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BFT Action - August 24th, 2020

BFT Action--August Welcome Back Edition 
Welcome Back to the 2020-2021 School Year!

Distance Learning MOU Passes with 97.5% Approval

The Distance Learning MOU passed with 97.5% approval. There were 546 Yes votes and 14 No votes. As agreed, the District and BFT will revisit relevant sections of the MOU as we learn more about what is working and not working for our members, students and families. 

To see the full MOU and related documents, click here

BFT Accomplishments 2019-2020

BFT had many victories last year in advocating for our members, our students and for quality public education.

  • Contract Campaign

BFT continued the fight for a strong contract when school began last fall. BFT Members mobilized to the School Board Meeting on September 18 and again in October, packing the house with over 500 people, rallying for the need for a significant raise and caseload caps for Special Education. 

  • Contract Victories

BFT successfully signed a contract through June 2021 that includes a 5% raise from the BUSD general fund, as well as an additional 7% raise from the Measure E parcel tax for a total of a 12% raise over two years. BFT also gained significant supports for Special Education Case Managers including limits on the amount of assessments they complete and caps on their student caseload. In addition, Independent Study teachers were moved to the salary schedule.

  • Passage of Measures E, G, and H

BFT was instrumental in the passage of Measures E, G, and H. Measure E will provide an ongoing 7% raise for all BUSD employees. Measures G and H fund our maintenance and facilities budget which keep our schools safe, clean, and updated.  Over 250 BFT members participated in weekly phone banking, and precinct walking, every weekend from January- March. All three measures passed with over 80% approval. BFT members were part of the core volunteer effort to get these measures passed.

  • Statewide Engagement     

BFT joined the California Alliance for Community Schools (CACS) this year and has been an essential part of the statewide conversation among local unions. BFT leaders met with the CACS group of 11 other California educator unions regularly to discuss how our collective power creates the schools that our students and educators deserve. In addition, BFT sent 5 members to the CACS Summer School program which focused on organizing power within local unions. 

  • High Member Participation and Engagement

BFT held regular membership meetings this past year as well as summer Executive Board meetings. Contract Action Teams were formed at almost every site. Over 70% of our members took our Distance Learning Survey giving the Negotiations Team critical information and feedback. We continued our visually appealing monthly e-newsletter, negotiations updates, and vibrant website.  

  • High Union Membership       

BFT maintained a 98% membership rate and increased the number of members making voluntary monthly contributions to our PAC fund. Our union is as strong as ever.

  • Schools and Communities First (Prop 15)

The Schools and Communities First ballot measure will bring $6.1 million to BUSD if passed in November. The first essential step in getting Prop 15 on the ballot was signature gathering. BFT organized members in collecting over 1,200 signatures throughout the Spring. 

  • COVID-19 Response

As schools were closing in March, BFT was able to protect sick leave for members, pay for substitutes and built a crisis learning plan in a matter of weeks that took into account the diverse needs of our members and students. Over the summer, BFT passed two resolutions to protect the health and safety of our school community.


Make sure to check out BFT's  short video featuring student work throughout distance learning last spring. You can view the video here.

Is Your Paycheck Correct?
We are all 10 month employees that are paid over a 12 month period. July and August pay is for the PREVIOUS year. The 9.5% raise will not be reflected until the first paycheck for the 20-21 school year. 

STRS deductions and FSAs are not deducted over the summer and are paid in 10 installments on the paychecks that occur during the school year. There is no STRS or FSA deduction on the summer paychecks. This is why our July and August paychecks are always higher than the rest of the year.

This year, because the start of school is moving up one week, we will be getting our first 20-21 paycheck in August instead of September. This means that we will be receiving TWO paychecks in August. One for 19-20 and one for 20-21. One paycheck will be based on last year's pay but will be higher because of no STRS or FSA deductions. The second paycheck will have STRS and FSA deductions but will also include a 9.5% raise. Our new pay calendar starting in 20-21 will be from August to July instead of September to August.

Look out for an email from BFT soon about checking your paycheck!

Virtual Phone Banking will occur throughout the fall. 
Sign- up here to volunteer!

 Check with your site rep to see which day your site has adopted.If you can;t make that date, choose any other date. 

Need a BFT Shirt? 

Do you need  a BFT shirt (black shirt with sunflower graphic)  Shirts are free for new members and cost $10 for existing members. 

We also have RED Keep Teachers in Berkeley shirts, with art by Miriam Stahl. These shirts are being sold for $20 and run in unisex sizes S-XL. 


To order a shirt, use this online order form. You can send payment via PayPal or mail a check to:
Berkeley Federation of Teachers
1432 University city Avenue.
Berkeley, CA 94702 

Take Action on September 1 
CalSTRS: Back Off Fossil Fuels 

#YouthAreOurFuture #NotOneMoreYearInFossilFuels

As CalSTRS keeps investing in the fossil fuel industry it harms students who live in lower-income communities. By pressuring CalSTRS we can make a difference and get their attention about this serious issue at hand.

Teachers and students are invited to participate in September 1 actions listed in this toolkit
RSVP here to make a commitment to participate in an action on September 1.


Disaster Relief Fund for Educators  in Santa Cruz City Schools

Santa Cruz Council of Classified Employees and Greater Santa Cruz Federation of Teachers have been impacted by the CZU August Lightning Complex Fire. Funds are being collected to help members who have lost their homes or have damage to their homes and to help our members who are evacuated; some are needing to stay in hotels and have limited funds.

For ways to donate and help: click here.

Employee Self Service System

All Berkeley Unified Staff can look up their Pay, Leave Balances, W-2’s and address of record by logging into ESS. Paystubs are no longer mailed out, so this is the only way to check your pay.

Click here for more detailed instructions about creating an account and logging in if you haven't done so already!


Are you following BFT on Instagram
Follow @BFTunion to see updates and member photos.

Social Media will play an essential role in the upcoming election season. We'll be posting campaign updates & volunteer opportunities!

Be sure that you also follow BFT on Facebook where upcoming actions and news are regularly posted. 

Did You Move Classrooms This Summer?

Teachers who are required by a district administrator, including principals and vice-principals, to move classrooms are entitled to receive up to twelve hours of pay at the curriculum development rate. We recommend that you keep a copy of the time sheet you turn in to your administrator.

Direct Deposit

BFT strongly recommends that you sign- up for direct deposit. During the Covid crisis, it's important that we don't rely on paper checks. You can sign- up for direct deposit by clicking here. After completing the form, please email it to Nicole Caldwell, Payroll Supervisor at 

Calendar of Upcoming Events
9/3/20  Middle School Back To School Night
9/10/20 Elementary School Back To School Night
9/17/20 High School Back To School Night
9/21/20-10/16/20 Open Enrollment for Benefits 
Berkeley Federation of Teachers, CFT/AFT, AFL-CIO