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Inside CFT: ArtCenter Faculty Federation approves first collective bargaining agreement

ArtCenter College of Design faculty approve first collective bargaining agreement

After eighteen months at the bargaining table, the members of the ArtCenter Faculty Federation have overwhelmingly voted to accept their first collective bargaining agreement with the ArtCenter College of Design, whose board is set to vote on the agreement later this month.

The package includes many significant victories that will benefit the ArtCenter faculty, including guaranteed annual raises and step increases, an improved and transparent process for promotions, a grievance procedure, and a clear and transparent process for evaluations.

“We are extremely pleased with the results of the vote,” said bargaining team member, organizer, and Fine Art Associate Professor Allison Miller, “We’ve spent three years organizing ArtCenter faculty with the support of alumni, students and our community and political supporters, including Dolores Huerta and Congress Member Adam Schiff. Our win shows the power we have when we work together. We didn’t achieve all of our goals this time around, but our organizing will continue until we transform ArtCenter into a school we can all be proud of by centering the needs of students and treating faculty with the respect and dignity we all deserve.”

The ArtCenter Faculty Federation organizing victory and successful negotiations is part of a surge in higher education organizing that has swept the state and nation in the past few years. CFT has been right there in the mix with UC-AFT lecturers winning a historic contract fight with the University of California, and faculty at ArtCenter, Dominican University, and the California College of the Arts and librarian staff at the Claremont Colleges joining CFT in new organizing campaigns. CFT President Jeff Freitas says CFT will continue to organize new faculty and higher education workers in California who are looking for a stronger voice on the job.

Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers sue county over pesticide use near schools

Last week the Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers joined environmental and community allies in filing a lawsuit against Monterey County and state pesticide regulators, alleging they disregarded the health of their students by allowing several farms to use restricted pesticides in close proximity to schools whose students are mostly Latino.

“Teachers have been concerned about nearby application of pesticides and fumigants for decades,” said PVFT president Nelly Vaquera-Boggs to the LA Times. “We live in an area that provides strawberries and a lot of the food that we consume, but we also still believe this can happen and our communities can be safe.”

Teachers and community allies are concerned that county agriculture officials are too quick to rubber-stamp pesticide permits without properly considering alternatives and without meeting with residents.

According to the California Environmental Health Tracking Program, children in Monterey County are among the most likely in California to attend schools near fields treated with toxic pesticides.

Students urged to begin FAFSA applications ASAP

This year, because of updates and improvements, there have been technical glitches and delays in the rollout of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

This had led to a steep drop in FAFSA completions, which could do real and irrevocable harm to colleges, families, communities and, most importantly, students. If you work in a high school or know a high school senior or their family member, please encourage them to complete their FAFSA now.

Also, this Tuesday the California Student Aid Commission announced it would offer an alternative financial aid application option for students who are U.S. citizens but have at least one parent without a Social Security number. These students can use the California Dream Act Application to apply for financial aid to attend a UC, Cal State, or California community college.

According to Ed Source, although the Department of Education said these issues had been fixed for students from families that include immigrants, some have continued to face problems. Students have until May 2 to complete a Dream Act application.

Join us in Sacramento on May 21 for the Classified Day of Action

On May 21 classified professionals and their supporters from across the state will gather at the State Capitol in Sacramento to take part in a spirited rally and to celebrate the critical contributions made by classified school workers every day in our schools

Register now for the event and follow up with your local union to discuss transportation plans. A t-shirt and box lunch will be provided to those who register their attendance for the event. Please also use this flyer and work with your local union to urge your colleagues to participate as well.

Tax day is around the corner: IRS launches pilot program for free federal filing

The deadline for filing taxes is Monday. The IRS has launched a new pilot program called Direct File that is available to California residents. It allows taxpayers with generally straightforward tax returns to file their federal taxes electronically for free with the IRS. Click here to see if you qualify for free filing with Direct File.

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