Higher Minimum Wage Will Help Millions
On Thursday March 31, 2016 California lawmakers passed legislation that will raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour in the coming years. This is an important step and a common sense development that will improve the lives of millions of Californians currently struggling to make ends meet in an economy that too often seems rigged in favor of the haves at the sacrifice of working men and women. We applaud those who voted in favor of this bill.
“As an education union, we have a number of members who will be affected by an increase in the minimum wage, namely many in our classified ranks and others such as those who work in early childhood education. Many of the parents of our students will also benefit greatly from this change. People living on the margins will find a bit of economic breathing room, enabling them to better provide for their families.
“An increase in the minimum wage will help pull millions out of poverty. We commend the legislature for passing this legislation and getting it to the Governor for signing it.”
The California Federation of Teachers represents more than 100,000 education employees in public and private schools, from Head Start through the University of California. It is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO.
Supreme Court rules in favor of working people
Tuesday was a good day for working men and women around the country. The United States Supreme Court ruled 4-4 in the Friedrichs v. CTA lawsuit, which challenged the long-held standard of fee-payers paying their fair share for the benefits that union representation provides. A 4-4 vote means that the ruling reverts to the lower court decision, reaffirming what had been decided in an earlier court case more than 35 years ago. But as CFT President cautioned in a statement, the work does not end here. “The deep-pocketed backers of the Friedrichs lawsuit and others will not simply give up. . . We have been given the gift of time, and we will use this time effectively on behalf of our members and our students and be ready for the next fight to come.”
Board of Governors votes to reform, then remove ACCJC
Last week in Sacramento, on March 21, the California Community College Board of Governors voted to restructure the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges while exploring a switch to a different accreditor that better meets California’s needs. According to the State Community College Chancellor’s office, the changes sought to the agency while seeking a new accreditor include “… enhanced financial transparency, reformed governance and leadership, better communication with colleges and better training.” The Board of Governors’ move followed a near unanimous vote to make these changes the week before at a meeting of community college presidents from across the state. The presidents’ action, in turn, came in response to the work of the Chancellor’s Task Force on Accreditation, which over the past year has solidified opposition across all stakeholders to the rogue agency’s continued existence. Said CFT president Joshua Pechthalt, noting the union’s long campaign for a more fair and appropriate accreditation system: “Today California moved another step closer to reforming the broken accreditation system for California’s community colleges.”Pictured: CFT Secretary-Treasurer Jeff Freitas, Senior Vice President Lacy Barnes, Los Angeles Community College faculty guild President Joanne Waddell, former City College of San Francisco faculty union President Alisa Messer and current CCSF faculty union President Tim Killikelly after the BOG vote.
Campaign to extend Prop 30 underway
Signature gatherers have hit the streets to place a measure on November’s ballot that would extend Proposition 30, and the new ballot measure circulating will only ask to extend the top bracket income taxes for the very wealthy. The revenue will help ensure that California continues to move forward toward funding education for all students from pre-school through university.
Prop 30, a temporary tax passed by California’s voters in 2012 by a 55 - 45 margin, saved the state’s public sector by pumping $7 – 8 billion per year into state coffers. “Signature gatherers are on the street, and this is one petition the public needs to sign,” said CFT President Joshua Pechthalt in this op-ed in the Orange County Register.“We cannot let the gains and potential of Prop 30 slip away.” To learn more, visit the CFT website.--