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Antonucci: California Federation of Teachers elects new leaders

Mike Antonucci | March 26, 2019

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Mike Antonucci’s Union Report appears weekly at LA School Report.

The California Federation of Teachers has a new president for the first time since 2011. Delegates elected Jeff Freitas to the position at the union’s biennial convention in Los Angeles this past weekend.

CFT is the smaller of California’s two statewide teacher unions, with approximately 85,000 members. Freitas succeeds Joshua Pechthalt, who stepped down after eight years at the helm.

Pechthalt endorsed Freitas, who has held multiple positions within CFT, most recently as the union’s secretary-treasurer. Replacing Freitas in that position will be his running mate, Luukia Smith, who is currently the president of CFT’s council of classified employees.

Freitas taught high school math and was a local union president in the Carpinteria Unified School District from 1994 to 2002.

Freitas’ platform describes his plans for his tenure as CFT president.

“Our top priority must be investing in California’s public education — drawing on the strength of our world-class economy to rescue our state from its current embarrassing place among the lowest in per-pupil spending in all of the United States,” it reads. “We will continue to fight boldly for increased education funding — not only because California should lead the nation in per-pupil funding, but because it is the right thing to do for the children of this state and the society they will shape.”

Editor’s note: At the convention, delegates also approved a resolution that changed the name of the union from “California Federation of Teachers” to “CFT: A Union of Educators and Classified Professionals.” In the future, we will refer to the organization as “CFT.”

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