrown at us.” It includes expanding training for new leaders and increas-

Delegates electioneer at CFT Convention 2011.

Reggie Gomes and Cecilia Chaves from the Turlock-AFT cast the votes of their delegation.

Callahan spoke first, telling delegates that only unions could stop the assault on schools and democracy. “Raising class sizes for our youngest is, in effect, a tax on our youngest. I say ‘No More!’” She credited unions with social advances that help union and non-union families alike. “The captains of industry did not lead these advances; they resisted them. It’s time to teach some history lessons.” Pechthalt told delegates, “Education is not a business. It’s a social right. In Wisconsin, teachers have been demonized. We are fighting for the future of labor.” He said the enemies of labor had taken advantage of the worst recession since the 1930s to

ing outreach to other unions, parents, and community coalitions. In the second big election, Freitas unseated incumbent Secretary Treasurer Dennis Smith by a 16 percent vote margin. Smith had himself unseated an incumbent four years earlier. Freitas began his speech for secretary treasurer by explaining his back-

Dennis Smith

ground, which includes math and accounting, president of the Carpinteria local, and staff lobbyist. Freitas, the first openly gay candidate for a top CFT office, said of his campaign. “There hasn’t been a single one of these meetings where I haven’t left remembering why I love CFT.” Smith told delegates that CFT was $5 million in debt when he took the position in 2007.” He had stabilized the situation, he said, “but we’re not out of the woods yet.” At the end of each speech, supporters throughout the crowded hall rose to cheer and wave placards. Dennis Kelly, president of United Educators of San Francisco, spoke for the 24-member vice presidential Unity Slate representing the diversity of CFT. Three other candidates were nominated from the floor and one of them, David Mielke, 27-year president of the Culver City Federation of Teachers, was elected, supplanting one member of the Unity Slate. — By Malcolm Terence, CFT Reporter

Delegates pass resolutions and amendments Elections upstaged floor debate, but delegates still passed constitutional amendments and resolutions, including: b support for more study of health consequences related to methyl iodide and for asking CalSTRS to divest in related agricultural chemical companies b a call to restore dedicated funding for adult education b support for the CFT proposal on the reauthorization of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (named No Child Left Behind by the Bush administration)

b opposition to a CSU proposal to establish a new mandatory summer program called Early Start for first-year college students who do not test proficient in math or English b support for starting a charter school task force in the CFT b a constitutional increase in per capitas b support for sending President Obama a pair of union-made walking shoes with the request that he walk with workers in states seeking to erode collective bargaining. >To read resolutions passed, go to




“Marty is fearless. He doesn’t back down in a fight. If we had more of that, we would have less of what we’ve got now.” — Jackie Goldberg, Former Assemblymember

CFT bids farewell to unionist and progressive Hittelman


etiring CFT President Marty Hittelman was honored in a way befitting his service, surrounded by his wife, parents, children, grandchildren, good friends, and 600 union members. In the tribute-turned-roast, Hittelman was chided for retiring from CFT three times, for his penchant to

respond “OK” to long emails, and for his intimidating spreadsheets — the legacy of a career math teacher. Roast aside, Hittelman’s commitment to progressive ideals and union values carried the tribute. He was elected CFT president four years ago after serving as the long-time senior


vice president of CFT and president of the Community College Council. Before that, he had held every office in his local union, the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild. The classified union in the Los Angeles colleges lauded him for negotiating a contract as strong as the faculty one. The California Labor Federation praised his bold backing of the March for California’s Future and Proposition 25 — for planning the offense when others wanted to circle the wagons in defense. Some recounted lessons learned from him over the years: Don’t succumb to group-think. Be willing to speak out. Do your homework. Kick ass when you need to. His Los Angeles neighbor and social activist colleague, Jackie Goldberg, a former member of the state Assembly, gave eloquent voice to the common theme. “Marty is fearless. He doesn’t back down in a fight. If we had more of that, we would have less of what we’ve got now. We get him back now in our neighborhood,” Goldberg said, “and you’ll see us all out in the streets as we try to take back this country.”

Jacki Fox Ruby honored with Ben Rust Award


ith her characteristic blend of chutzpah and tenderness, Jacki Fox Ruby reminded educators that their profession has become a political activity, a duty they cannot shun by closing their classroom doors. Ruby accepted CFT’s highest honor, the Ben Rust Award, named after the president of the California State Federation of Teachers during the 1950s. “That classroom door, that thin membrane, is assaulted by others,” she said. “If we close that classroom door we might find the door standing and the walls of education dismantled.” Ruby’s political education began when she became a leader of a B’nai B’rith young women’s group in New York at age 12. She arrived at UC Berkeley in 1957 and by the early 1960s she had joined civil rights groups and the Free Speech Movement.

“Teaching today is a political activity.”

After college, she began teaching in Berkeley as a long-term sub and within two years she was a probationary teacher. Dick Broadhead handed her a union card and an AFT militancy pin; she would later marry him. Her voice momentarily broke as she tapped the pin on her jacket from her late husband. “This one.” At that time, teacher union activ-

ity had been labeled subversive and she equated the only form of bargaining with “collective begging.” By 1976, efforts led by CFT won collective bargaining. The Berkeley Federation of Teachers grew stronger through repeated organizing drives. Eventually, teachers went on strike and won public support. In 1992, Ruby became president of the Berkeley Federation and a year later was elected president of the CFT EC/K-12 Council, a post she held for 10 years. “Teaching today,” she concluded, “is a political activity. By shutting down the voices of working people, the rich elite hope to continue their despoliation of the environment, education, and unions.” As she has done hundreds of times before, Ruby raised her fist and urged attendees to rise, join arms, and sing her favorite union standard Solidarity Forever.

