SVFT is a democratic organization. We rely on and encourage the participation of members in all leadership positions. All members should consider their teaching career incomplete until they have served in some leadership position in their local. Any dissatisfaction with your local is all the more reason to volunteer or run for office. The rules and procedures for SVFT’s democratic process are delineated in our By-Laws and Constitution.

The By-Laws have just two articles: Article One discusses Finances (dues and the defense fund)’ Article Two discusses elections of Union officers. The Constitution contains 13 articles, covering Name; Objectives; Membership; Elections and Duties of Officers, Building Reps and the Labor Council Delegate; the Executive Committee and Executive Board; Affiliations; Meetings and Rules of Order; and Amendments.

Download the By-Laws as a PDF file. In the By-Laws below, the change to Article 2.13, adopted in 2011, is shown in bold red.

AFT Local #1020, an AFL/CIO affiliate


  • 1.1 DUES
    • 1.1.1 Each member will pay a dues as set annually by the Executive Board in the local budget on a ten (10) month basis, except that a retired or substitute teacher or classroom aide or other employee who receives less then the minimum classroom teacher’s salary will pay dues of one-fifth (1/5) the regular dues. Part-time teachers will pay one-fourth (1/4) or one-half (1/2) or full dues depending on the proportion of the time that they work. Their work time will be rounded to the nearest of those three (3) proportions. In ’95–’96, Adult School members will pay one percent (1%) of their earnings. This one percent (1%) will be increased by one-tenth percent (.1%) until a full time employee Adult School teacher pays the same dues as all other full time employee members.
    • 1.1.2 During organizational drives, the Executive Board will have the authority to set reduced membership rates for new members only for a period not to exceed three (3) months.
    • 1.1.3 Dues will be increased automatically to correspond with any dues increase voted b7 wither the CFT or the AFT or to correspond with any increase in the cost of the insurances provided to each member
      as a benefit or membership.
    • 1.2.1 A separate defense fund will be maintained by the Local.
    • 1.2.2 Disbursements from this fund will be made by a majority of the members present at any General Membership meeting.


  • 2.1 Encourage more than one (1) candidate to run for each office.
  • 2.2 A neutral person selected by the Nominations and Election Committee will be the election clerk at each site. No nominated person will be involved in the election at any site if the position he/she is running for is contested.
  • 2.3 The Election Clerk at each site will establish the polling place that shall be easily accessible to all and well advertised. Ballots will be distributed only at the polling place. Two (2) people will be present to conduct the election to insure proper distribution of ballots and proper checking of voters.
  • 2.4 Uniform polling times will be established at each of the major sites. Polls will be open five (5) minutes after the start of lunch to five (5) minutes before the end of lunch and ten (10) minutes before and after school. The voting time and place will be conspicuously posted and announced in staff bulletins at least three (3) times.
  • 2.5 Voters will have their names checked of upon receiving a ballot. After marking their ballots, the voters will place the ballots in a locked container.
  • 2.6 At the end of their school days, the various Election Clerks will transport the locked containers to the Local office for counting by the Nominations and Elections Committee.
  • 2.7 Nominated persons will be notified at home of the election results by 8:00 p.m. on the evening of the election. No nominated person will be present in the Local office during the counting of the ballots.
  • 2.8 Ballots and tally sheets will be sealed and retained for one (1) year in the Local office.
  • 2.9 Absentee ballots can be picked up at any time prior to the day of the election and may be returned to the Local office or to the person from whom they were picked up no later than noon on the day of the election. Any absentee ballot must be in an envelope with the person’s name on the outside. Absentee ballots will be the first ballots counted.
  • 2.10 Any absentee ballots arriving at the Local office after the date of the election or received by an election clerk after the polls are closed will be marked “invalid” and saved in a separate sealed envelope for a period of one (1) year in the Local office.
  • 2.11 Voters voting away from the site where they would normally vote will have their ballots put in an envelope marked with their name. Once their name is checked against the regular site list to determine that they did not vote there, the ballots will be removed from the envelope and mixed with the others.
  • 2.12 Ballots will not be counted by schools. They will be mixed together before counting.
  • 2.13 All elections and contract ratifications shall be conducted according to the election procedures outlined in 2.2–2.5 or by mail. The use of mail-in ballots shall be limited to the Substitute Unit unless eighty percent (8O%) of the Executive Board members deem it necessary to hold a mail-in only election. No mail-in elections will be allowed within twenty (20) days of a school year workday. Only members of SVFT may vote. In ratification votes, members will only vote for their own chapter contracts.




