SACRAMENTO, CA, April 2, 2021 – Over 600 delegates and guests gathered online this past weekend at CFT’s first ever virtual convention to set the course for the union for the next two years. With the theme of Rise Up, Recover, and Rebuild, at the convention educators and classified professionals renewed their commitment to quality education, economic justice, and racial justice in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Condemning anti-Asian violence and solidifying workers’ right to organize in federal law were two top priorities CFT members adopted at the convention. CFT educators and classified professionals outlined a sweeping platform of priorities, adopting 15 resolutions on a wide range of issues that affect members, their students, and communities inside and outside the classroom. A full list of resolutions and their text can be found here.
The biennial convention came just after the devastating shootings in Georgia, which highlighted a wave of anti-Asian violence nationwide. In a resolution, CFT members condemned recent attacks and hateful rhetoric from the Trump administration that have fueled such violence. The resolution includes a pledge to advocate for anti-racist curriculum and the expansion of Ethnic Studies, including Asian American, African American, Latina/o, and Native American Studies. The union pledged to promote racial justice and racial healing, and to challenge racially motivated hatred and violence.
“As educators and classified professionals, CFT members recognize our obligation not only to condemn racist violence that leaves lasting emotional scars on our students and their communities, but also to actively fight hate through anti-racist curricula and working with AAPI advocates to ensure every student and family is welcome inside and outside the classroom. As we’ve continued to see daily attacks on the Asian community, this resolution further cements our union’s commitment to racial justice and our solidarity with the AAPI community,” said CFT President, Jeff Freitas.
CFT also passed a resolution in support of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act), which would provide critical labor law reforms that would allow unions to organize in the private sector once again with a reasonable assurance of success. Following four years of attacks on workers’ right to organize, the PRO Act is an important first step in building up the middle class and supporting workers across the country.
Additionally, CFT members joined together in endorsing the New Deal for Higher Education campaign which seeks to recenter our public colleges and universities as a common good. This proposal affirms that everyone who works on a college or university campus is entitled to dignity and respect, a voice on the job, and fair wages and benefits that allow them to focus on the mission of education.
A resolution was also adopted committing CFT to advocating for a mandate that part-time California community college faculty be provided access to health benefits through their employer. The success of California’s community college students relies on healthy faculty and these faculty members deserve to have access to quality health insurance.
Finally, CFT committed to advocating for mental health and social emotional learning to be an integral topic of study across all TK-6 grades and within the health education requirements for grades 7-12. As we come out of a global pandemic, expanding curricula to include these important subject areas will better prepare and support students.
These resolutions along with ten others passed at the Convention highlight CFT’s commitment to being active members in their communities by supporting school workers and students inside and outside the classroom.
CFT: A Union of Educators and Classified Professionals represents 120,000 teachers, faculty, and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education. It is the statewide affiliate of the AFT. More information at www.cft.org.