Loni Hancock named Legislator of the Year


tate Senator Loni Hancock says CFT members can turn around the attacks on unions and education in California. “Let’s go get ‘em, just like we did in Wisconsin. “I get nervous when I hear the word reform,” said Hancock, the recipient of CFT’s Legislator of the Year Award addressing the conservative push to demonize public workers. All workers should have pension plans, she emphasized. “A fixed benefit pension is a hallmark of civilization.” Hancock thanked CFT for its leading role in passing Proposition 25, which changed the vote to pass the state budget from a two-thirds to a majority. “If Prop. 25 had not passed, we would be in Sacramento now negotiating what we have to give away to pass the budget.” Acknowledging that the state was truly out of money, she apologized for the drastic cuts made to the state budget and likened them to “amputating a leg to save a life.” The enormous task now is to pass the tax extensions, she said, calling taxes “what people pay for all the things that make a civilized society.” Republicans, she warned, are trying to cap education spending. California’s schools “used to be rated sixth in the country and now they’re 25th or 49th, depending on how you count. You don’t cap when you’re on the bottom.” Hancock, citing research that supports withholding the California Standards Test until fourth grade, is carrying CFT-sponsored SB 740 which would abolish the test for second graders. Hancock, who represents the East Bay, was a member of the Assembly and mayor of Berkeley before being elected state senator.

A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 1 C A L I F O R N I A T E A C H E R


“I agreed to be a mentee because I want to ascend to the highest level, and bring my students along with me.” — Khalid White


Amber McCall

Sharon Youngblood



Dance Instructor

he union mentorship program was valuable for me as a first-year, full-time faculty member because it helped make my transition into the district easier. My mentor, Sharon Youngblood, met with me on several occasions with a list of ideas about what I might need to know about campus facilities and procedures. It was great to receive mentorship from a faculty member with years of experience and insight into the inner workings of the campus and union. It’s reassuring to know that the union is not only working for the best interests of the group as a whole, but also giving support on an individual level.


C A L I F O R N I A T E A C H E R A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 1

Faculty mentoring program in San José community colleges builds collegiality — and the union THE SAN JOSÉ/EVERGREEN FACULTY ASSOCIATION is building the strength and unity of its campus community through a powerful mentorship program, now entering its third year. Union mentors provide guidance to new faculty during their first year of employment in the community college district, building a supportive network for their coming years of teaching.

Business Education Faculty

thoroughly enjoyed assisting Amber McCall with the ins-and-outs of the college and the union so her teaching career at City can be more successful. I enjoyed our conversations and the opportunity to share and receive information from such an enthusiastic, innovative new faculty member. Amber is definitely on the right path to making positive changes on our campus. I attended one of her dance concerts — it was great, and I was able to offer a couple of ideas that might make the concerts even better in the future. The mentorship program also provided me insight into what our union is really about and the amount of time that is expended to protect faculty rights and meet our needs. Overall, it was a rewarding program, and I am happy to have had the opportunity to participate.





San José City College

Laura Sanchez

Dental Assisting Instructor and Union Membership Coordinator


n the first semester of our union’s mentorship program, Sharon Youngblood and newcomer Amber McCall paired up to kickstart the idea that our local union could mentor new faculty. The new program helps ensure members get to know the college and the union. As the membership coordinator, my job was to match tenured faculty mentors to new faculty and support the relationships between them. It was rewarding to coordinate. Eventually, when I met a new faculty member who needed support, I ended up volunteering as a mentor. At the district’s new faculty orienta-


Ethnic Studies Faculty



was fortunate to have a mentor who added to the impact of the courses I teach. Ron Levesque is the Service Learning coordinator and I teach African-American Studies; our disciplines are connected. Community service is the key facet of Ethnic Studies curriculum. What better person and program to have as a guide? I learned that the union is a much more powerful force and entity on campus than I realized. Not only does the union advocate for the rights of faculty members, it believes mentorship is a right and a necessity. Ron and I have built a friendship that extends beyond the campus. We took off our teacher hats and got to know what makes each other “tick.” I agreed to be a mentee because I want to ascend to the highest level, and bring my students along with me. Thanks to my relationship with my mentor, I am a better instructor, my classes have higher enrollments, and my students’ work casts a broader net into the community.

tion, I met Rufus Blair, a sign language teacher, who asked great questions. We decided to pair up as part of the mentorship program. Now I would learn the value of our union program from a mentor’s perspective. Blair had been an adjunct faculty member and a full-timer for a semester before we partnered, yet he had many questions. We met once a month. With the program brochure and a checklist, I set out to “go over the list.” During our meetings, we covered a range of topics, few of which were on the list. We discussed salary, demystifying the district’s paycheck, and how to create an advisory board for a depart-

Ron Levesque

Service Learning Coordinator and ESL Instructor


hen the union announced the new mentoring program, I immediately signed up. It’s important that our union care about the “entire” instructor beyond the key issues of salary and working conditions. I was asked to mentor Khalid White. I enjoyed sharing Khalid’s experience of settling into the campus after years as an adjunct instructor, which took me back to my own early years in the 1990s. I supported his passion to rejuvenate Umoja, our African American student organization, and he picked my brain about weaving service learning into his curriculum. It made me feel good that I could still be passionate about my work here after 20 years, and that a new generation was bringing in its own “fire.” In a surprising way, mentoring an instructor led me to reflect on my remaining five or so years here, and on what imprint I may hope to leave. Our time here does fly by, so we need to focus on doing excellent work and on collaborating with our peers.

