In “California Labor History,” a three unit City College of San Francisco course offered at 6:10 p.m. Tuesday evenings at Mission Campus, 1125 Valencia Street, in Room 454, beginning August 22, we find the fight for social justice stretches back before the Gold Rush and forward to today’s battles to preserve public education, unions and the entire public sector.
In this course, taught by longtime 2121 member and CFT Communications Director Fred Glass, you will learn about the San Francisco General Strike of 1934, the most important event in local history most people never heard of, when the city was shut down for four days to protest police killings of workers, and to gain union recognition for maritime workers. You may not know it, but the hidden legacy of the General Strike surrounds and protects us still.
You will find out, via Glass’s new book, From Mission to Microchip: A History of the California Labor Movement (UC Press), and his public television documentary Golden Lands, Working Hands, how public sector workers gained collective bargaining rights and defended them with strikes, civil disobedience, legal strategies and legislation. Where did seniority and tenure come from? Here are the people and the struggles that made these things happen.
You will watch Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta organize the United Farm Workers, against all odds, in the Central Valley, as well as discover the lesser known farm labor struggles that paved the way for their successes. You will hear how civil rights activists joined with unionists to abolish legal discrimination on the basis of skin color from California jobs. You will learn how thousands of people came together one day in November 2011 to shut the Oakland Port in support of the 99%. How faculty, students, and union and community supporters saved City College. And how organized labor, the bastion of anti-immigrant xenophobia in nineteenth century San Francisco, evolved into today’s staunch defender of immigrant worker rights.
Says ESL instructor and 2121 officer Jessica Buchsbaum, “Taking the class was a great introduction to labor history in California. It’s given me a better understanding and appreciation of AFT 2121’s achievements over the last 30+ years. I had the opportunity to interview and videotape Lauri Fried-Lee for our final project in the class. It was a privilege and an education to hear Lauri describe the early days of our Union, and the strides that it has made to improve our pay, benefits, and working conditions. I showed the video at Lauri’s retirement party. It was really meaningful for me to feel connected to the labor leaders and faculty members who’ve paved the way for us, and to honor Lauri with a tribute that was created in the California Labor History class.”
The hidden history of workers in California contains many tactics and strategies that can help guide struggles for social justice today. Classroom discussion is lively. Guest speakers leaven the conversation with their stories and wisdom.
The course is good for CEUs and transferable to CSU and UC. More information or to register: go to www.ccsf.edu. For registration assistance email Bill Shields at the Labor and Community Studies Department, firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact instructor Fred Glass for questions about course content, email@example.com.