OVFT began under the presidency of Bettye (Jeffris) Berg with seven members in the 1971-72 year as a chapter the Oxnard Federation of Teachers. This caused the creation of a Certificated Employees Council for "meet and confer" purposes under the Winton Act. OVFT had one rep on the first CEC.
In the 1973-74 year, we were chartered with ten members. Our first CFT convention, in Fresno, was an exciting introduction to the politics of the CFT and AFT. We watched as Dave Selden and Al Shanker positioned themselves in their run for AFT President. We felt enormous exhilaration as we cast OVFT's one vote to join the smaller locals in outvoting San Francisco and UTLA on a roll call vote.
During the CEC years, OVFT member Susan (Capraro) Westbrook was elected chief negotiator. At our peak, just before the first CB election, we had three of the nine CEC members. In these years, we studied the budget through the help of the CFT workshops. We published flyers and newsletters with information gleaned from the budget. We used only recycled computer paper-to prove we didn't waste members' dues money.
OVFT was the first organization to take the position that the needs of limited- English speaking students were not being met in our District.
In February 1977, we lost the first collective bargaining election. Somehow, in the atmosphere of the day, Raoul Teilhet's consolation message made us believe we had won a major victory.
In April 1978, OVFT Marilyn Peterson was appointed as a Vice of president of the CFT. She has continued to serve to the present. We continue publishing the Ocean Viewpoint, the only newsletter in the district which regularly raises local issues. Sue Westbrook and Marilyn Peterson are active in the CFT's Non-Bargaining Agent Committee.
We have waged three hotly contested and bitterly fought decertification elections since 1977. We have never come as close as we did that first year. However, a few of us continue with unyielding commitment to the ideals of the AFT and refuse to give up our local.
(Marilyn Peterson, contributor)