ment with the unique situation of having only one full-time faculty member. We even talked about tenure committees. Things that I knew as a senior faculty member were extremely helpful to him. Our relationship unfolded naturally — I just needed to show up. That’s it. It was not hard, time-consuming, or complicated. Just be present, listen, and be helpful. This is how our union can pass on experience and knowledge to new faculty members, thus building a stronger campus community. — By Laura Sanchez, membership coordinator for the San José/Evergreen Faculty Association

Dance instructor Amber McCall, center, said the guidance of her faculty mentor, Sharon Youngblood, eased her transion into teaching at San José City College.

Evergreen Valley College


Mirella Burton

Richard Regua



Enlace Counselor

t can be daunting to start employment in a new system of higher education. Prior to starting at Evergreen, I had minimal knowledge about the rights of community college faculty. As a first-year faculty member, I found participating in the mentoring program a truly rewarding experience. I was fortunate to be the mentee of seasoned English instructor Richard Regua. With his assistance, I gained an understanding of the tenure review process and the faculty bargaining agreement. Most importantly, I can ask questions and discuss day-to-day concerns with someone. Richard also gave me a “grand tour” of San José because I was new to the area. To have stronger connections with my students, I needed to know the high school they graduated from or the neighborhood they grew up in.


Khalid White





San José City College

English Instructor

have been honored to serve as a mentor for Mirella Burton. My intent as a mentor was to assist in her transition to working at Evergreen Valley College. We discussed the student and staff culture, the support provided by the faculty union, and the diverse region served by the college. Faculty who volunteer to serve as mentors can contribute to the growth and development of others in this flexible, individual-driven process.

> A longer version of this article appeared in Faculty Matters, the newsletter of the San José/Evergreen Faculty Association, AFT Local 6157

A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 1 C A L I F O R N I A T E A C H E R


The Uprising of 20,000 and strike of garment workers On Dec. 3, 1909, six women linked arms and marched to city hall during the shirtwaist strike to demand an end to police abuse. Other shirtwaist strikers follow behind carrying a union banner.

would ultimately lead to the National Labor Relations Act

Triangle Fire united a worker’s right to unionize and a woman’s right to vote Labor History: The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, Part 2



arch 25, 1911, was a Saturday — just another workday for 500 workers at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in New York City. Mostly young girls, some only 15 years old, they worked from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. (half hour for lunch), seven days a week. No union, of course. When a fire broke out on the top floors of the 10-story building, 146 workers died horrible deaths unable to escape. The doors were locked to prevent any “interruption of work.” (California Teacher, Feb/Mar 2011). While the Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 100 years ago was tragic, at that time about 100 American workers died on the job every day. What makes this particular industrial disaster so important? The shirtwaist makers’ story inspired hundreds of activists in New York and across the nation to win fundamental reforms. Frances Perkins, who stood helpless watching the factory burn, was inspired to a lifetime of workers’ rights advocacy. She later became secretary of labor under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the first woman to hold a Cabinet post. Years before the fire, garment workers fought to improve their working conditions — including unlocked exits. In fall of 1909, as factory owners pressed workers for longer hours and lower wages, several hundred shirtwaist makers went on strike, led by Local 25 of the International Ladies’


C A L I F O R N I A T E A C H E R A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 1

Garment Workers’ Union. On November 23, throughout New York’s garment district, more than 15,000 shirtwaist makers walked out, demanding a 20 percent pay raise, a 52-hour work week, extra pay for

of suffragists. Wealthy progressive women like Anne Morgan (daughter of J.P Morgan) and Alva Belmont (first married to William Vanderbilt) believed that all women, rich and poor, would be treated better if

agreed to higher pay and shorter hours, but not the closed shop. At a series of mass meetings, thousands of strikers voted unanimously to reject the factory owners’ proposal. They insisted on a closed shop provision. For these young women workers, the strike had become more than taking a stand for a pay raise and reduced work hours. They wanted to create a union with real power and solidarity. While a closed shop became standard practice in later decades, at the time, their insistence seemed radical, and caused the alliance with the wealthy suffragists to unravel. Nevertheless, in February 1910, the strike was settled. Workers at Triangle went back to the factory without a union agreement. Management never addressed their demands, including unlocked factory doors and functional fire escapes. But the fire, a year later, changed everything. Within three months, bowing to public pressure, New York’s governor signed a law creating the Factory Investigating Commission. The commission investigated nearly 2,000 factories and, with the help of workers’ rights advocates like Frances Perkins, enacted laws covering fire safety, factory inspections, sanitation, and employment rules for women and children.

In August 1913, garment workers vote on a collective bargaining agreement at the union hall.

overtime, and the “closed shop,” in which all employees at a worksite are members of the union. When picketing began the following day, more than 20,000 workers from 500 factories walked out. More than 70 of the smaller factories agreed to the union’s demands within the first 48 hours. Together with owners of the 20 largest factories, the fiercely antiunion owners of the Triangle factory, where many of the strike leaders worked, were committed to doing whatever it took — from physical force to political pressure — to defeat the strike. The struggle and spirit of the women strikers caught the attention

they had the right to vote. Morgan and Belmont saw the uprising as an opportunity to move the strikers’ concerns into the struggle for women’s rights. The coalition of the wealthy suffragists and shirtwaist strikers quickly gained momentum and favorable publicity. Fifteen thousand shirtwaist makers in Philadelphia joined the strike, and even replacement workers at the Triangle factory struck, shutting it down. A month into the strike, most of the small and mid-sized factories settled with the strikers, who then returned to work. The large factories, which were the holdouts, knew they had lost. They

Frances Perkins, center, and ILGWU’s David Dubinsky, right, launch the union’s label.