  • 3.1.a.1 SVFT defers to both the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) and the California Labor Federation (CLF) for action.
  • 3.1.a.2 SVFT may only make recommendations on federal & statewide candidates and measures to CFT and/or CLF.
  • 3.1.a.3 SVFT may make motions to provisionally endorse federal, statewide candidates and measures should CFT’s and CLF’s actions on endorsements align with SVFT’s recommendation endorsements.
  • 3.1.a.4 The California Labor Federation or the AFL-CIO takes action on endorsing, not endorsing or staying neutral on federal or state legislative races and statewide measures.

3.1.b:  CAMPAIGN-Once a statewide measure or federal or statewide candidate is endorsed by the CFT and/or the CLF, a campaign, in accordance with SVFT Executive Board and SVFT’s COPE committee by-laws, may follow that may include any or all of the following:

  1. – direct mail to voters in support of the candidate or ballot measure
  2. – door-to-door voter education
  3. – voter education via phone
  4. – financial contributions


  •  3.2.a QUESTIONNAIRE- A questionnaire is sent to all candidates for a local office.  For local measures, skip to the next step (step 2).
  • 3.2.b COPE ENDORSEMENT INTERVIEW-SVFT’s Committee on Political Education (COPE) conducts an interview of local candidates or representatives of local ballot measures (for and against).
  • 3.2.c COPE COMMITTEE ENDORSEMENT-Those present at the endorsement interview, make recommendation(s) to SVFT’s executive board.  COPE Committee may endorse, oppose, or remain neutral for candidate(s) or measure(s) that are interviewed.  It is possible to endorse, oppose, or remain neutral more than one candidate for the same office that is being sought.
  • 3.2.d SVFT EXECUTIVE BOARD PROVISIONAL ENDORSEMENT- SVFT Executive Board reviews the recommendation(s) from the COPE Committee interview(s) and takes action on the endorsement(s).  SVFT Executive Board makes recommended endorsements to the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council (MBCLC).  The Executive Board may endorse, oppose or remain neutral for candidate(s) or measure(s) that are interviewed.  It is possible to endorse, oppose, or remain neutral more than one candidate for the same office that is being sought provided that two-thirds of those Executive Board members present support motions.  Furthermore, the Executive Board may also make a motion or add to a motion that should its recommended endorsements align with MBCLC’s actions, endorsements may become automatic by the Federation’s Executive Board.
  • 3.2.e SVFT EXECUTIVE BOARD FINAL ENDORSEMENT- Once an endorsement is made by either the actions of the MBCLC or a subsequent endorsement made by the Federation’s Executive Board, the Federation is able to support candidate or ballot initiative campaigns or campaigns against candidates or ballot initiatives.  Should the actions of MBCLC not align with the SVFT’s Executive Board, the Federation’s Executive Board may make endorsements for, against, or remain neutral for candidates or ballot initiatives.
  • 3.2.f CAMPAIGN SUPPORT- Once an endorsement is made for or against a candidate or ballot initiative, a campaign, in accordance with SVFT Executive Board’s and SVFT’s COPE committee by-laws, may follow that may include any or all of the following:
  1. – direct mail to voters in support of the candidate or ballot measure
  2. – door-to-door voter education
  3. – voter education via phone
  4. – financial contributions



  • 3.3.a Should SVFT recruit candidate(s) for the Salinas Union High School District, Alisal Union School District, or the Salinas City Elementary School District Boards of Trustees, such candidates are exempt from SVFT’s endorsement process.
  • 3.3.b Should a member of SVFT declare a candidacy for public office, such members may be exempt from the endorsement process at the discretion of the Federation’s Executive Board.