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December 1, 2011

In this issue: Political Organizer Position Available, STRS Workshop for Veteran Teachers, November 2 Day Of Action Photos, College Scholarships Available, and more...

BFT Looking For A Political Organizer

Are you excited about the growing political movements taking place throughout the country? Would you like to mobilize BFT’s membership to affect important ballot initiatives in the 2012 election? Then BFT has a part-time position for you as a political organizer. Compensation is either 20% release time or a stipend of $3100. For a further description and how to apply, please see the flier distributed by site reps. Applying is easy and the deadline to apply is Wednesday, December 14, 2011.

Veteran Teachers: Mark Your Calendar for STRS Workshop on January 12th

This workshop is designed for educators approaching retirement. This is not a sales pitch or a gimmick. STRS counselors will explain the basics of STRS retirement, the three decisions to make when retiring and what you should be doing to prepare for retirement. The meeting will take place January 12, 2012 at 4:00 p.m. in the multipurpose room at the Berkeley Adult School, 1701 San Pablo Ave. (at Virginia).

College Scholarships Available - Deadline to Apply Is January 10th

The AFT and CFT offer several college scholarship opportunities for children of union members (both high school seniors and continuing college students). The CFT Raoul Teilhet scholarship applications for high school seniors are due January 10, 2012. Scholarship applications for continuing college students are due by July 1, 2012. Applications can be found at www.cft.org, or call the BFT office (549-2307) and we will send you a copy

Check Your November Paycheck Carefully

Did you know that every year 3-4 BFT members recoup thousands of dollars in back pay because they take the time to check their paycheck stub? It's true! BFT recommends that you check to make sure your new position on the salary schedule is reflected in your paycheck. In addition, if you receive a stipend you should now see that stipend listed clearly on your November paycheck stub. Salary schedules, and a list of stipends paid monthly, are available on the BFT website, berkeleyfederationofteachers.org.

December Paycheck Distribution Information

December certificated paychecks will be directly deposited on January 3, 2010. Teachers who pick up their checks can get them at school sites on Tuesday, January 3rd. Checks that are sent through postal mail will be mailed no later than January 2nd. Due to occasional difficulties with checks in postal mail, BFT strongly recommends that teachers sign up for direct deposit.

Working Families Triumph In Ohio

On November 8th, Ohioans overwhelmingly voted to repeal Senate Bill 5—Gov. John Kasich’s attack on middle-class jobs that was designed to destroy collective bargaining rights in Ohio. This victory is important to ALL of us. To see an inspiring example of what solidarity can accomplish click on the You Tube video at www.aflcio.org.

Large BFT Presence at November 2nd Occupy Oakland Day of Action

Everywhere you turned, you saw BFT t-shirts on November 2nd’s Day of Action to support economic equality. Teachers wore BFT t-shirts to school, marched to the Port of Oakland and were present at the rally at Frank Ogawa Plaza. Some teachers took personal days to participate in the general strike, but many stayed in the classroom and taught lessons about economic equality and labor history. BFT members joined other labor unions representing firefighters, Teamsters, United Food and Commercial Workers members, Unite Here, SEIU members and more. To see photos of the rally, visit the BFT website at ww.berkeleyfederationofteachers.org.

Information About Bank Transfer Month

Been thinking about moving your money to a local credit union or bank? Now is the time to do it. To find one near you, go to www.moveyourmoneyproject.org. The Move Your Money project is a nonprofit campaign that encourages individuals and institutions to divest from the nation's largest Wall Street banks and move their money to local financial institutions.

Teachers Of Color Network Facilitators Hired

Congratulations to Alex Langford and Roger Smith-Truss, who have been selected as co-facilitators of the BFT Teachers of Color Network. Alex teaches 2nd grade at Rosa Parks Elementary School and has taught for 21 years. Roger teaches Science at B-tech and comes from a long line of organizers. Thank you both for your service!

Contract Negotiations To Begin In Spring

BFT’s Negotiations Team has been meeting regularly to prepare for spring contract negotiations with BUSD. After Winter Recess, please watch for a general membership survey in which the team will ask for your input and priorities. The team is made up of Cathy Campbell, Tracey Iglehart, Dale Long, Cynthia Allman, Marcela Taylor, Denise Milnes-Torres and Ed Wang, CFT field representative.

Mid-Year Cuts Likely

The State Legislative Analyst’s Office projects that general fund revenues and transfers in 2011-12 will be $3.7 billion below the level assumed in the 2011 California Budget Act, triggering mid-year cuts. By December 15, the Director of Finance will decide if the triggers will go into affect. This could mean cuts to K-12 education, childcare, higher education, ADA, and transportation. These cuts are not likely to result in class size increases or furlough days in 2011-2012, but will impact negotiations for next year.

Are You Planning to Take Courses Next Semester? Course Approval Needed

In order to receive credit for salary schedule advancement, teachers MUST submit requests for prior course approval to the BUSD Human Resources Department on the required form. This form is available under “Schedules” on the BFT website, berkeleyfederationofteachers.org.

Calendar of Coming Events

 December 8 BFT Executive Board Meeting @ Oregon Street
 December 19  Winter Recess Begins
 January 3 Classes Resume (Tuesday)
 January 10 CFT Raoul Teilhet scholarship applications due
 January 12 STRS Workshop for Veteran Teachers @ Adult School