The following year, the commission entirely rewrote New York’s state labor laws and created a State Department of Labor to enforce them. During the Roosevelt administration, Frances Perkins and Robert Wagner (who chaired the commission) helped create the nation’s most sweeping worker protections through the New Deal, including the National Labor Relations Act, which gave private sector workers the right to organize and bargain collectively. — Adapted from a history by the AFL-CIO

It was election year at CFT Convention!

Around CFT Mark your Calendar

I was doing something meaningful to help the farmworkers.”

Margaret Shellada, Executive Director

We’re the only challenge to an emerging oligarchy. We’re the ones who stand in the way of them having it all. Together, we hold more power than all their hoarded gold.”

2011 High School Senior scholarship recipients Raoul Teilhet

SCHOLARSHIPS THE CFT RAOUL TEILHET Scholarship Program awarded scholarships to 25 high school seniors planning to attend institutions of higher learning. The scholarship recipients are listed below with the names of their parents or dependents who are members of AFT local unions. Applications are now being accepted from continuing college students through July 1. Recipients will be announced prior to the fall semester. To obtain an application, go to and click on Scholarships, or phone the CFT Costa Mesa office, (714) 754-1514, to have one mailed to you. Kiley Aldridge, daughter of Diana Aldridge, Lompoc Federation of Teachers Taylor Brown, daughter of Lee Brown, Jr., State Center Federation of Teachers

Tucker Chopp, son of Jay Chopp, Rescue Union Federation of Teachers

Anand Lodha, son of Madhu Lodha, Cabrillo College Federation of Teachers

Noah Connally, son of Daniel Connally, UC-AFT Santa Barbara

Zoe Lulla, daughter of Danny Lulla, Gold Trail Federation of Educators

Shawna Gillespie, daughter of Sharon Gillespie, Oxnard Federation of Teachers and School Employees

Shamik Mascharak, son of Nandini Bhattacharya, Faculty of UC Santa Cruz

Gabriel Gonzales, son of Christa Gonzales, Oxnard Federation of Teachers and School Employees Thomas Kilkenny, son of Sherri Ann Kilkenny, Greater Santa Cruz Federation of Teachers Jenna King, daughter of Dennis and Beth King, Oxnard Federation of Teachers and School Employees Aaron Kirschen, son of Barry Kirschen, Greater Santa Cruz Federation of Teachers David Knight, son of Thomas Knight, Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers Kai Kopecky, son of Christine Kopecky, Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers Kristen Kumagai, daughter of Jeanne Kumagai, ABC Federation of Teachers Megan Liska, daughter of Mark and Donna Liska, Poway Federation of Teachers

Emily Morrison, daughter of David Morrison, United Educators of San Francisco Grace Nelson-Barer, daughter of Deborah Barer, Berkeley Federation of Teachers Cecilia Peña-Govea, daughter of Susan Peña, Jefferson AFT Federation of Teachers Kaitlyn Phillips, daughter of Tracy Phillips, Lompoc Federation of Teachers Sarah Ruderman, daughter of Ann McMurdo, Peralta Federation of Teachers Crystal Scherr, daughter of Mildred Scherr, Berkeley Council of Classified Employees Nicole Seymour, daughter of Elena Urbina, Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers Rene Siqueiros, son of Lynne Siqueiros, Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers Mary Smith, daughter of Lorraine Smith, State Center Federation of Teachers

Application deadline for continuing college students to apply for a CFT Raoul Teilhet Scholarship is July 1. AFT TEACH, the national union’s biennial professional issues conference, formerly called QuEST, will be held July 11-13 at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C. There is a special meeting for local presidents before AFT TEACH on July 10-11 at the Marriott. Learn more at Division Councils of the CFT meet September 23 at the Marriott Manhattan Beach. State Council meets the following day, September 24 at the Marriott.

Mission Labor takes new approach A NEW PUBLICATION from the CFT Labor in the Schools Committee places work done by Native Americans at the center of the history of Spanish missions. Mission Labor fills a gap in fourth grade history and social studies curriculum and addresses content standards. The 24-page Mission Labor, in English and Spanish, is authored by San Francisco elementary teacher and committee member Bill Morgan, and beautifully illustrated by award-winning Bay Area artist Jos Sances. >To purchase, go to or phone (510) 523-5238. Copies cost $3. Classroom sets of 10 or more may be purchased for $2 each.

