Dear Peralta Community,Every second and fourth Tuesday, the Peralta Federation of Teachers will send out a few quick thoughts on issues, events, and ideas relevant to the union and the broader Peralta community. Welcome to our first e-communiqué!

*At a Sep. 14 meeting, the PFT and the district agreed to pursue a contract extension. In this tough economic environment, an extension would have big upside: our salaries and benefits—including adjuncts’ 50-50 plan and office-hour compensation—would be locked in through June 2011. To secure a deal, we’ll likely have to give up 2010-11 sabbaticals, a sacrifice that, while painful, would affect few people and wouldn’t require more general givebacks. By agreeing to a freeze on sabbaticals in advance, we’d spare faculty the frustration of applying for positions only to see them disappear once the paperwork’s in.

*After many years of outstanding leadership from CoA’s Helene Maxwell, the PFT’s political action committee has a new executive team. Matthew Goldstein, Laney College, has assumed chair duties, while Patricia Dudley, CoA, and Janell Hampton, Laney, will take over treasurer and secretary responsibilities, respectively. Goldstein, Dudley, and Hampton look forward to increasing membership and to continuing the PAC’s proud tradition of supporting candidates and issues that advance the interests of Peralta faculty and students.

*More than 100 people attended the PFT’s Sep. 9 PFT general membership meeting. The district had a chance to present its view of the budget situation, and spent a good portion of its time stressing “productivity.” (An article setting out PFT concerns about the district’s insistence on using a standard borrowed from industry will appear in the next Peralta Teacher.) Also addressing the membership Sep. 9: CFT President Marty Hittelman, who spoke about the 250,000 Californians who will lose access to college on account of budget cuts, and Scott Lucas, a staffer from Assemblyman Sandré Swanson’s office, who offered tips on effective participation in the legislative process.

*The PFT continues to work with the district on fee-based and contract education. To reiterate: we regard all terms-of-employment issues related to fee-based education as negotiable, and we intend to keep all teachers on our established salary schedules.

*Congratulations to Jessica Jones, daughter of Laney Culinary Arts instructor David Jones, a 2009 winner of the AFT’s 18th annual Union Plus Scholarship Award for AFT members and their families. Now a freshman music student at UCLA, Jessica cited the importance of labor in her own family and education in her scholarship application letter. Nice job, Jessica!

In unity,
Debby Weintraub, President
Peralta Federation of Teachers


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