California Educator

October 09

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Educators are getting involved with CTA & union work written by Mike Myslinski Nicole Bourbeau has taught for 11 years but got involved with her union for the first time this year after the San Jacinto Teachers Association in Riverside County won a grievance filed on her behalf over an involuntary transfer. Her advice to teachers thinking about union work? “Do it. Don’t wait to be involved in a grievance,” she says. “We need your support. We need to know how teachers are feeling.” Bourbeau holds a master’s degree in teach- ing technology and is her chapter’s communi- cat ions coordinator. She is revamping the chapter’s website and starting a newsletter us- ing tips she learned in August at CTA’s week- long Summer Inst i tute training for 1,000 teachers. Her sister and two brothers-in-law are teachers in Los Angeles Unified. The union movement swept her up once she saw hundreds of colleagues getting pink slips this past spring. “I feel for other people,” she says. “I had gone to union rallies. But this year, I said I want to be part of it.” Her husband Brett, a high school teacher, attended Summer Institute with her and took the Emerging Leaders track, which offered a crash course in labor history, strategies and priorities. He was formerly a vice principal in the Perris Unified High School District and is now on the teachers’ negotiating team for the Perris Secondary Education Association. Seeing so many local school cuts inspired him to get involved. “There are no supplies for students or teachers,” he says. “Last year we had to buy a lot of our own paper.” He is even planning on running for the school board in his wife’s San Jacinto district. In San Bernardino County, spouses Michael and Kim Smith are both school site reps and members of the organizing team for Adelanto District Teachers Association. They have been active with their union for about two years. During CTA’s Pink Friday statewide day of protest in March, the couple joined several other chapters in the high desert for a demon- stration in Bear Valley on the I-15 freeway, wearing pink, holding protest signs and enjoy- ing the friendly honking of passing motorists CTA from 1863 to the present CTA has fought for students’ rights to quality public education time and again over the course of our 146-year history. And many of the rights taken for granted today by school employees — fair dismissal, the retirement system and bargaining — happened as a result of battles waged by CTA members. CTA founded as California Educational Society by Superintendent of Public Instruction John Swett with fewer than 100 members, all male. CTA’s fi rst legislative achievement establishes free public schools for all children in California. CTA is the only major organization in California to denounce the practice of segregating African American and Asian American students in separate schools. CTA fi ghts for and wins public funding for schools that educate nonwhite students. More than 340,000 The organization’s name is changed to the State Teachers’ Association, though it is essentially a regional organization based in San Francisco. workers nationwide take part in May Day strikes and demonstrations calling for an eight-hour work day. American Federation of Labor (AFL) founded. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 8 California Educator | SEPTEMBER 2009 1866 1863 Page 10 OCTOBER 2009 1867 1875 1886

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