A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 1 C A L I F O R N I A T E A C H E R



Laura Rico, Convention Chair

MARGARET SHELLEDA paid tribute to Raoul Teilhet, former leader of CFT, as she received the annual “Educate, Agitate, Organize Award” named in his honor. “When we started, we didn’t have a collective bargaining law. We just made it up. Raoul led the way.” Shelleda will retire July 1 after serving as executive director of CFT for the past 10 years. EC/K-12 Council President Gary Ravani dubbed her

The CFT Leadership Institute, a California-based training in which preregistered teams of local union leaders can participate in a concentrated 52 hours of study, takes place June 27-29 on the UCLA campus. To learn more, contact the Training Department at (714) 754-6638.

the “institutional WD-40 of CFT.” She started organizing when she was a library assistant at UC Davis. In 1996 she joined AFT staff and launched a project to organize classified employees into CFT. Shelleda told attendees, “They are treating education as the enemy, and we know why we’re under attack. SHARON BEALS

LAURA RICO holds a unique position in CFT. She is a national vice president of the AFL-CIO (6 years) and the AFT (8 years), and statewide vice president of the CFT (10 years). And these are just a few lines on her résumé. She’s been president of her Southern California local, the ABC Federation of Teachers, for 18 years, an AFT member for 38 years, and a child development teacher for 42 years. Rico has chaired the CFT Convention Committee for 10 years, and relished every one of them. “It’s been a blast working with former and current management of CFT.” Rico thanked all involved “for making the convention bigger and better each year.” One of the highlights of Rico’s career was meeting Cesar Chavez at a training session. At the “tender age of 22,” Rico volunteered to organize for the United Farmworkers. “It was long hours with no pay, but it felt damn good because


Convention Chair Rico and Executive Director Shelleda to retire

CFT Convention workshops inspire delegates.

Pre-K and K-12 Theresa Sage perceives her union as path to professionalism SHARON BEALS

Blind teacher and union president hopes to be a role model for students

Morgan Hill Unified in Santa Clara county, the second district to which she applied hired her, she moved with her husband and two children and has been there ever since. “You really can make a difference with kids if you connect with them,” says Sage, who teaches advanced placement U.S. history; psychology; and marriage, sex, and family to eleventh and twelfth graders. “If you’re fair and respectful, have high standards and good solid lesson plans, you don’t have as many discipline problems.” She hopes to be seen as a role model for overcoming obstacles. “My students see…okay, she’s blind, married with kids, has a job, and is being productive.” In 2009, Sage was Morgan Hill’s Educator of the Year. “Being blind means that some things take a lot longer, so I am very

teachers” and education workers. Now serving her second year as president of the Morgan Hill Federation of Teachers, she was vice president for 10 years and served as site representative while still on probation. She got active in her union because she admired its leaders. “They were smart, talented, and respected teachers and unionists.” The daughter of a union waitress in San Francisco, Sage grew up understanding the struggles workers face and “how unions have promoted a solid middle class, helping people get decent paying jobs with good working conditions.” She is as enthusiastic about her union work as she is about teaching. In the last two years, the local has focused on building leadership, increasing member involvement,

Theresa Sage is as enthusiastic about her union work as she is about teaching.



Demand better conditions


A common media theme is the difficulty of staffing schools in distressed communities, where high turnover means staff is dominated by newer teachers more likely to be laid off. Some say eliminating seniority is the answer, but that’s a classic case of treating the symptom not the problem. Teachers leave schools, and the profession, because of inadequate leadership and working conditions. Research by the New Teacher Center and the University of Chicago shows that higher performing schools have leaders who harness the expertise of teachers, are skilled facilitators, and encourage collaboration. Teacher retention depends on safe environments, adequate prep time, quality professional development, and appropriate workload. Let’s work to solve problems, not symptoms. We must hold districts accountable for the conditions teachers need to teach effectively.


C A L I F O R N I A T E A C H E R A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 1

THERESA SAGE WANTED to be a teacher ever since first grade, hooked by the magic of receiving a gold star from her teacher. Now in her sixteenth year in Morgan Hill Unified, the high school social studies teacher wants “to move kids forward.” She cares about “social justice and equity,” and hopes that through teaching, she can strengthen democracy and help bring about “a more humane society, moving it away from racism, war, and other ills.” It hasn’t been easy for the upbeat and energetic Sage. At 16, she was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative disease effecting the retina, rods, and cones of the eye. By 21, before she began teacher training, she was legally blind. By 35 she was “profoundly blind, perceiving only a little light around windows or ceiling lights with the rest just dark.” The first district where she applied for a job did not hire her, expressing concern about her blindness. When

“If you listen to our students’ parents, they may talk about problems in general, but when they talk about their own kids’ teachers, they say their kids’ teachers are good. We need to look at the really good work that is going on.” organized and efficient to maximize my time.” She gets help from a classroom assistant who takes attendance, corrects papers, and reads to her. Schubert, her loyal guide dog, helps her navigate. She relies upon speed typing skills she learned before losing her vision, and her computer is configured to read textbooks and other documents aloud. Sage’s dedication to improving the world goes beyond the classroom. Through her church, she has organized major fundraisers and food drives for the homeless. She supports charities as well as civic and cultural organizations. She sees her union as the way to “promote the professionalism of

updating its constitution, launching a Web site, and navigating through difficult budget cuts. Recently Sage helped negotiate an early retirement package, bringing back all laid off teachers including temps. During these difficult times of teacher- and union-bashing, she says, “We need to look at different ways to improve teacher efficacy and quality, but public schools are not broken. If you listen to our students’ parents,” she adds, “they may talk about problems in general, but when they talk about their own kids’ teachers, they say their kids’ teachers are good. We need to look at the really good work that is going on.” — By Mindy Pines, CFT Reporter

The Coast Federation’s Maria Chovan speaks out at CFT Convention.

