Fred Glass has been Communications Director for the California Federation of Teachers since 1988, and a member of the CCSF faculty since 1987. He believes that, through labor studies, union activists and the general student population can gain a stronger grasp of the meaning of civic involvement in a democratic society. He is the author of “70 Years: A History of the California Federation of Teachers” (1989). His ten-part documentary video series on the history of the California labor movement, “Golden Lands, Working Hands” (1999), aired on most PBS stations in California, and every public high school in the state has a copy. He has also written many articles on labor and media related topics for union and academic publications (Labor Studies Journal, Afterimage, Film Quarterly, Labor’s Heritage, etc.), as well as more topical pieces for daily newspapers (Sacramento Bee, SF Chronicle, etc.).
Fred oversaw the media work for the three year contract struggle of lecturers in the University of California system, which ended in 2003 with path-breaking gains for contingent faculty. He served two terms as President of the Western Labor Communications Association, was a vice president for three terms of the ILCA, has served as a member of the editorial board of Labor Studies Journal, and currently is co-chair of the Speaker’s Commission on Labor Education for the California Legislature. He is a member of AFT Local 2121, the San Francisco Community College Federation of Teachers.
Labor topics Fred can speak about
Labor History, Labor Communications, Progressive Tax Policy
How and why did you become involved in the Labor Movement?
I became active with the United Farm Workers when Fred Ross recruited me while a student at UCLA. At the same time I was working part time on campus, and joined AFSCME. The two experiences, combined with my family history, made me an activist.
What union leadership positions (E.g., Officer, Committee Member, etc.) have you held and/or currently hold?
Executive board member, AFT Local 1493; Chair, CFT Labor in the Schools Committee
What is the greatest challenge facing labor today? (You can cite your union as an example.)
Rebuilding worker economic, political, and cultural power after thirty years of retreat
How have you made a difference in the Labor Movement?
I have helped to strengthen labor education and communication and advocated for labor to take a leading role in progressive tax policy
What is your most powerful memory as a labor activist or leader? Shutting down the San Francisco airport on behalf of PATCO in 1981
What can students can do today to get involved in the Labor Movement?
Learn labor history, and become active in current labor struggles. Where there is a student labor club or intern program, join it. Where there isn’t one, organize one.
What labor leader, past or present, had the biggest influence on you? How/why?
Harry Bridges, because of his understanding that nothing lasting happens without mass action and without the democratic participation of the rank and file
How can students and faculty connect with you? (I.e. a link to your website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)