California Educator

October 09

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“We need to think of the union as an advocacy organization for kids,” Iwasaki says. “In protecting teacher rights and public education, we do advocate for kids. Unions are also the only power we have to take a stand” against those who want to destroy pub- lic education. In the nearby Campbell Ways to get involved > Become a school site representative for your chapter. > Join a protest rally. > Attend regional Service Center Council meetings. > Run for the position of local delegate to the CTA State Council. > Join your chapter’s organizing or bargaining teams. > Write articles for a chapter newsletter. > Take advantage of union training conferences. > Help design your local union’s website. Union High School District, it wasn’t hard for Westmont High School teacher Alison LaBouff to see how she might fit in. “I like to get involved,” the fourth-year educator says. “There were two openings on the bargaining team for our Campbell High School Teachers Association. I just thought that would be very interesting. And I’m not afraid of confrontation.” After taking CTA bargaining training, LaBouff bargained two contract cycles, including one that took 18 months but won retroactive salary increases of 2.24 percent. No animosity with the district has surfaced since, and she hopes to keep it that way as negotiations begin for a new contract this fall. She began her union work in her first year of teaching and urges all younger colleagues to consid- er doing the same. “I wanted to learn about how the district was run. This is the way to do that.” At times, there are challenges when it comes to connecting with members and getting them to feel a part of the union. “It’s sometimes difficult to get people to under- stand that they are the union and that they don’t just belong to an organization,” says Myndi Hardgrave, vice president of the Hanford Secondary Educators Association and the Tulare/Kings Service Center Council chair. “Sometimes I’ll hear people say ‘the union did this’ or ‘the union did that’ — like they don’t realize they are the union,” says Lisa Ellis, a history instruc- tor and Victor Valley College Education Association member. “They don’t realize if they don’t like what is happening, they can make it different. In order for Congress passes the National Labor Relations Act establishing the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively — but it excludes teachers, public employees and agricultural workers. CTA is the only “mainstream” organization in California to protest against internment of Japanese-Americans at the beginning of World War II. CTA wins legal victory when state Supreme Court rules that a school board cannot fi re a female teacher simply because she got married. Congress passes the Walsh-Healy Public Contracts Act specifying minimum wages, eight-hour days, the 40-hour week, and elimination of child labor. CTA sponsors Proposition 3, which guarantees schools $120 per student in ADA from the state and a minimum teacher salary of $2,400. CTA membership surpasses 42,000. AFL merges with Congress of Industrial Organizations to form AFL-CIO. 1927 Page 12 1935 10 California Educator | october 2009 1936 1940 S 1946 1947 1955 CTA photo by Mike Myslinski

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