Classified Threat of outsourcing leads to anxiety and desperation otherwise be filled by unionized classified employees. In Los Angeles County, Carl Williams said members of his local, the Lawndale Federation of Classified Employees, were still in shock at news of the death. “Outsourcing is a reality that many of us tend to ignore. Once upon a time, city and school jobs were the most secure. Sadly, those days seem to be long gone.” Williams said cities and districts decide to outsource for supposed financial gain, but they fail to consider the human element. He has heard rumors of outsourcing in his 17 years in the Lawndale district, but no serious threats. “I am always mindful of the possibility.” In Costa Mesa, one ordinarily very conservative Republican, Wendy Leece, was the only member of the city council to vote against layoffs. Leece said the rest of the council was acting “recklessly” in the vote. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Leece is my hero,” said Kimberly Claytor, president of the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers.

Cities and districts decide to outsource for supposed financial gain, but they fail to consider the human element. — Carl Williams, Lawndale Federation of Classified Employees

munity College District outsourced bookstore services to Follett, a private vendor. Through negotiations, the local was able to protect classified positions in the bookstore, including salaries and benefits. It is also monitoring district use of contingent or hourly employees in jobs that might

Claytor organized a group of delegates at the CFT Convention to attend a candlelight vigil following the death of 29-year-old Huy, who had worked for the city’s maintenance department for four years. He supported his mother and siblings. Costa Mesa city officials predicted

Huy’s death “makes us realize just how serious our work is at the negotiation table.” —Ann Nicholson, Coast Federation of Classified Employees

they would save from 15 to 40 percent of labor costs by outsourcing. When Claytor returned to the Convention, she requested a special order of business to pass the hat for Huy’s family. Delegates contributed nearly $1,100 which was delivered to the Orange County Employees’ Association, the bargaining unit for many of the pink-slipped workers. Jennifer Muir, a spokeswoman for the Association that represents 13,000 workers, told the Los Angeles Times that the situation was a profound tragedy. “This is the new normal — when hardworking people come to work and their lives and livelihoods are destroyed.” The controversy continued at the city council meeting two weeks later. Groups opposing and supporting the council’s outsourcing decision set up tables outside the chambers and television crews filled the halls. Joel Flores, one of the NewportMesa delegates who had attended the vigil, told the council, “The citizens of Costa Mesa are on to you and your schemes. We know that the majority of the citizens of Costa Mesa do not support the outsourcing plan. These attacks on city workers are political self-serving examples of shameless opportunism.” Huy’s death recalls that the unstoppable wave of pro-democracy dem-

onstrations sweeping the Middle East and North Africa were triggered by the suicide of Muhammad Bouazizi, a 26-year-old unlicensed fruit vendor. — By Malcolm Terence, CFT Reporter



Public employees are vital community partners Public education continues to be a hot topic and we like that. The Council of Classified Employees supports strategies to improve teaching and learning because we are an integral part of the school and college team. We are classified employees — classroom paraprofessionals, food service employees, bus drivers, janitors, secretaries, and other workers who serve children and students. Classified employees make a difference in children’s and student’s lives — both personally and professionally. But we need some support, too. This bad economy brings challenges for public employees. The huge demand for public services continues to grow, while the number of employees supporting critical programs is being reduced. It’s time to reflect on how public employees contribute to student success, which builds stronger and healthier communities. We are vital partners in California schools and colleges.

A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 1 C A L I F O R N I A T E A C H E R



OUTSOURCING IS A persistent threat to classified employees. District trustees often incorrectly decide that they can move the jobs of bus drivers, food service staff, and maintenance workers to private providers and save increasingly scarce budget dollars. This threat loomed large last month when the city council of Costa Mesa sent layoff notices to 213 of its 472 full-time employees. One city maintenance worker, Huy Pham, jumped to his death from the fifthfloor roof of city hall on March 17, apparently when he learned he would be pink-slipped. Ann Nicholson is president of the nearby Coast Federation of Classified Employees. Her local is in negotiations now, so Huy’s death “makes us realize just how serious our work is at the negotiation table.” She said the attack on organized labor across the country represents a threat to all middle-class wage earners and the contributions they make to the economy. The local dealt most recently with outsourcing when the Coast Com-


Suicide of pink-slipped city maintenance worker stirs passionate reaction


The Community College Council honors full-and part-time faculty.

Community College Unions and districts reduce stress with interest-based budgeting “Bucket” formula allows educators and administrators to jointly set priorities TWO CALIFORNIA community college districts are providing an example of the “interest-based approach” to college revenues and negotiations with the goal of coherent budget-making and reducing stress between administrators and employee representatives. With the state promising dire cuts, the approach will be put to its sternest test in the next round of budgeting. The San Diego and Sacramentoarea Los Rios community college districts have adopted a method by which the administration and bargaining units agree ahead of time on percentages of new revenue they will get, and each side sets its own priorities. In Los Rios, the method is often called “the bucket” formula on the premise that a bucket of money is


allocated each year to the community college system, which is then apportioned to each district. For instance, faculty members using the “bucket” method have in recent years chosen, through a vote of union members, to dedicate part of

The District Budget Committee is a forum “to discuss the challenges to our respective buckets and collective bargaining contracts,” Murakami explained. “Discussions are held separately for each collective bargaining unit. So far this has worked.

