Linda Tubach

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Linda Tubach

Linda Tubach is Director of the Collective Bargaining Education Project, Dolores Huerta Labor Institute. She is a retired LAUSD teacher.[1]


High school teacher, union activist, pioneering social studies curriculum designer, and proselytizer for teaching students about their workplace rights, Linda Tubach has blazed a path unique in American public education.

Following early years in rural Imperial County, Linda graduated from Westchester High School in the Los Angeles Unified School District in 1970, politicized by the Watts rebellion, the Civil Rights movement, and the Vietnam War. She attended Antioch College in Ohio, receiving a B.A. in Political Science in 1975.

She chose work in tough industrial settings on assembly lines making screws, cars, shoes, mini-blinds, and lastly, glass bottles, until laid off due to automation in 1982. “It was a conscious decision not so much to do that work as to be part of the labor movement,” she says. [2]

Education activism

She joined an independent socialist collective on the East Coast before returning to Los Angeles in 1983, where her alma mater, Westchester High, hired her to teach U.S. History, and she joined United Teachers Los Angeles.

Struggling at first in the classroom, she says, “Desperate to master the social studies craft, I became a long-distance apprentice to my college friend Bill Bigelow, who was already a Portland, Oregon, high school teacher and Rethinking Schools editor.” From Bigelow, Linda learned about role play pedagogy, which she deployed for years afterward.

Linda “walked the line in ’89” as a picket captain during UTLA’s nine-day strike. That year she was elected school site chapter chair, a position she held for five years.

Linda joined the CFT Labor in the Schools Committee and developed the Collective Bargaining Institute negotiations simulation for high school students as a project of the Committee. An AFT Local 1021 delegate to the County Federation of Labor, Linda built a large group of volunteer coaches for the Institute. A one-year grant from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service released Linda from her classroom (along with Patty Litwin) to bring the Institute (now called the Collective Bargaining Education Project) to a different school site each week. Linda and Patty demonstrated the role-play lessons in classrooms throughout LAUSD. The group of volunteer coaches from the labor movement grew to more than 100. Another grant funded Linda and Patty’s six-lesson role-play curriculum, Workplace Issues and Collective Bargaining in the Classroom.

With the Collective Bargaining Education Project, Linda gave students a hugely effective tool to understanding power relations in the workplace. Years later, union activists would return and tell her they traced their political evolution to encountering unions for the first time in her lessons. Support from UTLA and the labor movement forced LAUSD to preserve the Project through many budget crises, until 2009, when massive layoffs displaced Linda’s position. She retired to a downsized version of the program, still running through grants and donations from labor. Over the years, Linda demonstrated her labor education role-plays throughout California and in six other states. She was invited by UTLA’s sister union in Shanghai, China, to work with high school students there.

Linda served as chair or co-chair of the CFT Labor in the Schools Committee for 20 years, overseeing and coordinating its work creating K-12 labor curricula, training teachers, and pushing state social studies policy closer to “labor friendly.”

In 2007, Linda was appointed to a California Department of Education Commission to revise the K-12 History/Social Science framework narrative, and almost achieved higher profile for labor content (including a Labor Studies elective) until Gov. Schwarzenegger terminated the process. Last year, serving on the Speaker’s Commission on Labor Education, she helped draft successful legislation declaring May as Labor History Month in California’s schools.

Linda is married to retired SEIU union staffer Bob McCloskey, a long-time Project volunteer and collaborator.[3]

"Survival Day 84" staff members

The Federation For Progress' Survival Fest 84, "Survival Day 84" staff members included Linda Tubach.

Helping Judy Chu

In 1997 Schoolteachers Carol Ono, and Linda Tubach helped with organization and planning, while union worker Bob McCloskey, put up yard signs for Judy Chu's third successful City council campaign.[4]

Greensboro Justice Fund

In October 2005, in Monterey Park, CA: Linda Tubach and Bob McCloskey hosted an evening celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Greensboro Massacre with a report on the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Greensboro Justice Fund's granting successes delivered by organizer Marshall Wong.

Buck Wong & Phyllis Chiu, Los Angeles, CA were involved.[5]

Cafe Intifada

In 2006, Emma Rosenthal is the Executive Director of Cafe Intifada which includes on their advisory board Andy Griggs, Linda Tubach, Bob McCloskey, Sonali Kolhatkar, Hussam Ayloush.[6]

China trip

California Faculty Association President Lillian Taiz returned from Shanghai, China November 6, 2007, as part of a weeklong conference titled: "China, Australia, and the United States Teaching Unions on Education Work."

The American delegation included Taiz, Kent Wong of the UCLA Labor Center and Linda Tubach for United Teachers of Los Angeles.

The delegation was hosted by Xia Lingying, President of the Shanghai Teachers' Union which represents all teachers from kindergarten through post-graduate work. A delegation from the Shanghai Teachers Union visited Los Angeles six weeks ago and extended the invitation to the American contingent at that time. In addition to the US delegation representatives from the Queensland Teachers Union and the Queensland Independent Education Union of Australia also participated in the conference.[7]