CFT Convention News

Inside CFT
•   A message from CFT president-elect Joshua Pechthalt
•   Report on 69th annual CFT convention, March 18-20, 2011
•   Final “State of the Union” speech by outgoing CFT president Marty Hittelman

A message from CFT president-elect Joshua Pechthalt

CFT Leaders and Members,

We are facing the most serious challenge to our survival in decades. The attempt by Wisconsin and 17 other states to strip collective bargaining for teachers and other public sector workers shows that the Republican Party and its corporate allies feel emboldened to bludgeon us back to the Robber Baron era of the 19th Century. What Wisconsin Governor Walker, the Koch brothers and Fox News did not count on, however, was the massive and inspirational response by teachers, firefighters, students and community members in Wisconsin and around the country in opposition to their reactionary attack. While we in California don’t face the immediate elimination of collective bargaining for public sector unions, the budget deficit threatens to decimate education, health care and vital government services. That’s why the CFT, through our Fight for California’s Future campaign, has developed a long-term effort to restore the state’s commitment to a quality education for all children. A crucial part of that campaign is coalition building.

The overwhelming sentiment at the CFT Convention this past weekend was clear. Our members are ready to fight back!

On Saturday March 26 we have an opportunity to stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Wisconsin as well as demand a budget that protects education and other services. We will also call for the corporations and the rich to pay their fair share of the taxes that support our public sector.  We are asking every CFT local in the Southland to participate in this multi-union march and rally. It begins at 10 am at the LA Convention Center, and then moves to Pershing Square (click here for flier). A huge turnout by the education community will send a powerful message that teachers, classified workers, students and parents are united in demanding full funding for our schools and an end to the divisive anti-teacher, anti-public employee rhetoric being spewed by the right wing. It will also spread the growing awareness that our society faces a crisis that can only be solved by returning to the fair tax policies that were once in place, in California and the nation.

Here is what you can do to help:
Hold a worksite meeting to discuss the importance of this event;
Invite parents, students (where appropriate) and community members to join you on March 26;
Wear your union colors and make banners identifying your local and city.

I look forward to seeing you on the 26th.

In Solidarity,

Josh Pechthalt,
CFT President-Elect

Report on 69th annual CFT convention, March 18-20, 2011

March 18-20, Manhattan Beach—From the instant outgoing president Marty Hittelman gaveled the sixty ninth annual California Federation of Teachers convention into existence on Friday morning, March 18 in Manhattan Beach, the six hundred elected delegates from across the state knew they were in for an extraordinary event.  With the election of new union officers, presentations by distinguished guests, floor debate and policy decisions on the burning issues of the day, awards and honors for members and friends, and emotional retirement celebrations for the CFT’s president and executive director, there was more than enough going on to keep everyone engaged non-stop for three days.  Read more here. 

Final “State of the Union” speech by outgoing CFT president Marty Hittelman 

When I ran for CFT president 4 years ago, I claimed that I had the combination of experience, skills, and dedication necessary to lead CFT to become a more dynamic and effective agent of positive change. Whether or not I had the skills and dedication necessary for the job is for others to decide. But in the last four years we have become a more dynamic and effective organization. We did organize a successful march across California’s central valley and we did lead the effort to pass proposition 25—the majority vote initiative. But sustained positive change has proven to be very difficult given the previous governor and the state budget deficits.  Read more here.
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