Community College Districts

Pressure increases on for-profit colleges



C A L I F O R N I A T E A C H E R A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 1

“The fact that during contract negotiations we do not have to fight over how much money faculty receive saves a tremendous amount of time and energy.” — Dean Murakami, president of the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers


For-profit Corinthian College saw its net income drop 60 percent in the first quarter as enrollment slid 21.5 percent. “Corinthian expects the decline in new enrollments to worsen during the current quarter to a 24-27 percent drop,” the Los Angeles Times reported on May 4. “After years of double-digit growth, enrollments began falling at many for-profit schools in 2010 because of stricter government oversight, negative media attention, and moves by the schools themselves to counter criticisms that their classes do not benefit students and leave them swamped in debt.” A whiff of government oversight has done much to rein in some of the sleazier money-making machines that masquerade as institutions of higher education in order to suck up a huge share of federal Pell Grant money. Let’s keep the pressure on and prevent the Republicans from reversing these gains in the name of “free enterprise.”

Murakami said. When cuts are mandated, the revenue-sharing program has a provision for reopening set contracts to bargaining. This provision is called “the trombone clause” (visualize the slide of a trombone drawn back to reach a different note).

the money to funding new steps on the salary scale, helping pay healthcare costs for part-time members, making changes in the lab/lecture ratio, or underwriting sabbaticals for support staff. “The fact that during contract negotiations we do not have to fight over how much money faculty receive saves a tremendous amount of time and energy,” said Dean Murakami, president of the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers. This method makes everyone own responsibility for the management of the district’s resources.

We have not had to lay off any fulltime faculty member or experience reductions in our salary schedule. Unfortunately, if the budget deficits get worse than what was proposed by the governor in January, we may have to examine salary reductions.” These reductions will pinch parttime instructors. “It is very unfortunate that with the planned reductions in class sections many of our valuable part-time faculty will experience a significant loss of pay, may no longer qualify for healthcare benefits, or may no longer work in Los Rios,”

“It forces us to open the contract but it doesn’t specify what’s going to happen,” said Jim Mahler, president of the AFT Guild, representing the San Diego and Grossmont-Cuyamaca districts. “If we have to make big cuts, we’d rather be at the table and be party to a negotiation. If we always say ‘No’ and force them into a corner, they may just lay people off.” The administration and the bargaining units sharpened the resource allocation formula this year, Mahler said, but probably won’t see the benefits of that fine-tuning until a year from now, when money flows more freely from the state. The previous formula had employee groups receiving 80 percent of a cost-of-living adjustment, and 20 percent of growth dollars from the state. The new formula is that employee groups get 85 percent of all new revenue. “There’s definitely less stress at the bargaining table when we don’t have to fight over how much money is there,” concluded Mahler. — Adapted from Inside Higher Education

UCLA’s Kent Wong speaks to convention delegates

University Find out where universities and colleges hide their money How to use Internet search engines to discover financial facts fast

1. Look at audited financial statements and tax forms > School budgets often provide inaccurate predictions, but audited financial statements and tax forms speak to what actually occurred. The easiest way to find these documents is to simply do a Google search and type in the name of a school and the words “audited financial statement” or “Schedule A.” If this does not work, try searching the institution’s Web site using these terms. Once these forms are found, locate the listings for total revenue, and then look for the expenses, but watch out for some classic tricks. For instance, universities often hide their unrestricted funds by declaring huge healthcare and retirement liabilities. For example, last year the University of California declared a retiree healthcare liability of $2.4 billion, but only spent $140 million on this cost. By hiding their assets, they can come to the bargaining table and say they have no money.

Fiscal health of your college? Find the truth.

While it is true that many — if not most — schools are really facing dire financial situations, some institutions are taking advantage of the current political and economic climate to impose conservative agendas. 2. Read the bond ratings > Since universities and colleges want a good bond rating so they can borrow money at a low interest rate, they always put their best fiscal foot forward in their bond prospectus. To locate these rating reports, Google the name of an institution and add “Moody’s” or “Standard and Poor’s” to the search. These studies will usually reveal how much net income an institution has and what are its various sources of profit.   3. Don’t listen to administrators > Administrators love to say that they cannot spend their revenue because it is restricted by law, but often their funds are only restricted by their priorities. For instance, UC

has started to pool all of its operating cash with its grant income and medical profits in order to invest it. Funds from different sources are moved around and profits from the investments can go to any area. Moreover, many research universities receive external grants that allow state-funded professors the ability to buy themselves out of their teaching duties. The professors also use part of their grants to pay graduate students and non-tenure-track faculty to

teach their courses, and here the line between the state-funded instructional budget and the external grants budgets is transgressed.

…many universities and colleges that have declared fiscal emergencies and have imposed layoffs and furloughs actually increased their profit margins. 4. Investigate who pays for the administrators > One of the ways that universities and colleges co-mingle their funds is by paying administrators out of multiple sources. Ever wonder who pays the high salary for a president or chancellor? A little digging will probably reveal that they are getting money from multiple funds. So the next time administrators claim that they cannot touch those restricted funds, ask them who pays for their salaries. While unions want to be careful not to feed the conservative argument that colleges and universities are wasteful institutions that can have their budgets cut, educators still need to hold schools accountable. UC-AFT has sponsored a state audit of the UC system to see where the money is really going. The audit is due out in June, and the union hopes to use it in bargaining as well as to defend the jobs and benefits of lecturers and librarians in the UC system. — By Bob Samuels

Bob Samuels is a writing instructor at UCLA and president of UC-AFT, who was recently appointed to the Investment Board of the UC Board of Regents, the first employee ever to serve in this position. Read Samuel’s blog at

A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 1 C A L I F O R N I A T E A C H E R


DURING THESE DIFFICULT budget times, it is especially important for us to understand how our education institutions hide their money. In fact, a team of researchers from the American Association of University Professors has been investigating schools across the country and what they have discovered is that many universities and colleges that have declared fiscal emergencies and have imposed layoffs and furloughs actually increased their profit margins. While it is true that many — if not most — schools really are facing dire financial situations, some institutions are taking advantage of the current political and economic climate to impose conservative agendas. To discover the true fiscal health of a school, here are some helpful hints.


