California Educator

April/May 2024

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Page 51 of 61

J E F F G O O D , CTA's new executive director, brings years of experience teaching in the classroom, as a leader in his own local chapter, and organizing throughout our union. In a short interview, Good shared his motivations and vision for the years ahead. On his union perspective A union is like-minded people coming together, acting collec- tively to create change and to make their lives better. We have serious challenges in front of us, both as a union and as a society. School funding in California is tumultuous. We are living in an educator shortage. Our students and communities go without the resources they deserve. e only way to confront those chal- lenges is to take action together to change the playing field upon which those challenges are met. When educators come together to determine shared goals and then move in the same direction there is no victory — at the worksite or statewide, that is outside of our reach. On his union background I've been either a member of CTA or an employee of CTA for almost 30 years. In those 30 years, there are many examples of educators coming together in their union and winning. One strong example was the State Capitol mobilization in 2000, when thousands of CTA members from across the state went to the steps of the Capitol to demand an increase in funding that yielded 10% salary increases in many locals statewide. Another was the 2005 campaign against Arnold Schwarzeneg- ger's attempt to degrade every aspect of working conditions for workers in this state; we overwhelmingly defeated him. And one of my greatest sources of pride was to work along- side the members of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), to build structures for collective action, and secure victories in our contract campaigns, political campaigns and common good campaigns. Every campaign had a powerful impact on public schools, the labor movement and the lives of working people throughout Los Angeles. We had two strikes at UTLA that were very impactful. In 2023, educators walked out with classified workers in true solidar- ity. I' ll always remember my daughter asking me a clarifying question, "Dad, are you saying that teachers are giving up pay so that other people can get paid more?" And I said, yes, that's exactly what they were doing. at's the kind of solidarity built through collective action that can have a lasting impact on our communities and potentially the entire state. On his early life influences I grew up with parents who injected in me a sense of obligation to do my part to make the world a better place. And I loved politics — I was a political junkie. at's why I operate at a fast pace, feeling like I've got to max- imize my time on this earth to do things that make a difference in people's lives. I was always supportive politically of organized labor. But at my first teaching job in Washington, D.C. — back When We Fight Together, We Win Big Together CTA Executive Director Jeff Good brings history of building power with educators and school communities 50 CTA & You

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