You are the union…


Local Wire

Reporting Local Action Around the State

board. The board rescinded the nonrehire notice. However, Silver’s battle isn’t over. On March 15, she received a layoff notice for one-fifth of her assignment. Unions erroneously get blamed for “protecting bad teachers,” says Mielke, “but what about principals letting go of ‘great teachers’? Clearly, the system isn’t working as it should.” LOCAL 1021

Largest local elects officers… In a runoff election for president of United Teachers Los Angeles, English teacher Warren Fletcher narrowly beat Julie Washington, UTLA vice president and former kindergarten teacher. Term limits prohibited current President A.J. Duffy from re-election. Representing 45,000 members, UTLA is the largest education union in California. UTLA Secretary and CFT Vice President Betty Forrester was elected the union’s AFT vice president, replacing Josh Warren Fletcher Pechthalt who was elected CFT president in March.

LOCAL 2279

professor of physical education and athletics, and member of the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers, was chosen an AFT Everyday Hero in a vote of his peers. When Parker saw the need among young African American men, he didn’t just become a Big Brother or volunteer to tutor or coach. He co-founded an institution. The Alpha Academy runs workshops where adult male professionals meet with young men ages 12 to 18 to discuss decision-making, motivation, academic performance, teen pregnancy prevention, and career goals. Parker, who volunteers 10 to 12 hours a week, hasn’t missed one session in the seven years since the Academy’s inception,

LOCAL 1434

Community saves job… When Sheila Silver, a theater arts teacher at Culver City High, received a nonrehire notice last February, “the community went ballistic,” she said. A protest at the school of colleagues, students, and parents was covered by local news media. In only her second year with the district, Silver helped her school win the highest state awards possible for theater productions. For a probationary teacher, she explains, “The union’s hands are really tied.” But Culver City Federation of Teachers


C A L I F O R N I A T E A C H E R A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 1

and also helps with tutoring, parent support programs, and green technology classes. In addition, he works with the Brothers of Kuumba, 11-year-old boys learning through the African elder tradition; sponsors the Black Student Union at a local high school; and mentors four families of various ethnicities. And he involves his students as both mentors and mentees at Cosumnes River College in Elk Grove, where he teaches. “I often state that I am the wealthiest man in the world because of the friends and family I have,” says Parker. “To whom much is given, much is expected. I want to give back to the world because I have received so much.”

LOCAL 6185

President David Mielke went to bat for her. He cited a number of irregularities in the evaluation process and helped her present her case to the SHARON BEALS

EVERYDAY HERO…Travis Parker, a

Culver City members with David Mielke, local president and new CFT vice president.

Adjuncts win back pay… Last year, the Part-Time Faculty Association of Allan Hancock College learned that some members had not been advancing on the salary schedule and were being underpaid. “Our union immediately informed the Human Resources Department,” says Mark James Miller, president of the Santa Maria local. “As a result, all affected members were placed at their proper step for fall semester.” But those members who had been underpaid were legally owed retroactive pay. After negotiation with the union, the administration agreed to the legal limit of three years retroactive pay, with 2.67 percent interest. In January, the district paid more than $62,000 to the part-time faculty impacted by the error.

Rank & Files Ryan Coonerty, a lecturer of political science and member of UC-AFT Santa Cruz, Local 2199, has been elected to a second term as mayor of Santa Cruz. His term will focus on job creation, climate change, and increasing public participation. Coonerty was also selected to be a Rodel Fellow by the Aspen Institute for his political leadership and potential.

Joan Martin, a retired member of the Sonoma County Federation of Teachers, Local 4915, recently authored Little Bear Learns To Fly, a new children’s picture book that presents the wise and humorous adventure of a little bear that longs to fly, and in so doing, discovers a special gift within himself. The inspiration for Little Bear, a book full of teaching possibilities, came from the life and artwork of Martin’s daughter who died from cystic fibrosis at the age of twelve. To learn more, go to

Steven W. Brown, Holly MoneyCollins, and Jenny Tabarracci, instructors at City College of San Francisco, members of the San Francisco Community College District Federation of Teachers, Local 2121, and certified designers in the American Institute of Floral Designers, exhibited floral arrangements for the 27th annual “Bouquets to Art,” a prestigious event held at the city’s De Young Museum in March.

Robert Chacanaca, a long-time leader of the Santa Cruz Council of Classified Employees, Local 6084, and former leader of the CFT’s classified division, was honored with the Albert Shanker Pioneer Award by the AFT Paraprofessional and School-Related Personnel division. Citing his “commitment to social justice for all and his willingness to stand up and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves,” the AFT recognized Chacanaca’s service on the PSRP advisory board and in the broader labor movement as president of the Monterey Bay Labor Council. Have you or your colleagues made news lately? Email the pertinent facts to the editor at

California Teacher, April - May 2011  

The Spirit of Wisconsin. CFT takes a stand

California Teacher, April - May 2011  

The Spirit of Wisconsin. CFT takes a stand